Parallel cinema carries a huge prejudice of being restricted only as a hobby or weekend retreat for classy uptown people. Even in the current start-up crazy innovative India –people hardly think beyond technology and service companies to build something which can fulfill your passion and sponsor a decent lifestyle along with it. Here is the journey of Cyrus Dastur who became a short film mogul with no prior experience, industry godfather or truck load of dollars. Cyrus followed a dream, he fed his passion for art and films and a motivation to keep on moving and ended up building ‘SHAMIANA’- Asia’s biggest short film company and recently Co- produced a full feature Bollywood movie
“ Sweetie weds NRI” awaiting release on the 2nd of June 2017.
Cyrus Dastur- the man with a plan:
Cyrus Dastur -the man that I have known since I first attended his book reading event in Pune( 2014) is beyond doubt an inspiration for this generation of passionate yet lost entrepreneurs. He is calm, lively and his hospitality is something that will strike one as exceptionally warm and welcoming. Cyrus is a man who has walked the uncharted territories, pursued a dream which many might shrug away as a hobby and finally emerged as a phoenix building the biggest short film company in whole of Asia know as ‘SHAMIANA’. From just a dream to becoming a short film mogul Cyrus has come a long way.
Outside the glamour of media industry, classy entourage of short films and the recent buzz around his latest Bollywood film “Sweetie weds NRI” – lies a story of struggle , aspiration and the never give up attitude. The story of Cyrus pre-success merits narration more than his post success glamour as this is the story which will inspire millions to follow their dreams without a second thought and excel in the path they are destined to tread by almighty.
Dream of Shorts-
When an entire generation was aspiring to become Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini. Cyrus was aspiring to build an industry which would produce Amitabh Bachchans and Hema Malinis . Not deterred by lack of industry contact, minimal Entrepreneurship experience , non entertainment background and absolutely no one to hold his hand – Cyrus embarked on a journey of building ‘SHAMIANA’ brick by brick . ‘SHAMIANA’ a short film haven was a very unique idea with no template to follow- this was a curse and blessing both at the same time and this is where Cyrus adopted positive outlook , turned every adversity into opportunity to build a huge short film empire we know as SHAMIANA .
SHAMIANA is what introduced the Asian audience to the brilliance of parallel cinema with shorts like “Marry me, Little Terrorist, Silencer, Hotel Flirt, The Sharpener and the Kid, Free Hugs video and Epilogue of a Friendship “ Cyrus introduced short films for an audience who had the inertia of watching 120 mins long feature films. The break was however welcoming.
What is most striking about Cyrus is his gift of overcoming every hurdle thrown at him . This is specially an eye opener for entrepreneurs who back out of their ventures because of lack of funding. The vicious VC stories and another excuse to kill their dreams to follow the rat race called normal life. SHAMIANA was an unique and unheard of concept and it made it excruciatingly difficult to mold it into a framework which will make it comprehensible for the VCs.
Everyone who heard him wondered how can someone start a company and make profits by showing movies in a cafe. Such an activity hardly passes as a hobby. Cyrus got lectured by VCs –with portfolio of cutting edge start-ups- on how his idea is doomed and how one should actually build a company. But the old age saying-“the fool did not know it was impossible”.
3 years post his Trysts with VCs Shamina grew to over 25 cities and became the biggest name in short films while most of the marvellous start-ups funded by the VCs got erased from the book of start-up history.
Cyrus the man today-
Today standing in 2017. Cyrus is still the fascinating story teller I had met 3 years back. We can still make you feel warm and welcome- just a little change now he is also the producer of an upcoming feature film “Sweetie weds NRI”. Today he is featured in every leading national print magazine and is just a step away from becoming a household name. Cyrus had never failed to inspire me with his passion for his work and a desire to create an indelible mark in the world of short films. Wish he create more shorts of magic and feed colours in the life of his audience.