So You Want To Make An Indie Film

Mere Haule Dost

To make an indie film requires stamina, dedication and above all else passion. The road towards getting your film seen by a sizeable audience is long and paved with numerous pit falls, so without possessing these three traits, the dream can end before it has even begun.

Making a film, without any major financial backing, without being assisted by a production company and without the luxury of a film distributer, leaves the door open to a quagmire of problems. However, making an indie film can be one of the most rewarding experiences; the fruits of your labour can be sweet and the satisfaction can be immense.

Going back to that key component – passion – this is what has driven many film makers throughout the years, from Stanley Kubrick to Martin Scorsese, those that dedicate their life in the pursuit of creativity; one such couple who have this in spades is the husband and wife team Nitin Raghunath and Pramida Posanipalli. They are in the process of launching a film which is already garnering a lot of outside interest – Mere Haule Dost.

We talked to Nitin and Rramida to find out what it takes to make an indie film.

Do You Have A Rich Uncle?

Yes, to make a film you need money, because your actors and crew won’t work for free. There are many avenues to explore in terms of funding, from kindly investors to arts bodies. Before embarking on their journey to Hyderabad, India, Nitin and Pramida had saved money for 8 years to fund their project, with Indian investors reluctant to fund small projects and government funding for the arts lacking, this is without doubt the best avenue to go down. However the kindness of relatives is something you can always consider, you still need to sell your idea as much as possible, but the likely hood of filling your coffers will increase exponentially.

Aside from compassionate and understanding relatives, don’t forget that there is also a wealth of digital sources, where you can appeal to generous individuals. The two websites and have proved a God send to many emerging film makers, desperate to get some much needed funding, however, for those based in India, it can be a little tough to achieve a significant amount of money.

 Beg, Borrow or Steal

Shooting equipment, the essential components of making your film, if you’re on a low budget, you can’t afford the best or can you? There are many ways you can get the equipment you need, you just have to become a good self-marketer and part raconteur. Through some cerebral planning you can approach various stores and companies, who will happily lend you some equipment, if their names and logos can appear somewhere in the film. It’s all a matter of approaching in the right way and again selling yourself.

Location, Location, Location

The task of finding a location to film sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, think again, finding the perfect location, free from hassle is like finding a needle in a haystack. Firstly, if you’re filming outdoors you need to obtain permission from city authorities. For the filming of Mere Haule Dost, Nitin and Pramida not only needed the permission of the authorities, but had to engage in a cat and mouse game with the Hyderabad police force. With Hyderabad being a historic film city, the police have become well versed in procuring bribes from filmmakers. This aside, the weather can throw up its own problems, Nitin and Pramida had numerous moments where the Gods were not smiling down on them. Overall, the location situation is one that has no easy answers.

Hair, Makeup And Other Frills

You may think that hair and makeup are superfluous ingredients to making a film, but nothing could be further from the truth. Whether you making a grand fantasy or a film based on gritty reality, hair and makeup are the keys to creating authenticity. However, being on a low budget means you can’t afford the somewhat extortionate prices of hairdressers and makeup artists, so your only option here is to raid the dressing tables of female friends and relatives, and take a crash course in hair and makeup design.

Where Is The Damn AD

Your crew are the most important people on a project such as this, even more so than the actors themselves, for it is they who are instrumental in creating the magic moments of filming, those occasions when something goes just as you wanted, and more so. Finding a good crew can be tough; it’s all a matter of knowing who the right man for the job is. For Nitin and Pramida, they were blessed in finding the right people, with the majority being long time friends. If and when you do find the right crew, then it’s simply a matter of everyone being on the same page, with each possessing the same passion as you do.

Finding good actors too can be a mammoth task, with actors themselves having the same amount of passion for this business as you do, you don’t have to worry on that score. But finding actors who are willing to work for little or no pay can prove a hurdle. As I have mentioned before, you need to sell the idea, making sure you get the message across that your film will be a success, and it is worth their while.

And It’s A Wrap

Finally, when you have made that journey from idea to finished product, don’t forget to submit your film to as many film festivals as possible; these are the ideal platforms to gage what the wider public will make of your work.

And There You Have It. These are just a few of the situations you will experience when making an indie film; some are simple things to work through, others not so. Whatever you come up against, it’s all a matter of persistence and keeping that passion alive, only then will you achieve success.

You can find more about Mere Haule Dost at Are you making an indie film? If so, we would love to hear from you. Drop us a line at

Photo: Courtesy of Nitin Raghunath/Pramida Posanipalli

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