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Behind The Scenes: Meet Music Video Director Vijesh Rajan

Rajan has worked on videos for artists such as NY-Mumbai based percussionist and producer Karsh Kale, Mumbai electronica artist Your Chin and Dub Sharma from Chandigarh

Radhapriya Gupta Feb 06, 2015
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Do birds get dub music? Filmmaker and visual effects artist Vijesh Rajan and editor Shreyas Beltangdy think they do. Using footage from a bird documentary, the two of them directed a music video that looks like an episode of MTV Grind for birds set to Chandigarh based electronic music producer Dub Sharma’s song “Ghetto Moves.”  The video for the song, taken from Sharma’s 2013 album Vyuh, is one among several indie projects that Rajan has been involved with since his early 20s. And it is Rajan’s eye for the unusual that sets his work apart. Says Rajan, “[Cinematographer] Swapnil Sonawane was shooting in Pune about a bird caller and asked if I wanted to use some unused footage. Days later, Shreyas was just playing with the footage, looping the bird movements along with ”˜Ghetto Moves’ playing in the background. We had a laugh about it and agreed that it can be great video and that we should definitely try it.”

Vijesh Rajan

Vijesh Rajan

Rajan, now 32, played drums in a nu-metal band he started in college called BarfCake along with former classmates including Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy , former vocalist and founding member of hardcore band Scribe and guitarist R Venkatraman from metallers Bhayanak Maut. Rajan recalls as he laughs, “My dad thought I was CA [chartered accountant] material.” The visual artist shifted to Bahrain to work as a copywriter for an ad agency and returned in 2009, raring to be a part of the music scene again. “I wanted to make films and there are a lot of websites that teach you for free,” says Rajan, who taught himself the basics of filmmaking, “Soon enough, I started making my own short films and people in my [advertising] office liked. They asked me to make some low-budget client films and that’s when I decided that I could do this for a living.”

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The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project, a buzzed about indie film in Hindi and English was Rajan’s first breakthrough project in 2010. Srinivas Sunderrajan, the film’s director and bassist of Scribe remembers, “I was lucky that I didn’t have to scour the globe to find the right person. Vijesh and I knew each other since college and we kept discussing and dreaming about making films and winning awards! Since he had also co-written the film, he had expressed a desire to work on the film physically and I would have had to be crazy to refuse the offer, considering he’s a genius in what he does.” Rajan later freelanced with artist and event management company Only Much Louder [OML]’s in-house video production team, Babble Fish Productions, working on a number of music-based projects like The Dewarists and MTV Sound Trippin. Samira Kanwar, founder of Babble Fish Productions, says that Rajan is best inspired when a project involves upbeat electronica and recalls that his work on the first episode of Sound Trippin’ featuring Sneha Khanwalkar and the Nooran sisters stood out, “He always has a lot of ideas and we are quite dependent on him.”

Soon, Rajan landed more work as a VFX intern but this time, he hit mainstream with films such as The Gangs of Wasseypur series directed by Anurag Kashyap. Apart from designing the title sequence of The Gangs of Wasseypur, Rajan also worked on more than twenty five short films with Anuraj Kashyap and says that it was a huge transition into short format fiction films, “The experience taught me how to make films from scratch.” He also designed the titles and did the animation for the trailer for the much-awaited Dibakar Banerjee film Detective Byomkesh Bakshy.

Watch Rajan’s video for the Karsh Kale track “We All Fall” below

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All along, Rajan remains hooked onto the Indian alternative music scene. He’s just finished working on a video for Raxit Tewari’s solo project Your Chin. Says Tewari, “He liked ”˜Fingerprints and Mugshots’ from the last EP [Scatter Nature] and started to build on it. He sent me the image of an animated chin and I would have fallen off the chair laughing, if I was sitting on one. I was sold. He then went on to add a whole of detail and turned it into a four-minute short film. It’s a lot of fun and I can’t wait for people to watch it for themselves.”

While the big dream is to make a feature film, Rajan tells us that there is always an indie project that he wants to get his hands on. Of course, it’s electronica. “I would really like to work on Aqua Dominatrix. The sound is so different.”

Watch “The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project” below


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