Decoding Shankar, directed by Deepti Pillay Sivan, is on the rampage. The film on renowned musician Shankar Mahadevan has won four back to back international awards starting from Toronto International Women Film Festival, Indo French international film festival, Tokyo international short film festival, now latest being the Best International Documentary at the prestigious Santa Monica Short film festival.
The documentary is not a biopic on Shankar Mahadevan, but his tryst with music. Decoding Shankar is a personality sketch –focusing on how he balances his career as a singer, music composer, teacher, family life and even his passion for cooking. The film brings out decisive moments that shaped his life and musical sensibilities – in his own inimitable storytelling narrative style. The film is to understand through anecdotes and personal statements – how a creative mind works—decoding melody and Swara of super hit songs of his and explaining how it is created.
The documentary is narrated by Shankar himself about this musical journey, how his mother encouraged him to pursue music, the predicament he faced while quitting his job in Oracle, composing jingles for ads and his entry into the world of film music. Deepti has roped in eminent personalities like Gulzar, Zakir Hussain, Sachin Tendulkar, Javed Akthar, Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Prasoon Pandey, Shreya Ghoshal and more to narrate about their association with Shankar Mahadevan.
Speaking about her journey while filming Decoding Shankar, Deepti says, “Decoding Shankar is a journey of a person who followed his passion and his parents who nurtured and encouraged his talents. In my opinion, every person should follow their passion and things that are done out of it will have brilliant output.”
The film was made over a period of 2 years, and Deepti delivered her third child during the filmmaking period.
“Since Shankar has a Pan India presence, the choice of people to be featured in the film who can talk about the other side of Shankar and his musical journey was a challenging task for me. The film has been travelling to different film festivals, and the responses I received were overwhelming,” says Deepti.
The documentary was screened at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa and other International Film festivals, including Stuttgart in Germany, Jecheon International Music and Film Festival-South Korea, DC South Asian Film Festival- Gaithersburg, Madrid, to name a few. This documentary film had drawn interesting reviews from both the critics and cinema buffs alike, both domestically and internationally.
Deepti’s husband, Sanjeev Sivan, is a film director and screenwriter; they are planning to do a web series on Padmanabhaswamy temple.
“I consider my husband, Sanjeev, as my guru, and he has been encouraging me to venture into feature film direction. I am going to direct a Hindi feature film soon. I am also in talks on the OTT release of Decoding Shankar,” concludes Deepti.