When Ram Subramanian, who was until very recently director and partner at Native, realized that the 'funny butterflies' no more fluttered in his stomach, he knew it was time to break the shackles of the status quo.
When quizzed on the decision, Subramanian says, "I have been putting this off for a while now. There are perks you enjoy when you are with a big production house like Nirvana but after a while, you start asking 'what next?' The work I did was good, it was recognized, life was good but that exactly was the problem. I was getting comfortable."
For the record, Subramanian ventured into full time direction with Nirvana Films in 2008. Some of the noteworthy campaigns directed by him (while at Nirvana) include Levis Curve ID, ING Spy and Chor Chase ad, Economic Times - Power of Ideas, Tata Ace, Savsol Bike, Thomas Cook and Nokia.
In fact, Subramanian ventured into advertising in 2000. His first stint was with an agency called Akshar, where he worked for about three months. After this brief stint, he moved to Trikaya Grey as a copywriter. He was then with Contract for three years and later worked at Ogilvy for four years.
Subsequently, in 2008, he entered the arena of ad-film direction with Nirvana. However, he started directing while still at Ogilvy India, with a film for Neo Sports. Full time direction began with Nirvana Films, in 2008. After spending four years with Nirvana, in June last year, he had joined Native to partner with Prithvi Luthra. The partnership seems to have been short lived.
Apparently, with Handloom Picture Company, Subramanian knew that he could go back to the 'high' feeling of being a 'director-and-owner-of-a-company'.
"I have created brands for others for a while now and I wanted to create a brand of my own," he says.
To begin with, Handloom will take up one project at a time, with an attempt to work on varied genres.
So, quite like the name, will the projects be only India-centric?
Not really. For Subramanian, the name 'Handloom Picture Company' is inspired by his family history. "I am a weaver by lineage so the name Handloom became obvious to me some time ago. Handloom Picture Company will remain open to international projects but yes, even then, the focus would be on those brands which are looking to tap the Indian market," he says.
Does Handloom have any clients on board? While the production house has already begun working on its first project which has Saif Ali Khan as its brand ambassador, Subramanian does not wish to name the client for now.
It is a general belief that a script comes to a director and not the production house, and Subramanian agrees. "It's this that runs the advertising filmmaking business in India. I have been a writer in an agency (Trikaya Grey, Contract and Ogilvy) and I did quite a lot of films back then. Every time I wrote a script, the thought in my head was 'Oh, I am getting to do a film - now which director will rock my script?' not 'Which production house will rock my script?'"
For now, Handloom will be a four-member team and eventually is expected to grow to seven by the end of 2013.