Writer-director duo Shantanu and Sheershak are hoping to make it big

When you’re least expecting it, life can sneak up on you. For the writer-director duo, Shantanu Ray Chibber and Sheershak Anand, life snuck up, handed them lemons but they decided to make lemonade.

Writers of the films, Aa Dekhen Zara, 3G, Table 21 and Namak, the duo assert that their journey towards recognition hasn’t been easy. Their own personal story is perhaps as engaging as the stories and scripts they write. Shantanu and Sheershak have known each other since they were in standard VII. While Shantanu’s education took him to Australia where he became a professional oceanographer, Sheershak moved to Delhi to become a mathematician; both being unlikely vocations for the sprouting of movie-makers. The duo lost touch for seven years and these seven years changed a lot. Shantanu found that oceanography wasn’t exciting enough and he discovered film-making on the insistence of his opera singer girlfriend. “I joined the class to make her happy but I ended up loving it. The graduation film that I made ended up winning many prizes,” he says. Around the same time, Shantanu got an opportunity to work as a production assistant in the hit Hollywood film Matrix.

Sheershak, a film buff, left mathematics to work with corporate film-makers. “I didn’t clear MCA exams and I was wallowing in depression. My father pointed me towards corporate films and before I knew it, I fell in love,” says Sheershak.

When Shantanu made the move to India, his first instinct was to look for his ‘chaddi-buddy’, Sheershak. Over drinks and conversations, they realised that both of them took the longer path to reach their destination: films. They decided to set up their own company, ‘Men on the Moon’; why the name? “Because it has an ambitious feel to it,” laughs Sheershak. “There are things you are good at but you discover them much later in life,” says Shantanu .

‘Men on the Moon’ made more than 300 corporate films and after moving to Mumbai in 2005, Shantanu decided it was time to take the next step forward towards the big screen. Their lucky break came from Eros after they presented short one-minute teasers for their script and thus Aa Dekhen Zara was born.

The duo confess that their first love is to direct, but they are aware that in an industry that depends on networking, you need to have a portfolio and writing stories gives them that required platform. With 3G, Shantanu and Sheershak are also debuting as directors. 3G, they say is a thriller about how a cell phone begins to control a couple’s life. Table 21 with Rajeev Khandelwal and Paresh Rawal, currently being shot in Fiji is about deep dark secrets.