conversation with Shubham Yogi

In conversation with Shubham Yogi: From practicing law to making movies

Lawyer-turned-film director, Shubham Yogi shares his inspiring journey that has more downs than ups, but a happy ending nevertheless.

Growing up, scoring good grades was our only mission. It’s a different thing most of us failed to get straight A’s that our parents wanted to see on a regular basis. But we managed to find our way to college where the same mission to excel—only more difficult and critical this time—was waiting for us. When we passed this test and landed the job our parents were eagerly waiting for, it was time to get married.

Every turn, every detour of our journey had been planned well in advance so that there wasn’t any room for failure. And where there are no failures, there are no dreams. Most of us dare to see a dream, when we are already crunching numbers, coding or making client calls from our work desk. By then you have a devil of insecurity and comfort sitting on your shoulder that keeps whispering “forget about what you want to do, and focus on what you have”. Some listen to the devil and get busy in their careers, while others gather enough courage to drop everything and start chasing their dreams.

Shubham Yogi was a lawyer before he became a director in the film industry. The switch between these two is a leap only a few can dare to take. But Yogi took it, from a well-paying job that promised comfort and convenience to the world of cinema where success never comes easy. The risks paid off, and today Shubham has many films on his resume, from short films like Uninvited, and Glitch to blockbusters such as Barfi and Jagga Jasoos.

Success didn’t come easily to Yogi, but he had his passion and dedication to help him. In conversation with Soulveda, Yogi shares his journey that has more downs than ups but a happy ending nevertheless.

I absorbed all I could from the online courses, watched a lot of movies to learn the nuances, technicalities, and understand the subject.

You were practicing law before directing movies in the film industry. What inspired you to carve this new path?

Practising law was not my dream, but I chose to pursue it anyway. However, something always felt amiss. So after working for a law firm for some time, I quit. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I couldn’t wait to tell the stories I had been writing for years. Initially, I learned everything about filmmaking online. Once I moved to Mumbai, I worked for a few shows on Doordarshan and also on a then-popular TV channel, Star One, under a producer for some time. The stipend received was little, but the struggle was definitely worth it.

Do you feel educational background matters in the quest to find success in life? You didn’t study filmmaking, was it a hindrance?

Education is important for everyone, however, what you study doesn’t necessarily have to be related to what you end up doing professionally. While I wanted to join a film school after moving to Mumbai, I didn’t. Instead, I studied the old syllabi available on the internet. I absorbed all I could from the online courses, watched a lot of movies to learn the nuances, technicalities, and understand the subject. I learned about filmmaking from wherever I could.

I believe, if you have dedication, you can learn anything. And knowledge is something that can be acquired from anywhere, not just from schools or colleges. We just need to get our hands dirty, immerse ourselves into what drives us, to really learn.

Do you believe writing scripts and making movies are your true calling? How do you intend to use this calling to bring a difference?

I started writing at a young age. As I kept writing, I decided to share my stories with the world. I believe in telling stories that invoke thought.

True calling, I feel, is what keeps you up at night, something that doesn’t let you settle, and motivates you to work towards your goal every single day. I never want to stop telling stories. However, I am yet to figure out whether my true calling is writing or directing. I enjoy them both equally. I guess I am lucky to have two such options to even pick from. But, even if I never discover what my one true calling is, I will continue to write and direct thought-provoking stories that may tickle your funny bone or inspire you to question the rules of society.

Wherever you are, never be afraid of making deeper connections and relationships. This philosophy has helped me reach where I am today.

While switching careers, there must have been days when you second-guessed your decision. What kept you going? Was there someone or something from which you drew strength?

There were days and weeks when I used to second-guess my decision over and over again. Choosing to do something with no formal education and training, and moving to a new city for your dreams—in hindsight, both of these decisions were challenging, but they also helped me become who I am today. But in my early days, with no job in hand and not a single penny in the bank account, I often considered moving back home. In moments like these, I would question my fear—was it the fear of not having enough money or the fear of not being able to live my dream? The answer was clear, my fear of not living the dream was far greater than being penniless for some time.

My profession of choice doesn’t guarantee a stable monthly salary, and that is something I learned to be okay with. I had to be. It was tough to explain to my parents why I wanted to let go of a stable income and tread on this path of uncertainty. Eventually, they agreed. So, I just went ahead with it. Though it has been 10 years, it is still just the beginning for me. I do not want to stop, because I know if I stop, it could actually be the end of the road.

What was it like to leave your comfort zone behind?

Being able to step out of your ‘comfort zone’ requires a lot of mental strength. For me, it was essential for my growth to keep experimenting with myself and my craft, to do something that I truly believe in. In fact, I believe sometimes it is easier to step out of your comfort zone and be yourself, but it takes courage to stay in the comfort zone that binds you.

Share with us a few life lessons you learned from your experience that helped you in this journey.

Wherever you are, never be afraid of making deeper connections and relationships. This philosophy has helped me reach where I am today. Though money is important, that too is secondary. The happiness and the satisfaction that come from fulfilling your dreams are what matter the most.

Meet people, spend time with those you love and admire. Make real connections—in them, you will find stories and inspiration. It will not only help you grow but also give you a support system in times of need. Following your dream can be scary, you will need people to support you and understand your struggles.

  • Shubham Yogi was a lawyer before he became a director in the film industry. In the start of his film career, Shubham was an assistant director for Bollywood movies like Barfi and Jagga Jassos. Today, he is the writer and director of award winning short films like Uninvited, and Glitch.




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