After completing a degree in engineering only because he came from a family of engineers, when Harsh Warrdhan left Nagpur, India, for Los Angeles to study filmmaking, he was expected to win awards and recognition. Instead he came back with life experiences…or so he has been saying. In reality, the switch to artistic pursuit was just a sneaky move; Columbia College in Hollywood was the only college which would have him. It was the only way he could land in America. And going to America was his solution for everything. Forgive him for, he was only 20 at the time. And naive.
They said one has to make something related to films to be a filmmaker, just the long curly hair and the customary crusty beard was not enough. By the time he added ‘experimenting with substances’ to his ‘artist prerequisite’ arsenal, those were looked down upon. Ha! The world had changed. Still spending unhealthy amount of time and energy towards his out-of-control hair (read: receding) and with nothing to show for years, Harsh had to do something. Once he realised that referring to oneself in third person doesn’t make them important, is down right narcissistic, and is not enough to land work, he really had to get out and search.
Stubborn, as he is, he couldn’t shake off speaking in third person, but he did take up writing. It was a strategic career move. Okay, it was the cheapest! Of course, no one told him that screenwriting is the least glamorous of them all. On sets, they let security guards eat before the writers. And that is if you were a good writer. He tried to become a security guard in order to at least move up a notch in the ‘who eats first’ hierarchy, but he did not qualify due to what can only be described as an embarrassing physique at the time. It has only gotten worse since.
Thank god, the universe took up the reigns to his destiny maybe because he kept screwing up his journey. Unbeknownst to him, the worldly exposure, the appreciation of diverse cultures, the eclectic interactions with young dreamers in America/Hollywood made him a colourful writer. And we all know that the writers without colourful experiences are boring. At least that’s the perception and the game is all about perception.
And the perceptions were stacked against him. When he was in Hollywood, they said he has an Indian accent (least attractive, most funny), now that he is back in Bollywood after 14 years, people complain that he doesn’t have an American accent….how can it be? they say. In Bollywood, even if you go to the international airport to drop off guests, you’re expected to come back with an accent. But perseverance thankfully, uh persevered, and Harsh has managed to write and direct an American film, has written some crap for TV, and has more or less stayed off the streets. Accents be damned, his first novel ‘When Hari Met His Saali’, became a best seller and he is awaiting the release of the film “#MeToo’ which he wrote & directed. He is dating the lady luck these days, she hasn’t smiled at him yet but he’s hoping she will, before she dumps him forever. She owes him that much.