#430 Rohan Rao and his photography

By Faces of Rajkot, February 18, 2021

A solitary snap on the camera snapped open so many doors of fortune for me. The excursion that had begun as a pastime has presently transformed into a wonderful and engrossing vocation. Having a bustling medical environment in the house, my dad is a celebrated orthopaedic surgeon in Rajkot, I was expected to follow in those footsteps. As destiny had it, I had other destinations. My interest was not science or medicine but a far-flung art domain. Yet, my parents gave me the freedom and fortitude to pursue the career I wanted. There are a lot of things where you can see the fear that is pervasive in our culture, is gradually melting, evaporating!


I graduated from the famous St Xavier’s College, Mumbai with English literature. The Xavier’s, Mumbai gave the stimulus, the ignition to develop this hobby of taking pictures which led me to attain Masters in fine arts in the sub-section of Social Documentary Film Making from the reputed School of Visual Arts, New York. One thing prompted the other and I continued adding quills to my crown, brilliant plumes.

I was always magnetically attracted and fascinated by the vivid and exhilarating camera work displaying vibrant nature on National Geographic channels. Now, I can proudly claim I have done some of those exquisite series as an assistant editor. This production house in New York has achieved quite an acclaim of academic awards for its films and wildlife series. Kenneth Anger rightly said, “Making a movie is casting a spell” and I want to create a magical world by keep casting this spell.


Under the Academy Award honoured filmmaker, my recent project is a movie based on an artist from a distant town of Kutch going to America. This is somewhat of a story that touches the hearts of millions. Consistently individuals from the working class would have a fantasy to travel to another country and make fortune. Something comparative I have attempted to make to interface with commoners of provincial and local India through this film. This will be my independent free work. That, yet I am likewise the solitary Rajkotian to be respected by the Paula Rhodes Memorial Award given by the School of Visual Arts in 2020 for Exceptional Achievement in Documentary Film. For consecutive 2 years, 2019 and 2020, my movies made an official entry for America’s biggest documentary film festival in New York. 2020 was the movie “Viseltear Violins” and in 2019 it was the movie “Drive”. I also received the famous SocDoc Thesis Grant from the School of Visual Arts for making a documentary which is an achievement.


In 2017, I had an Internship at NDTV Goodtimes, Mumbai. In the same year, my photographs were published in The National Herald Film. If I look back, my journey began in 2014 merely as an amateur photographer of the Xavier’s Photography Club. Furthermore, in one year’s time, I stashed almost 80 documentaries as a Camera Assistant for the famous production house ADJB Productions Private Limited in New Delhi.


I had a stint in Prague Film School during its summer school which honed my skills. The recent feather in the cap being awarded the membership of the International Documentary Association.


I’m not including my accomplishments before you just to flaunt yet through this, I need to pass a message to Rajkot and my country that you don’t need to follow somebody’s footprints does not matter how great they are, but the real adventure is in to create your own footprints and make others follow them. You need not go and study overseas to do that but whatever you do should have a unique impression.