He was born in his mother’s tiny old Delhi home on September 25, 1950. His parents belonged to a lower middle class, orthodox, conservative family of Uttar Pradesh. As per family traditions, first thing his family did was to get his ‘birth-chart’ prepared by a trusted astrologer.
1. Mrs. Jayanti Sharma, my biological grandmother
2. Pt. Devidas Sharma, my grandfather
3. Mrs. Lilavati Sharma, my grandmother
4. Mr. Prem Sagar Sharma, my father
5. Mrs. Shakuntala Sharma, my mother
Even as a child he felt deeply connected with movies. Perhaps because they seemed totally out of reach for him, in another world. To feel closer to the movie world, he would always be singing film songs with full expressions and enviously watching film posters. Some how in 1969, after finishing college he appeared for a written test for admission in the Film Institute of India – ‘just for fun’. But soon he found out that his ‘just for fun’ decision was turning into a very serious business, which he had never expected in wildest of his dreams. It seems out of thousands of candidates in India, he did well enough to be called for an interview to the film institute at Poona. His father not being very hopeful about result of the interview, had told him, “after the interview see around Bombay, then only return home. People rarely get chances to see that city.” The host family showed him around for two days and then dropped him at Dadar station for a train to Poona.
But Poona held much bigger a shock for him than getting that interview call earlier. His plans to return back home soon, turned totally topsy-turvy – as he saw his name was placed third in the merit list of 10 successful candidates! Instantly he was faced with the most complicated situation and the worst dilemma of his life. Even though he was just 18, he was a very bold person! Yet to take such a life altering decision all by himself was a different ball game altogether! More so because he had to decide; ‘yes or no’. And there was only ‘one take’. Well, after a few minutes of intense mental upheavals and figuring pros and cons; he was ready with a decision; jump in. At that moment deciding to join the ‘sound recording and sound engineering’ course at the film institute, seemed more logical conclusion than returning home!
My ‘Sound Recording’ course got over in the end of April, 1972. The very next day after the formalities of final semester were done with; I vacated the hostel, packed my bag and landed in Bombay. It was 3rd of May. Here too, in a true ‘filmy style’; I was faced with a horrifying situation of spending my first night on a footpath, in the mega city. I had not thought about arranging an accommodation for me. How convenient! My friend Arun Chakravarty had got an accommodation in an Andheri lodge, where I parked my bag. I myself could not stay in the room after 9 pm, as the owner would not allow any outsider to remain in. So, I had to get out and start walking up and down… to kill time. How much ‘time’ would that be, I had no idea. Mentally I was prepared to spend the night, in the open… In a while I sat down on a bench. I don’t think I must have thought about eating. There were bigger situation to be handled. I was visualizing a cop to appear, question me harshly, as to what was I doing there so late, or he might even threaten me to go home or just get lost…
It was past 11 pm and most of lodge lights were off. My eyes were glued to the lodge gate, that held all the comfort and security behind it. Suddenly I saw a figure at the gate. My friend, gingerly opened the shutter of the lodge, he gestured me to come. Very quietly he sneaked me into his room… and… very narrowly I escaped the adventure of sleeping on a cement bench at Lallu Bhai Park, Andheri. Next day, on May 4, my other friends found a large room for me at Arab Bunglaow, Khetwadi Main Road (Girgaon). I had been allotted a bed out of four in the room. Best part was other 3 beds also were occupied by my Film Institute friends… I would stay here for the next 5 years and would become very close friends of the land-lord Jayant Patel and his entire family.
In a few days I found myself working as a recording assistant in a number of movies. Soon I was working not only with the stars, I admired from a distance, but also became a part of their team! Within year and a half I had bid good-bye to assisting. In Oct 1973, Navketan gave me a break as a ‘sound recordist’. The film was, ‘Ishk Ishk Ishk’, a musical, to be shot in Nepal entirely.
By 1985, in just 12 years, I had completed nearly 25 feature films.
Later I got into documentaries and did ‘recording’ for many established documentary makers. I got experience of working as production manager, did some writing, also produced and directed a few educational documentaries.
This is me, Arunoday Sharma, born Sep 25, 1950, Delhi. Formally, a Diploma Holder and Gold Medalist in the course of ‘Sound Recording and Sound Engineering’; from Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, batch of 1972. Earlier I was trying my hand on B. Sc. (pure science) from Gorakhpur university. Residing at Seven Bungalows, Andheri West, Mumbai 400053.
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