We all know what a sensation “The Great Indian Film and Literature Festival” has become in the last few years. Not just because there are numerous national and international legendary celebrities come and share their thoughts at this event. But, also because it has become a huge platform for the young talent of our country to come out and get the perfect exposure to showcase themselves in front of such a galaxy of intellectuals. It is witnessed by all that how amazing the whole concept of GIFLIF is. But, not everyone knows the story behind the foundation of GIFLIF. And to know in-depth about the whole story behind it, we met Mr Karan Kukreja who is the man behind this big and successful film festival.
Karan is founder of the White Walls media, which is the company that organizes the GIFLIF. But he was not an entrepreneur from the beginning. He is an engineer, has served ONGC for 2 years and then came a point in his life when he thought that it’s the time to pursue his dreams.
Karan completed his engineering from IIT Roorkee. Well, being an IITian is enough to speak how bright and active your mind is. After his graduation, he went to work in ONGC. Karan had already achieved the two most desirable things in an engineers life that is being in IIT and then serving a PSU like ONGC. But, he says he is one of those who were never made to be restricted into a fixed time job. In his conversation with us, he said that he used to question himself quite often that what actually is he doing? He was working in a great company, he was earning a healthy salary and yet he used to ask himself that what exactly is he doing with his life? He always knew that he is made for something bigger than this and that led him to resign from his job and start something of his own. He left ONGC and when we asked him that if it was a really tough decision to make, he simply answered that he never considered it to be a big deal. Well, of course, not everyone has the courage to make such bold decisions.
After he left ONGC, his new journey started from there. Karan decided to launch his own media firm. He said that in college he got some hands-on experience with a digital camera and some video editing. And with that knowledge, he started his own company called White Walls Media. Well, launching a company is not a problem but bringing in clients is surely one. And with that, Karan struggled for some time. He used to go for pitching his idea to various companies in order to get an opportunity to create an advertisement for them. And even after a number of pitches he delivered, he failed to get those brands all the time because they always wanted the relevant experience. But there is a thing about failure, that it’s not permanent. And after a long wait, Karan finally got his first-ever corporate advertisement contract. And that was the point where White Walls media actually took off. Sooner in the next few years, White Walls Media successfully produced more than 3000 corporate films and ads.
Sooner he started getting more and more of work including work for events as well. And with that idea, something struck his mind and made him realize that he wants to start an event of his own. He did research about all the requirements for organizing their own film festival and went to know in-depth about other successful events of the same type. With all the plans and facts checked, he launched the website of GIFLIF on August 2014 with all hopes alive that he’ll organize the event in December 2014. And when the time came, the event wasn’t ready. He shifted it to June 2015 and the result was the same. He realised that it wasn’t possible to manage the whole huge concept of GIFLIF along with all the regular projects that he had. Because this project was so big, it needed all of his time and efforts. He decided to give up all the other things that he had and cleared his schedule until December 2015. So, after all the time and efforts, the first-ever GIFLIF by the name of Gurgaon International Film and Literature Festival happened and the name was this because they started it all in Gurgaon.
The event was a grand success and the feeling of finally concluding the event that he always dreamt of gave him the satisfaction he was looking for a long time. He said that he said to himself that “you tried being a director, musician and writer but this is what you are made for. You are good in showcasing all these on a stage”.
He decided to make this thing even bigger and wanted to organize the event in his hometown Bhopal. But how “Gurgaon” International Film and Literature Festival can happen in Bhopal? So in order to make it something more global, he changed the name to the Great Indian Film and Literature Festival and this is where GIFLIF was born. GIFLIF is India’s most successful and biggest film festival which was started by Karan in 2014 in Gurgaon now has successfully made their marks in Bhopal, Raipur, Jaipur and many other big cities and they are working to make it go international soon. So, we all know the bigger picture which appears to us. But the story behind every grand happening is always consist of many sacrifices and so much of hard work just the way Karan did it.
In our conservation with Karan we had a few highlights which we feel are a must-read for our young readers with aspirations and passion in them:
Did you ever at any point doubted yourself or felt lost during this journey? If yes then how did you get ahead of that point?
Yes, there was a time when I wasn’t able to understand that how can I actually make this event bigger and make it of national level. But there is one person I always go to when I’m lost. He is my father. I told him about all the problems that I had when I wasn’t able to figure things out. He simply asked one thing to me “Do you Love what you are doing?” I said yes. Then he said that I’m not alone in this and he will figure this out with me and he called be back to Bhopal from Gurgaon and helped me out. I spent the next 6 months with him to understand how things work and with his support I was able to bring International legendary writers like Ruskin Bond and national legendary artists like Piyush Mishra, Gulzar Sahab and Rajat Kapoor all at a single stage and that was in my hometown Bhopal.
What in your opinion can be called success?
See, this is something that is different for everyone. But I don’t think that being able to afford financial luxuries or having a job with huge package or a business that earns in millions is success. For someone, being an architect is success, for someone earning in millions is success and it’s different for everyone. For me, it’s me being able to do what I love. I love the feeling of being able to do what I wanted to do in my life.
You are in event business. From last few months, things aren’t right because of Covid-19 pandemic. Tourism and Event industry are the most affected by this so how are you dealing with it?
Honestly, I don’t really take too much pressure for these things. Because there is nothing certain about when things will be alright. But I will look for a few more months and if things aren’t really looking like being ok then we will start planning on doing things that are possible with the available opportunities.
We believe Karan’s story and his perspective towards the world will help you to take your next step towards things you really want to do in your life.