Meet the teenage filmmaker of ‘Seeped’

17-year-old Mauraya Sharma feels creation and depiction of beauty is an act of resistance

Meet the teenage filmmaker of  ‘Seeped’

Garima Sadhwani

They say inspiration can be found anywhere, anytime. 17-year old filmmaker Mauraya Sharma found his in the “restrictions” that the Covid-19 induced lockdown imposed last year. “The pandemic, as tragic as it was, has been an opportunity for me to explore and push my ability like never before,” says he.

His latest production Seeped, a short film that was completed in a little more than eight months’ time, plays around on the themes of “sexuality, pain, filtration and unplanned co-relations”. It’s the story of Kaivalya, a paper-making artist, and her struggle coming to terms with her past.

Sharma says, “Seeped is not about what moments of contemplation can do to us, rather what merely causes it; the uncanny co-relations. It entrenches you into your past, trickling down into stories of your life with no judgment.”

Sharma says he has always found it hard to follow a structured pattern, or a routine. He prefers what nature has to offer, no matter how textured. And so, he wasn’t surprised when the idea for Seeped came to him while he himself was indulged in making paper. He remembers comparing the process to instances of his own life, and finding “the same entangled pattern on paper (...) as within myself”, he says.

The young filmmaker happens to be the jack of many trades. He paints, he’s interested in styling, fashion and fabrics, and has cleared Grade Four Piano lessons from Trinity College of London. But he feels Seeped is what has made him surrender to the craft of film-making. And though he says he’s not completely satisfied with the way the film has turned out, he’s proud of what he has made. The team has applied to over 80 film festivals, and is expecting a positive response from quite a few.

Growing up in an atmosphere where fluidity was the norm, where he was free and encouraged to express himself in a thousand different ways, and where there weren’t any “modern-day constraints”, Sharma says his utopian bubble burst when he was made to choose between binaries--of gender, of beliefs, and of politics. And so, in his work, he tries to explore sexuality, desire, and indulgence. He says, “Given all of the hardships in the world, the creation and depiction of beauty is an act of resistance. It makes me look for answers.”

He says he’s inspired by music, visuals, art and basically anything that has the power to move him and make him feel. To his credit, Sharma has co-written and directed another short film called Unbinding that won 20 awards and nominations.

He’s also made a documentary titled Looking Through the Bamboos that won him 10 awards internationally. His production and acting stint, The TwoHeaded Lore, also won several accolades. He believes even though he’s never in the frame or the story, all his movies have autobiographical elements. He says, “I am behind everything that happens and that is said, but I am never talking about myself in first person singular.”

But as much as he’d like to explore the theme of the self through his work, he’d also like to question everything that is out there. And he says he’ll do so provocatively and yet with a level of sensitivity, that’ll steer him clear of anything controversial.

He also mentions how the earth, maps and geographic images have inspired one too many metaphors in his works. And so, it’s sometimes music that inspires him to paint, and sometimes a painting that inspires him to write. “So, I do not need to ‘handle’ them all together, for me they are all connected and one leads to another sometimes as inspiration other times as an expression,” says he.

For his next project, he is working with some renowned artist on a personal story. “I never know what I will end up with. There is just this intrinsically organic feeling I follow.” Sharma also has his own production house, Painting Tongue Productions, lined up and in the making.

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