For a quiet, shy kid, moving to a new city can be quite frazzling especially when he has lived all his life feeling a bit out of place. There is a certain fear, an enthralling excitement but when there is a calling beckoning you, and you choose to persevere against all the odds – that’s when the magic happens. For Chinmay Samnani, taking this leap of faith came with a reassuring support system. Having spent some seven odd years in Mumbai, today he has worked with a variety of production houses, media agencies and stand-up comics.
Meet Chinmay Samnani
“My mother always wanted to see me on screen, so when I was 16, I registered on Balaji Telefilms,” says Chinmay, who at the time had no interest in acting. One day when he received a call for a multimedia workshop to be held in Gwalior, he instantly gave his name for a VFX workshop without even knowing what it meant. After the workshop, his interest piqued and he went on to take up a VFX foundation course in Mumbai after completing high school. “I learned a bunch of things during my time there. Animation, film-making and VFX among other things really fascinated me,” he adds.
So, when he found himself at the juncture of choosing what to pursue in college, acting was totally off the table. Quite a few options were spread out in front of him – his parents offering full liberty – but Chinmay had his eyes on the camera and his heart longing to tell a story.
“Now when I think about it, I realize that I was always fascinated by stories ever since I was young. To be able to convey ideas – this thought really intrigued me. Back in school, I wanted to make a short film so I tried to get in touch with like-minded people on-board and worked really hard on it. It took us three months, the film never got completed but it taught us a lot about what it meant to tell a story.”
The delicate craft of storytelling
Though storytelling is certainly a delicate craft, only a few can master it with finesse. Chinmay admits that while at first, he didn’t know where to begin, working with a variety of people, he learned to pick up the skill and now is clearly quite impeccable at it. “I started freelancing in my first year and got paid 500 rupees for a 12-hour shoot and I absolutely loved it. That’s when I knew I wanted to do it full-time,” says Chinmay, a big fan of raw and intimate art. Having worked extensively as a ‘Behind-the-scenes guy’, he credits a lot of his learning to his experience of capturing what was happening behind the curtain. “As the BTS guy, I had access to each and every department which in turn taught me a lot about how things go about in the industry. It really provided me the exposure I needed and shaped my views largely,” he exclaims.
Before the pandemic hit, he made a trip to Singapore and covered travel shoots in Bhutan and Ladakh. He was also worked on the short-films that won in the best short-film category at the MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, 2018 and subsequently in 2019, and has worked on a myriad of films in varying categories that won several accolades and received immense recognition. As of now, he has a few projects – two feature films and a documentary – he is excited to get working on.
Inclining towards the arts
At Amrutam, Chinmay plays the role of a Cinematographer. Currently he is working on #AmrutamRaga which is his fourth project with Amrutam. There is a certain alacrity with which Chinmay describes his affinity towards Amrutam. When I asked him, what prompted him to work with Amrutam, he told me how he had always wanted to do a project in Gwalior and when his friend told him about Stuti Ashok Gupta and Amrutam – an ayurvedic brand based out of Gwalior, he immediately found himself inclining towards it.
“I was really spellbound with Amrutam, their vision really blew my mind. They weren’t selling an ayurvedic product, they were actually selling an experience! The first time I met Team Amrutam back in 2018, we exchanged our ideas and discussed how we wanted to tell our story. It has really been an insightful and enriching experience ever since.”
Seeking solace in solitude
In the little life I have lived as an artist, I have learned that consistency is the highest form of self-discipline. In my conversation with Chinmay, he points out how he likes the fact that he is consistent with his work along with being open to new ideas and experiences and the influx of thoughts and feelings they bring with them. While constantly trying to find the most creative angle to cover a certain piece can get a bit exhausting, at Amrutam, coming up with creative ideas is a collective effort. “It is basically telling stories while also building a community,” he says.
In his pursuit of always learning from the next thing, the next person or the experience, Chinmay also spends ample time meditating in his solitude. He has also attended a Vipassana course which, he claims, teaches us more than we could possibly fathom.
On being part of #AmrutamFamily
I ask Chinmay what was it that he learned about himself while working with Amrutam and he pauses for a brief moment. He says, “It is really difficult to manage a brand and tirelessly work towards building it. But when I look at Amrutam and see how it is constantly growing and breaking every rule of how a conventional business should appear or conduct itself, then it inspires me to keep experimenting with myself.” In other words, Amrutam is both a platform and a medium for people to connect and contribute to something larger than life. Never an imposition, always a welcome change.
“I love how Amrutam makes you feel at home. The way they are expanding and not limiting themselves to a brand but also exploring and moving to arts and the like, keeping the community in mind is really incredible! I love how raw it feels and makes everyone feel like they are part of something big.”
Chinmay is a firm believer of the idea that you cannot save the world unless you save yourself. And quite clearly, growth is what he strives for! His goal for the year is to be able to say what he thinks with utmost certainty and a dash of frankness, along with learning how to return calls to his family and friends as and when possible – a long-gone habit he is relearning to cultivate!
His message for the readers says: “You don’t realize how capable you are and what you can achieve. Working with Amrutam I have learned about the importance to diversify and explore. Don’t underestimate yourself and don’t restrict yourself. Allow yourself the freedom to explore your limited vision. Things will eventually fall in place for you!”
A brilliant artist with an eye for detail, Chinmay Samnani is truly a blessing for Team Amrutam and we are beyond grateful to have him as part of #AmrutamFamily!
More on Amrutam Contributors:
- Mrs Chandrakanta Gupta, Amrutam Founding Principal
- Maitraiye Sharma, Model at Amrutam
- Garima Manocha, Photographer at Amrutam
- Gaurav Anand, Editorial Videographer at Amrutam
- Gopi Vadsak, Editorial Photographer
- Naina Bajaria, Amrutam Youtube Channel
- Surabhi Natekar, Illustrator & Designer at Amrutam