Sadak by Rohit Agarwal, PGP 2011
The pursuit of experiencing the creative process drove me to join hands with complete strangers but extremely talented artists, who helped transform my poetry into a soulful song and a thought-provoking music video. Interestingly, I had penned the song 10 years ago, while I was still a student at the campus. Last year, I decided to produce it.
‘Sadak’ will take you through the journeys of two women, their struggles – with the world as well as internal, their commitment – to friendship and to life’s purpose and their triumphs – in breaking shackles and embracing fate.
It’s difficult to really pin-point to something specific as an inspiration behind the writing. Typically, there is a trigger and then my mind starts weaving a disconnected set of life events, observations and thoughts into a single fabric. In the process, I prefer to abstract things at a level so that it takes a more universal appeal and people can relate to it with their own unique set of experiences.
For instance, if I remember correctly, the trigger for this poetry, originally titled “Faaslon ka Maksad” (the aim of distances) was simply a return train journey I was making from Goa with a close group of friends.
The Discovery Process
Until recently, I had no plans to make it into a musical piece. I have no technical knowledge of music or exposure to filmmaking. However, around a year back, I was visiting my sister in Melbourne and I had some free time, so I reached out to an Indian composer based out of there. He was kind enough to call me home and I got to show him a few poems I had written over the years. His feedback helped me pursue this a bit more seriously after I traveled back to India.
Milestone 1: The Director
I enlisted the support of a colleague and dear friend, Pradeep Patel, who was leading marketing in my previous organization, to reach out to his contacts in the creative line of work. It was through him that I connected to Anshul Agrawal, our Director. Anshul is the man behind the award-winning short film “The School Bag” and when I got through him, I knew I had touched gold.
Milestone 2: The Composer
Things started falling in place from this point. Anshul introduced me to Saurabh Lalwani, our Music Composer. Anshul had worked with Saurabh before and he swore by him. I heard some of Saurabh’s original compositions and I instantly knew I didn’t have to look elsewhere. We started working together and as our visions matured about what story we wanted to tell, we gave each other creative inputs. It was great because the starting point was always empathy and there was a perfect balance between giving suggestions and respecting spaces. In Anshul’s storytelling, the flute instrument became an integral part and hence Saurabh managed to onboard Pt. Ajay Prasanna, a renowned flautist and a three-time Grammy nominee to lend his spellbinding art to the song.
Milestone 3: The Singer
The immediate next step was to find a voice. This time Saurabh came to our rescue. He knew Geet Sagar, our Singer, personally and suggested that we could check with him. Geet is the winner of the first season of X-Factor India and he has been singing for some popular films. He was gracious enough to lend his voice to the song. The recording was done by Anuj Jain at his studio in Noida.
Milestone 4: The Actors
Once the song was ready, Anshul roped in Tasneem Khan and Iram Naaz, both beautiful actors, to become the central characters of our story. We shot the song in the culture-rich and quaint town of Pushkar with Anshul’s maverick team which includes his wife and our Line Producer – Ankita Jain, Creative Director and Editor – Neeraj Gwal, Assistant Directors – Nimesh Goyal and Akshay Kumar, Assistant Cinematographer – Nikhil Singhal, Production Assistant – Jaideep Kadyan, Costume Stylist – Kalyani Tamrakar and Makeup Artist – Shameem Alam.
Milestone 5: The Label
Once the music video was ready, we shared it with a close circle of friends and well-wishers, and we got some rave reviews. We started looking for a good platform to launch it and it wasn’t as easy as we had anticipated. However, this time Geet stepped in and introduced us to the Songfest team – CEO and popular music director – Gaurav Dagaonkar, CMO – Meghna Mittal, Executive Producer – Mrinalini Tiwari, and Social Media Executive – Anandi Dhawan. Gaurav and Meghna took our creation into their fold and nurtured it with their expert understanding of the industry. The final mixing and mastering were done by Minar Naik from the Songfest team in their studio.
Now that the music video is launched on Songfest’s platform and through them on various audio streaming platforms, I reflect on ‘Sadak’ or the road and I acknowledge everybody’s best efforts in making it happen. We had our fair share of roadblocks, rejections and creative differences. But we made sure we watch each other’s back and keep the spirits high.
I hope the members of the IIMB community like it. It all started at B!
After having spent more than 11 years in full-time leadership roles in product management, marketing, and analytics, I have set up my own LLP called Insights Box, which provides on-demand execution support to clients on their new initiatives. I take special interests in poetry-writing, counseling psychology and wildlife conservation.