Meditation in the Art of Filmmaking

In conversation with Kunal Deshmukh

Having embarked on his Bollywood filmmaking career with two films, 30-year-old Kunal Deshmukh says his struggle is common to most.

In a chat with Divya Sachdev, Kunal shares how meditation helps him plan, visualize and tap into his creative energies. Meditation also eases his struggle and strengthens him. We hope it does the same to you.

Q. You believe a lot in the practice of meditation; could you share your views on this ancient practice and its benefits?
Kunal Deshmukh: I went to an Arya Samaj school. We studied the Sandhya Agnihotra, the Gayatri Mantra and various other prayers. Arya Samaj also focuses on Dharma Shiksha and yoga as regular weekly classes. Reciting these prayers, yoga and meditation became a habit over the years. Besides, my mom is an Art of Living teacher and I have done the Part 1 Course. So, after college I continued with it. It is a great way of structuring yourself. It sharpens your focus; it’s a good way to introspect. As I am in the film line, I visualize, focus and think of my day, the shots I plan to take, the problems I might face, and most importantly, the solution I am seeking. Meditation just helps me center myself on how to plan ahead and conduct myself at work, etc.

Q. Your movie Jannat has been a huge success. Being a filmmaker certainly requires some thought process and understanding each role play and character. So how do you think meditation can help you in this?
Kunal Deshmukh:
I would say that when you actually sit down to meditate, it creates a little thought bubble, whereby I can slowly drown out all the noise around and then focus on the topic I am working on – I don’t know whether I am right or wrong but meditation helps me that way.

I am deeply focused on the movie characters or color palette and through that kind of a reflective meditation, I tend to get the answers.

Q. Can you relate any particular instance where you meditated and it helped you?
Kunal Deshmukh: When you are in a high-stress job, you can use the breathing technique or meditate. Another technique (which they teach in the Part 1 Course) is to close your eyes and put your attention on the space 1 foot next to you, 5 feet next to you, and so on (aura meditation). When you wake up, you feel so much more relaxed, so fresh. It basically helps you calm down and revives you.

Q. Today meditation is becoming more popular in the film industry. Many film stars and fashion models include meditation in their daily schedule. Your thoughts?
Kunal Deshmukh:
Well, it would be hard for me to put a number on how many do it, but it works for me. The kind of pressure I face in this profession, meditation definitely helps you get answers to something or helps you calm down; it’s almost like a power break that you might need to recharge yourself. I am glad that meditation is catching the eye of the film line. It’s a line where your sleep routine and eating habits are very irregular. Meditation helps balance out these imbalances to a great deal. The discipline that meditation brings can really help any professional from a creative line.

Q: How often do you meditate Kunal?
Kunal Deshmukh:
When I feel like, I meditate, there is no particular time. Usually the early morning, but it is not a fixed routine to sit and meditate. There have been times when I have not been regular. It is like when something is bothering me and I know I have to get the answer, it’s time to meditate.

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