Tag Archives: Politics

Directorial Debut: Kids Read Sexist Comments #DontGrowUp #BigShorts #IndiaToday #YFilms

As the Head of Development of Y-Films, the youth wing of Yash Raj Films, my core job is developing films, web series and TVCs and then creative producing them and releasing them too. It’s an end-to-end job from idea to development to production to promotion and release.

I have creative produced four webseries for Y-Films so far: Man’s World, Bang Baaja Baaraat, Ladies Room and Sex Chat with Pappu and Papa. I’ve also creative produced the inception and music videos of India’s first transgender band, The 6-Pack Band and creative executive produced the film, Bank Chor, on which I did the marketing.

Recently, I directed a short film for India Today produced by Y-Films on a subject close to my hearts: Don’t Label. Check it out below 🙂


Y-Films, the team that loves pushing big boundaries, be it for the cause of gender equality (Man’s World), transgender equality (the Cannes’ Lion Grand Prix winner 6-Pack Band), feminism (Ladies Room), sex education (Sex Chat with Pappu and Papa), or, umm, weddings (Bang Baaja Baaraat), makes a li’l film that’ll pull your heartstrings.

What happens when kids are asked their views on sexist things adults say? In an adult world, where labels matter more than people; that judges and discriminates on the basis of gender.. can kids save the day?

The short film, produced by Y-Films for India Today, was launched at the recent India Today Women’s Summit under the #BigShorts umbrella. It is part of a series of commissioned ‘big short’ videos with some of the best filmmakers of the country including Imtiaz Ali, Meghna Gulzar, Hansal Mehta, Rohan Sippy and Pradeep Sarkar last year besides Tigmanshu Dhulia, Ram Madhvani, Nandita Das and Sudhir Mishra this year.

Directed by: Nikhil Taneja
Produced by: Ashish Patil
DOP: Sakshi Gurnani
Creative Exec. Producer: Raunaq Bajaj
Executive Producer: Mohit Kilam
Music & Sound: Kingshuk Chakravarty
Line Production: Taxi Films
Editor: Dorin Mehta
Post Production Supervisor: Kashish Arora
GFX: Pankaj Parmar
Assistant Director: Iresh Gupta

Featuring the awesome (in order of appearance): Vivaan Lahiri, Joanne Chang, Mandhir Singh Machre, Saashi Kumar, Khyati Pareek, Sharvil Deshmukh, Sonam Shakya, Kabir Sajid Shaikh, Soham Jadhav, Mishti Khona, Aashi Yadav, Avinash Balakrishnan, Sharvari Kashid, Satveek Das, Tirth Joisher, Prithviraj Sarnaik, Khush Rathod, Aryan Dasar, Jasleen Singh, Charvi Shah, Geet Jain, Harsh Maru, Vionee Shah and Jinay Shah.

Hi-fives to: The Wonderful Parents, Shanoo Sharma, The Salaam Bombay Foundation, Shirin Shaikh, Mehuli Lahiri and Ambika Singh.


On political labels: Stop it already! #Opinion #HuffingtonPost

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor Huffington Post. An edited version of the piece can be found here: https://goo.gl/zWT2a9

I just read an article about how the person of the year in India is the ‘Bhakt’. You obviously know that the ‘Bhakt’ they refer to is any supporter of Narendra Modi or his policies, be it someone who casually believes PM Modi is right about a thing (eg. Demonitization) or that he is right about everything (e.g. 2002).

Now let me make it clear at the outset: I am not a political person and don’t skew either right or left, I prefer to stay centered, and measure every political decision on merit. So the reason I write this is not so much that I’m in love with Modi but that I find us to be in a tricky time in our history where somehow everything needs to be labeled either one extreme or the other… and I find that to be a dangerous trend.

So you are either a Bhakt or a Libtard.. you can’t be a person who can be both pro-Demonitization for any reason whatsoever and yet have issues with other government policies. You are either an AAPtard or a Sanghi.. you can’t be a person who both finds Arvind Kejriwal’s work admirable but has an issue with his outbursts. You are either a Patriot or Anti-National.. you can’t be a person who both loves his/her country dearly but finds it strange that he/she has to prove it in a movie theater.

And these labels aren’t exclusive to India. You can either shut up about equal rights or be called a Feminazi, you are either Islamophobic or you are a true American, you are either white or you are an immigrant.. you are either a Hilary supporter or a racist. Yes, the pendulum swings both ways.

There is just no room left in the discourse for a ‘middle’.. in fact, the truth is that there is no room left for discourse. Everyone so easily labels each other with such broad strokes today that if it weren’t so casual, it would be horrifying. There is no empathy, no reasoning, no attempt to understand the other side.. and no other side for all practical purpose. It’s my way… or the wrong way. Either you think like my friends and me, or you’re dumb, illiterate, clueless or a troll.

Why are we reducing complex human beings to labels with such knee-jerk? Why does any one opinion become greater than the sum of the entire humanity of a person? Why are we getting so emotional that we are dismissing the emotions of real human beings (and not just user IDs) who may well have the same value system but simply a different perspective?

The memes may be hilarious, the gifs may make us laugh out loud, but when we constantly put down people because we can’t fathom their humanity from the high horses we sit on.. those people are bound to react in ways we may not see coming. The Alt Right is a child of this attitude, Trump won because we didn’t even consider his supporters as real people (just ‘trolls’), and everything that’s happening in Europe suggests that if we don’t start mending our mind sets, the worst is yet to come.

I don’t mean to sound preachy but the simple solution is empathy. Here’s what I staunchly believe in: Maybe instead of labelling people, we can start understanding them. Instead of dismissing the opinions of the other side, we can start engaging with it. Instead of calling everyone with a contradictory view a ‘troll’, we can start a discourse. The truth is, people are always only just a few well-meaning conversations away from broadening their perspectives, but for that, we need to first stop judging them with labels.

Yes, it won’t be easy; yes, not everyone wants to discuss or debate; and yes, some people will never change their hard-line stances… but we have seen what labels have accomplished so far, perhaps it’s time to try out empathy.

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Note: This interview first appeared in Huffington Post on December 13, 2016.
Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.in/nikhil-taneja-/the-humanity-of-bhakts-and-libtards_a_21625564/
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.