Piyush Jha

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Piyush Jha
Piyush Jha.jpg
Born Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, INDIA
Residence Mumbai, Maharashtra, INDIA
Nationality Indian
Occupation film director, screenwriter, novelist
Years active 2000–present
Website
www.piyushjha.com

Piyush Jha is a film director and screenwriter and novelist of Indian origin, most known for his acclaimed films Sikandar (2009), King of Bollywood and Chalo America and his Bestseller crime-thriller novels, Mumbaistan and Compass Box Killer.

Early life[edit]

Piyush Jha was born in Jhansi, U.P.[1] At a very early age of 8, he came to Mumbai, Maharashtra with his parents. He grew up and studied there, graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology at the University of Mumbai and following it up with an MBA from K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research.

Career[edit]

Advertising[edit]

Jha began his career in 1995 in advertising as an Account Executive at Grey Worldwide, where he dealt with clients such as Ambuja Cement and Snowcem Paints. He later went on to work in Mudra Communications in strategic account management with clients such as Procter and Gamble, Godrej Soaps, etc. At this point, he started getting interested in the creative aspect of advertising and began with directing in-house ad films for companies such as Godrej Hair Dye, Federal Bank Ltd., Kitply, etc., and soon moved to directing corporate films as well.

In 1998, he took this interest on further to start his own ad film production company Vitamin J Productions, where he made ads for Indian Oil, Hindustan Lever, Symphony Air Coolers, UB Group among many others.

Feature films[edit]

In 2000, he decided to take a plunge into the world of feature film making, and the Government of India's NFDC produced his first feature, 'Chalo America', a hilarious yet touching story of a group of three Indian college boys obsessed with the American dream, and how they concoct various schemes to find a way to the US. Although a laugh riot, the film addressed a serious issue sensitively, which is the obsessive aspirational desire for emigration. It was a selection at the prestigious Indian Panorama Section at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), and travelled wide to many international film festivals such as those in Shanghai, Cairo, San Diego, Dhaka, Atlanta, amongst others.

After continuing to make Ad films, Piyush Jha returned to the big screen in 2004, with the first Indian film in the "Mockumentary" genre, 'King of Bollywood', starring Om Puri and British supermodel Sophie Dahl. It tells the story of an ageing Bollywood Superstar, and the hilarity, colour and zany-ness of his many comeback attempts. Once again, an extremely funny film, yet was also regarded by critics as being a highly intelligent film, as was also selected at prestigious International Film Festivals in Bradford, UK; Tel Aviv, Israel; New York City; Toronto, Canada; Melbourne, Australia etc.

In 2009, after his extensive travels around India and the world, Piyush Jha decided to pick up on another serious issue; terrorism in Kashmir. Piyush's unique idea was to show it in a light that brings out the humanity in that issue in a way that even a person who might not know or even be interested in a thing about Kashmir could find a connection. Sikandar, the film was a story was about a young boy, who only wanted to play soccer but, one day finds a gun on his way to school, and how that affects his life, and the life of the little village he lives in.

Sikandar was selected in the International Film Festivals, Dubai, IFFLA in LA, Edmonton in Canada, MIACC in New York, and Stuttgart in Germany, among others. Sikandar was highly acclaimed by critics, including those of the mainstream popular media (for example, Nikhat Kazmi, renowned film critic of the Times of India, India's largest selling English daily, gave it a 3.5 star rating)[2]

Personal style[edit]

Piyush Jha's films are noted for the unconventionality of the subject matter and treatment. For instance, Chalo America is about young college boys and emigration, but it does not stray into having a typical Bollywood type love track. Similarly, Sikandar has young teenagers as the leads, while King of Bollywood has a British Documentary filmmaker through whose eyes the story unfolds.

Technically too, Piyush has shown a flair for breaking new ground in the range of his works, from the innovative filming style that brings a unique flavour to King of Bollywood, to the classical approach he favoured for showcasing the grandeur and beauty of Kashmir, to the fresh energetic approach of Chalo America and his ad-films, Piyush has always pushed the bounds of what is possible on celluloid.

Personal life[edit]

Piyush Jha is married to Priyanka Sinha Jha. She is the Editor of Indian Express Group film magazine Screen.

Present Projects[edit]

Currently Piyush Jha is releasing his debut novel, Mumbaistan, a compilation of 3 crime-thriller novellas based in Mumbai. Each of the novellas from Mumbaistan is soon to become major motion pictures.

Filmography[edit]

Writer and Director[edit]

Novelist[edit]

Actor[edit]

Festival Official Selections[edit]

  • Chalo America: Indian Panorama Section at the International Film Festival of India, 1999; The International film festivals of Shanghai, Cairo, San Diego, Dhaka, Atlanta, amongst others.
  • King of Bollywood: International Film Festivals in Bradford, UK (Bite the Mango Festival); Tel Aviv, Israel; New York City; Toronto, Canada; Melbourne, Australia etc.
  • Sikandar: International Film Festivals, Dubai, IFFLA in LA, Edmonton in Canada, MIACC in New York, and Stuttgart in Germany, among others.

Award Nominations[edit]

'Sikandar' was nominated for the Ramnath Goenka Award for 'Movies That Make a Difference' at the 2010 Star Screen Awards.

Parzaan Dastur was nominated for Best Child Artiste for his eponymous role in 'Sikandar' at the 2010 Star Screen Awards.

Parzaan Dastur was nominated for BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE – MALE at The Max Stardust Awards 2010.

References[edit]

External links and Reviews[edit]

Chalo America(2000)[edit]

Director Rohan Sippy writes in The Indian Express: [2]

Anna Vetticad writes in India Today: [3]

'Chalo America' screened as one of the cinema gems from India in Atlanta, USA: [4]

King of Bollywood(2004)[edit]

Taran Adarsh writes: [5]

Deepa Nair: [6]

The Toronto Star – Canada: [7]

Time Out – London: [8]

Internet Reviews: [9]

An Interview with Piyush Jha: [10]

Sikandar(2009)[edit]

Subhash .K Jha writes: [11]

'The Village Voice', New York: [12]

Varied Internet Reviews: [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]

http://www.desibollywood.in/film-review/movie-review-%E2%80%93-sikandar/4966.html

http://www.caymanmama.com/2009/10/15/bollywood-movie-review-sikandar_200910155378.html

http://www.desimeet.com/entertainment-news/10790-sikandar-movie-review.html

Audience reviews: [18]

DVD review from South Africa: [19]