Ruchir Arun is a graduate from Film and Television Institute of India. He works as a freelancer filmmaker in Bombay. His Diploma film Mandrake! Mandrake!, won the national award for the best short fiction film in the year 2014. His 2nd short film 5 o’ clock accidents got a Special Jury Mention at the National Awards, 2015. These films along with others have been showcased in various film festivals across the world.
Of all the things that happened in the year 1985, the singular most important event (according to the writer) and the one that will have ever lasting impact on humanity was the appearance of the comic strip named ‘Calvin and Hobbes’. Born in the same year as the comic strip, Ruchir Arun was around seven years old when he first laid year eyes on Watterson’s masterpiece. Though at that age, the existential philosophy made no sense, what really attracted Ruchir to the comic strip was spirit of friendship between the boy and the tiger and the enormous amount of time they spent (wasted) talking about things that had no purpose or consequence. It reflected what an ideal life was like in Ruchir’s head. One such useless conversation between Calvin and Hobbes has in a way had a lasting impact on Ruchir’s life.
In that particular strip, Calvin was discussing what a 20/10 vision is. He tells to an ignorant Hobbes, ‘If you have 20/10 vision you are above average! You are better than the “normal” person and you have better than what is considered to be standard or normal, vision. If you have 20/10 vision, you can see at 20 feet, what a normal person can see at 10 feet from an eye chart. Only 1% of people have 20/10 vision. If you fall in the 1%, then Nothing can stop you’.
Ruchir Arun was born on 20/10 of1985. Somehow he felt that these words were directly addressed to him. This simple (and stupid) assumption has lead to a life of adventures and misadventures. Soon with life opening up to new comic characters, Ruchir’s obsession shifted from Calvin to Calculus (from Tintin). He obsessively read and re read every known publication of Tintin. His favourite was Calculus. In fact as a teenager, he so desperately wanted to be like Prof. Calculus that soon after school he joined the Mathematics honours course in St. Xaviers, Calcutta. But reality is much stranger than fiction. One day in first year of Maths hons. a friend of his invited him to see a film called Taxi Driver. As he was seeing Scorsese’s masterpiece, he had a complete meltdown as he was being consumed by the phenomenon called adulthood. As the film stopped after two hours, Ruchir did not want to be a scientist with impaired hearing, neither did he (thankfully) want to be a Taxi Driver. He wanted to be a film-maker. Did he think it would be easy to become a film-maker. No, but then he remembered what Calvin had once told him, Nothing can stop me. He promptly dropped out of Maths hons. the following semester and joined a film studies course in the same college. In that course Ruchir made a film called God’s Men that was accepted in some local film festivals and was really appreciated by the 7 out of 9 people who saw it. It boosted Ruchir’s confidence. Nothing can stop me was his motto and he was ready to take the next big step in his life. He was ready to go to FTII. Despite some horrible ragging and a worse interview, Ruchir found himself at FTII. This gave him further confidence that no matter how badly one f*** in life, No one can stop him.
As soon as he entered FTII, a whole new world opened up for him. He was given the gift he had been searching for his entire life, the gift of Poker. Ruchir excelled at playing Poker at FTII. His nights were spent swindling his fellow students off their money and days spent dozing off in class. Somehow he scraped through this three (5) years at FTII and made a diploma called Mandrake! Mandrake! which would be the fourth or the fifth best film in his class but then to everyone’s surprise (and his own) got a National Award for the best short film. While accepting the award from the President he smiled smugly and thought ‘No one can stop me’ and then arrived in Mumbai in full flair where he met his match! Mumbai Stopped him!
The first year in Mumbai was not working out as dreamily as he thought it would. Thats where the skill set he picked up in his film school came into use. Poker saved the day, and the month and the year subsequently. The day his seniors (with who he piled on in order to escape RENT) finally threw him out Ruchir landed a plum assignment. He made a film called ‘5 o’ clockaccidents’ that got him his second national award.
As Ruchir was wondering whether he should think ‘Nobody can stop me’ a few ads came his way – where he would have to deliver as a first AD. He now learnt what it means to work 8 days a week and 25 hours a day. He managed to still hold fort amidst the madness and the mayhem where he visited countries like Thailand on assignments only to see their airports and their cabs.
As the madness and the mayhem in the ad world continued to grow in deafening decibels Ruchir was offered his first commercial to direct a public service campaign called ‘Mike and I’, which genuinely won the hearts of many Facebookers, ending in two marriage proposals. Politely rejecting them saying he is too young to get married Ruchir went on to direct an ad on marriage, a wedding rather, for BIBA. The BIBA commercial got millions of hits and suddenly the world started opening for Ruchir in a different way.
Currently, Ruchir spends his days working on concepts for commercials and web series and features and his nights, dreaming of a time when he wouldn’t have to do any of the hard work and he would be on the head of a Poker table raising his glass of champagne and thinking the thought that has stuck by him for over two decades – No one can stop me.