Varunn Pandya developed his knack for storytelling at the mere age of five. At the time, he wrote short stories, filling books with his tales. Now, this passion that was born in his early years has transformed into a formidable career. As a screenwriter, Pandya tells his stories to the world, sharing his distinctive perspective with international audiences. Born in Mumbai and raised in Dubai, he brings his unique ideas to the screen, breaking stereotypical notions about living in the eastern side of the world through his craft.
“As a writer, I develop the backbone of the project I work on, the story, and decide on the most apt execution of it. A good story needs good execution. A good story with bad execution would only do disservice to the project,” said Pandya.
Pandya is known around the globe as a celebrated screenwriter, and with his esteemed resume, it is easy to see why. He is best known for acclaimed projects like Dilemma, XYZ, and Predicament. Throughout these scripts, his talent and determination are evident.
Another highlight of Pandya’s career came last year when his script The House, became a distinguished film, titled Homeless. The story follows a homeless man, Carl, living in Los Angeles and his need to find a human connection after having been through a rough life. Audiences see Carl’s daily routine as he collects metal scraps from the areas surrounding him and food from trash so as to sustain himself. During one such day, Carl comes across a family that’s just moved into a house in the neighborhood and is fascinated with them. The story deals with the interactions between Carl and the couple and how they accustom to one another. Together, they learn the lesson of humility.
“I always try and look at the world from perspectives different than my own. Few of my most favorite films have opened my eyes to viewpoints that are so different from mine and yet make me feel and root for them. Living in Los Angeles, I came across homeless people every other day and would always feel horrible for them and would try to help them out in any way I could. That is when it struck me that I should write a story about them and explore their corner of the world,” said Pandya.
Homeless went on to be an Official Selection and Semi-Finalist in the Best Short Film category at the Los Angeles Cinefest in November of 2017. None of this success could have been possible without Pandya, who not only came up with the story and wrote the script, but also directed and produced the project. It was truly his brain child.
“It feels great to know that the film has been widely appreciated by people all over the world. Everyone that I show the film to have said that it’s one of my best work and it truly feels great to garner that sort of appreciation,” he said.
Working on the film was an amazing experience for the writer. As he had previously worked on the script, he was already well aware of the world he wanted to create, which was his greatest asset when it came to directing. He made sure that he maintained the essence of what he had written in the script whenever an obstacle would arise.
After spending so long writing the script and envisioning the film in his mind, it was truly surreal for Pandya to see the characters that he had written on paper so beautifully being portrayed in front of his eyes. He made sure that he kept the film in black-and-white, as he wanted to direct the audience’s attention solely to what the characters were doing instead of being distracted by all the other elements within the frame. He also felt that this story was very classical in its feel and he needed the film to be the most stripped-down version of the story, complete with lack of color and music that felt modern and at the same time from a yesteryear.
“What I loved most about working on this project was the fact that I explored something that was unchartered territory for me. The whole process, right from the scripting phase to seeing the final edit, was an immensely enjoyable experience. I couldn’t have asked for better actors. I feel that they completely immersed themselves into their characters and the world of the story and did so with utter conviction,” he concluded.