Often bewildered, mostly drowsy, he is the wizard who is well-known for bewitching people with his profound artistic captures. Prayash Sharma Tamuly was not quite a known name until a few years back but his long haul and adherence finally made him a beloved character.
Prayash, who now works as a cinematographer and had directed a couple of short films, music videos, and promo films hails from Jorhat, Assam. He has worked for numerous national and international projects like The Great Grand Escape.
A brush through the backyard
From a self-taught photographer to one of the renowned cinematographers of Northeast India, his adventure and tales of success and failure are amusing. Oh! As I said, he’s always dazed, in his own world. But like a precise craftsman, he brings life in a frame every time he holds his lenses.
He had no goals in life. No interest or hobbies. But things turned sour for him when he flunked his class 12. It became bitter when he was dropped out from Junior Civil Engineering, Jorhat. And then from Picasso Animation College, Delhi and then from his film making and VFX course.
As someone says, “Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war,” probably worked wonder in his story. “It was only cinema and production that clasped my attention amid all these messes.”
Can a snapdeal coupon change one’s life decision?
Maybe. Maybe not. And yes, it did. When every single choice and steps that he took was turning against him, a snapdeal coupon changed his life decision. He got a filmmaking course for Rs. 250. And once attending the week-long workshop, he could finally clear the dense fog clogging his brain.
“I was so much in joy. Finally, I was definite about my wants- cinem, and camera,” he said. “This wonderland had so much to give me and I accepted everything wholeheartedly.”
Here’s what we discussed the other day:
Q. So why did you want to go to Delhi? Is it because of friends’ influence? You could have picked some other city.
A. My prior reason to go to Delhi was to convince my then girlfriend to come back to Guwahati. It didn’t work. But I had to do something, I can’t just stay in that city doing nothing. It was expensive. By that time my friend Bhargav was already there doing his animation course. I realized animation was the only thing that requires no studying.
Q. How did you narrow your choices then?
A. I decided to opt for the animation class. I liked it because it made me watch cinema- good, bad, ugly, everything. Besides, mobile photography interested me. My friends used to publish my photographs in Delhi Beats. I badly wanted to buy a DSLR. So, I worked as an event promoter for almost one and a half year and finally bought my dream.
Q. How bad Delhi made you struggle?
A. I was homeless for almost three years and jobless for a year. Asking financial help from parents was a shame for me. So, I used to stay at any friend’s place for a month, work for a few days then move to a different friend’s place and so forth. That’s what I did until a few years. Basically, I would shuffle between Delhi- Mumbai-Kolkatta-Assam. I eat just a piece of bread and an omelette and stay for the whole day (Oh, I am now a gastritis patient as well).
The projects I was associated with were indeed huge but there was so much struggle, all on a different scale.
Q. How is Assam different from Delhi in shaping you?
A. Delhi was a teenage decision. The city made me open up to possibilities, to the world, my work and life about which I was clueless earlier. It exposed me to cinema, photography, and people. It taught me how to survive without money.
Assam, however, had different plans for me. My skills grew exponentially here. People began knowing me as a cinematographer.
Q. How were your parents’ response in your journey?
A. Until four years back, my parents had no idea what I was doing. Gradually, when my articles and photos started appearing in newspapers, they asked me what I do. I told them I am a cinematographer. They had no idea. Now I say I am a cameraman.
Q. Would you like to tell a bit about your love life and relationships?
A. My last breakup shattered me completely. I was on a relationship with this girl with whom I was together for a year and two years in long distance. I would quite often go to Bombay, canceling all my meetings and scheduling work, only to meet her.
Two years after our breakup I realized how wrong I was. That relationship wasn’t meant for me. I wanted her and was with her only because she was beautiful. I even underwent counseling sessions to try to fix myself from this breakup. But now I believe that had there been no breakup, I wouldn’t have indulged myself in all these incredible works that I am being praised for now.
Q. What are your future goals?
A. I wish to create better things every time and that’s what keeps me moving. This journey is keeping me alive. I am not yet close to my goals. I still have a long way to go.