Acclaimed Producer and Writer Sameer Chand talks to about his first directorial venture.

Sameer Chand on his first directorial short film ‘TEST DRIVE’

Sameer Chand, the second generation person from his family in the film industry is all excited about his first directorial venture, a short film titled ‘TEST DRIVE’ backed by Large Short Films. Sameer Chand is the son of Chand, renowned Film Director of the 70’s and 80’s.

TEST DRIVE is the story of a struggling actor, the titular role being played by ace actor Ashutosh Rana. The story, screenplay and dialogues in the short film have been written by Sameer Chand and this happens to be his debut work as Director.

Sameer Chand who started as Assistand Director in the film industry has worked in the Production team of Sajid Nadiadwala. He has also produced shows on TV, and has also worked for Channel Star Plus. As Producer, he has done four commercial films.

His short film TEST DRIVE takes viewers through the tale of one day in a struggling actor’s life wherein he happens to go from his house to give an audition and how in this path of achieving goals, he loses everything that has motivated him in his life. Firstly he loses his wife who he sees as his inspiration, but for her, he is nothing short of a failure in life. Later, when he is out of the house, he meets his Guru who also gives him an indication that he has not achieved anything in life. When he goes to the audition, he is again ridiculed at. Finally, when he comes home and spends time all by himself, he realizes that the day gone by has shown him that he is nothing but a failure. And how he cracks it on that very night, and decides to do what he does forms the crux of the story.

Says first time Director Sameer Chand, “TEST DRIVE is a very cool title for this sensitive story of a struggling actor who after losing everything precious goes on to take a test drive of stardom. I wanted my title to aptly depict what he does at the end, and that is the crux of my story.”

The short film has an audition sequence wherein Sameer has come out with flying colors. “Unlike an audition where the person performs on a given script, I wanted to do something opposite to it. And with an actor of the calibre of Ashutosh Rana, I knew he would pull it off. The audition sequence is a scene where he gets into a casual conversation without realizing that it is his audition. You have to see the scene to guage how well Ashutosh has performed. He will actually surprise you with his emotions. In fact, I rewrote this scene three times to get it right.”

On his association with Rana, Sameer avers, “I had earlier worked with him in the 90’s for a TV pilot which I was producing. I was amazed with the intensity the man had. And that was the time when he had not made it to the big league of cinema. Post that he has done so very well for himself. To tell you, I was thinking only about him when I wrote this story. However, when I asked him for the first time, he refused to take it up as he was reluctant of doing a short film. But when I told him that I will never make this film if he did not agree, he decided to hear to my narration. And when we sat for it, he asked me quite a lot of questions for clarity. The best part for me was that I knew everything in and out about the story as I have written it. So I could convince him and he got on board.”

The short film has been shot in a very short span of three days in seven locations. Talking about this, the Director states, “People think it is a negative aspect to shoot so fast. However, it worked well for me as I had written the story. I was clear in my mind and with the budget in hand, I knew I had to complete it in 3 days. To begin with, I did a very full-fledged pre-production and my recce was very elaborate. I used to go to my locations frequently and used to narrate the process of shoot to my team. Also I used to do my readings with mt actors. So when I started to shoot for it, I had a clear picture of what I needed to do. To tell you, we even packed up half an hour before time on all the three days.”

Summarizing his overall experience of shooting for TEST DRIVE, Sameer quips, “The experience was very rich and I enjoyed it. I never knew I could write so well. I loved the whole process of writing. The icing on the cake for me was that I was a director who happened to be the writer too. I am looking forward to the response for TEST DRIVE.”

Wish you all the best, Sameer!!

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