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Rising Star: Manoti Jain, Head, Supari Studios

Fresh out of college, Jain scored a scholarship to study documentary filmmaking from Queen’s University in Canada. When she came back to India, she found out that one of her closest friends was starting something of his own. She readily agreed when he approached her to join the team and there was no looking back for any of them

Manoti Jain

After completing her Bachelors in Advertising from Jai Hind College, Mumbai, Manoti Jain got a one-year scholarship at Queen’s University, Canada.

“The course that I did at Queen’s was on documentary filmmaking and business production. I learned the ropes of filmmaking in Canada for over a year.”

After having completed her course, Jain came back to India and that is when she learned that one of her closest friends was starting something.

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“I came to know that Akshat Gupt was starting something of his own with his brother and one thing led to another and that is how my journey in the industry started.” Jain joined Supari Studios fresh out of college and she has been with the organisation for six years now.

“When we started working together, we participated in a short filmmaking competition and won. That helped us get our first iMac. It motivated us to continue what we were doing and make more films.”

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Jain quickly took charge of production at the recently incorporated organisation and over the next six years produced more than 250 films. She has worked as an Executive Producer for projects with brands like Red Bull, Nike, Dolby, Asian Paints and Google, to name a few.

“We started off as a three-member team, working out of an apartment. We did everything from writing the script to shooting the film to editing it. We learnt everything about film production on the job. Today, we are a 30-member strong organisation and the journey from there to here has been nothing short of epic. In these six years, we have set up multiple verticals. We have ‘Keeda’, which is our original content division, there is ‘Vitamin Stree’, which is a platform that speaks to urban Indian women and initiates conversations on topics that people usually don’t take up. Then, there is ‘Post Office’, which is our post-production company. With each new launch, we have learnt something new.”

For Jain, the work they did for Absolut India is the closest to her heart and it is also the project that, according to her, she had the most fun working for.

“Absolut wanted us to truly encapsulate the cultural, ethnic and architectural diversity that exists within the country. To do this, the team focused on developing a creative collaboration between artists across mediums to symbolise this country's melange. We brought together four filmmakers, three motion graphic artists, three cinematographers, two graphic artists and a music director to form a 10-member crew. Shot across four cities, the films were created using a combination of engaging techniques from time lapses to a double exposure treatment within the bottle. One of the most important elements for the campaign was the soundtrack that ties the entire journey together. What’s interesting to note is that the base sound of the track was created using the Absolut bottle itself. The team organically produced Foley sounds from across the country to authentically portray the character of different parts of the country, thereby epitomising the journey of the Absolut India bottle.”

According to Jain, the one really interesting thing about filmmaking is that every project comes with its own set of challenges. Even so, the most challenging project that she has worked on so far is the work they did for Asian Paints.

“The project that we did for Asian Paints was called ‘Speechless’. We approached Twitter users across the country and asked them to tweet what about what leaves them speechless. The best tweets were mimed into a video tweet in real time. We created over 80 videos over the two-day activity, which received 11,000+ tweets on the brands’ Twitter handle. #Speechless trended number one in India for two days in a row.”

Jain believes that her biggest achievement so far is winning a Webby. Supari Studios' documentary series for Red Bull called 'Doppelgangers' won a Webby People's Voice Award in the 'Film and Video: Sports (Branded)' category this year.

A people’s person, for Jain, her biggest strength is figuring out a way to do even the most challenging of projects.

“Speaking to people and understanding their stories, working with teams and being able to lead them enables me to figure out a way to do any project, no matter how difficult it seems initially.”

Her biggest weakness, according to Jain, is not being able to draw a line distinguishing how much is too much.

“I tend to take on more than what can be done. I do believe that I need to learn where to draw the line.”

Jain’s hobbies include watching good content and dancing. But ask her what she would have been doing if not content creation and her reply is a simple, “I don’t think I would have wanted to do anything differently. This is my calling.”

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