He wears multiple hats — that of an actor and entrepreneur. Now he will be seen as a director, producer and writer. So it’s not surprising that Pankit Thakker is busy round the clock. As we catch up with him the multifaceted personality talks about his journey, how he made his forray into direction and production with his soon to be launched chat show with his business partner Vahbiz Dorabjee in association with IndianWikiMedia.
Did you always dream of being a director?
Not really. I have been an actor and will always continue being one. When me and Vahbiz started out with our business partnership we never thought that we would get into production so soon but we were on the same page that we wanted to make some good content down the line.
Both of us are working actors, so we knew that we wanted to do something that will not cut down on our acting offers.
But whether I would get into Direction was not thought about at all. I realised that I enjoyed direction while making the pilot of our chat show, Showbiz With Vahbiz.
The process of putting a show together, and working with the cast and crew, as a Director/Producer felt good. That’s when I realised that I wanted to take this further.
When did you write Showbiz With Vahbiz?
I guess that happened when Vahbiz told me that lets work on a chat show, and working in TV for so long the experience of working as an actor and an artist, the whole discipline of writing was already instilled in my system. That’s when I started thinking about actually writing some content with a certain flow and sequences , and making it into a pilot of the chat show.
So writing/direction were never your first choice?
In all honesty, direction happened due to a particular reason; I wanted to make it in a tight budget and I was confident enough that with the experience I have gathered over the years I can pull it off so why should I hire someone and pay money for that.
Initially, it started off more as a writing exercise for me.
Having worked for so many years as an actor the concept of writing in my head was quite clear and sorted. It was interesting to write a script for the pilot before I moved on to directing that.
That helped me grow as a writer, and I also found out how long I could sit in front of a computer and see something through. As part of that exercise, I started writing Showbiz With Vahbiz.
While I was writing it, I realised that it has become quite close to my heart and I was in my mind imagining directing it; so I went ahead with my gut feeling.
Do you think that being an actor helped you, maybe subconsciously, shape your craft in some way?
Hundred per cent. Acting always challenges our creativity. Whenever we enact scenes; it is almost like an exercise. When you remember dialogues and create moments out of that, there’s a certain kind of education happening even within that kind of space. It is playful and fun, and I will always continue my journey as an actor. I guess most intelligent actors know how to go about direction but it is a choice. And when I said that I myself will be directing, everyone in our team was very encouraging and gave me full freedom. It was great.
What’s your direction process like? Is the process different once you begin shooting?
I need to be alone during the writing process. I don’t like distractions. But beyond that, I feel it also depends a lot on the nature of the content we are shooting. So, how you approach a content becomes really important.
At times, there are certain external factors that play a role. For example, when we are shooting with actors who are committed to a show and already tied up due to current and on going daily soaps; we aren’t only following the deadlines set by the production team but we are also working along the deadlines set by these Actors. So, a certain kind of discipline is required. If an actor said, ‘We are coming at 7pm and will leave by 10pm then they would stick to it. That means that you have to drive and motivate your crew in a different way.
But if you are shooting with actors that allow you to have a certain kind of flexibility, your demeanour changes. So, it depends on what you are dealing with. And sets are always chaotic. I wish that wasn’t the case. I have always felt this. It’s with every director that I have worked with in recent years. It amazes me how much noise there is on a set while people are trying to focus and do their jobs. But there’s some kind of order within that chaos. So you should just put your best foot forward and go for it. I don’t know if there’s any fixed process.
You have attempted to direct completely different kind of content in your career…
I didn’t come with a plan about the kind of content I wanted to make, because when I started working on it, I didn’t think of direction as a career. But I enjoyed the process. And now since I started directing, I have started thinking of reliving the experience, and directing more diverse and versatile content. I am very excited to see what future holds for me as an actor and as a director.
Season 1 of Showbiz With Vahbiz features big names in television including Divyanka Tripathi, Vivek Dahiya,Manish Raisinghania, Avika Gor and more.