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Just 21, Arjun loves to shoot at sight

Arjun Punjabi is just 21 years old, but he has already travelled to some of the picturesque locations, especially mountains, in India. Travelling is his passion, but what he also does is to shoot and document all his travel escapades.

When people started appreciating his videos, Arjun, based in Mumbai, thought of turning those videos into short films. Later, on demand, he started making commercials and it was just a beginning. Since then, he has shot for major corporates and his final destination is obviously films.

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Too young, but you have shot in some really stunning locations. What's the real trigger for your travel escapades?

Traveling is a passion and it’s really fascinating if you can document it. I must say this is a win-win situation where I get to explore new places and increase my work folio at the same time. Most of the time, I travel with my friends but if there's a traveling assignment that provides me the opportunity, nothing like that.

How did it all begin? How did the travel bug bite you?

I laid my hands on a camera for the first time four years ago after my Class XII exams. I would sit for hours scouring YouTube tutorials on photography, and travel episodes, especially travel films. I later started my craft by making short films, TV commercials during the first year as college projects. I was always fascinated by the idea of photography. Eventually getting more into the subject of filmmaking I learned how the combination of visuals and sound has an impact on the audience. This power of impacting people or telling a story drove me to the art of cinema. By the second year of college, we were entering film competitions in various media college festivals and winning many of them.

And when did you decide to capture the travels and upload them on YouTube? Some of the videos are well made, technically? Do you have a team just for post-production?

At the end of every year in college, a couple of my friends and I would take a trip, mostly to the mountains. The camera was always with me so shooting came quite naturally. I do the post-production and all the other aspects of my travel films myself. Friends who come along sometimes help me with some shots here and there.

How much money has been invested? And what about returns?

Essentially most of my money has been used in buying my camera gear and a laptop. It should sum around 1.9-2 lakhs. I am a full-time freelancer now, So all my returns come from that. I usually do 3-4 projects a month.

What are your career plans? Are you pursuing a career as a filmmaker?

Oh yes, my ultimate goal is to make films. Of late, my focus has been shifted from travel to films. I am trying and improving my craft in terms of writing every day. Also, I'm looking for opportunities to direct. Next month, I'm getting into the production of a short film that I've written. This is what my plans are: making short films until there is an opportunity to direct a project professionally.

Any interesting stories to share?

On my last trip to North-East India, we had a few crazy encounters, and really stood out. Our driver who was taking us throughout Meghalaya almost abandoned us at a campsite at 9 in the night in a town called Dawki, located on the Indo-Bangladesh border. It was pitch black at the campsite, where apparently no other tourists were staying apart from us. For all we know, we could have been killed that night. But fortunately, we took a leap of faith and stayed there for the night, and woke up to enjoy one of the best sunrises of our lives.

Favorite directors/film-makers

Recently, I discovered Taika Waititi's films and I'm in total love. The list is long: Christopher Nolan, Anurag Kashyap, The Safdie Brothers, Dibakar Banerjee, Quentin Tarantino, etc.

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