When Priyanka Chopra told director Karan Gulianii the whole canvas is yours

Writer, actor, and director Karan Gulianii, who has directed movies like Amrinder Gill, Ranjit Bawa-starrer Savann, which was produced under Priyanka Chopra’s banner, and Amritsar Chandigarh Amritsar, starring Gippy Grewal and Sargun Mehta, says writing is his way of expressing himself and giving words to his thoughts. 

He said, “For me, writing is nourishment for the heart and soul. It allows me to express myself and articulate my thoughts. As both an actor and a director, writing enhances my understanding of situations, enabling me to relate to them in three dimensions. When I am not on set directing, I am often immersed in stories. I love interacting with new people and learning their perspectives on life, as it enriches my creative process in numerous ways.” 

He has written 17–20 stories, all with compelling content, and is currently working on a few films. He added, “My focus is on presenting a cult film to my viewers.”

Karan, who was nominated for Best Debut Director for Sarvann at the Filmfare Awards, was born in Delhi and grew up in many cities due to his father’s transferable job. He left his graduation in the second year and started his journey in the industry. He had worked as a child artist at the age of 11, and it left him eager to pursue his career rather than wait to finish his final year of studies.

Though he has been a part of numerous telefilms and TV shows for DD and other channels, he was not happy with the trajectory of his acting career. He added, “In my quest for answers, I discovered my true passion lay in the technical aspects of the industry. While working as an assistant on sets, I absorbed every minor detail about the technical side of filmmaking. My turning point came when a guiding angel offered me the opportunity to come to Mumbai and try my luck in the tinsel town.” 

His journey began when he signed his most ambitious film with a big studio and envisioned Priyanka Chopra as the protagonist. Though the superstar loved the script and was keen to be part of the project, she did not have any available dates for the next 18 months. Karan then grabbed the opportunity to narrate another subject for her to produce under her label, Purple Pebble Pictures.

“She expressed a desire to create a film that delved into the roots of Punjabis, leading to the making of my debut film, Sarvann, which came to fruition after our first narration,” he said.

Talking about his experience working with her, Karan said, “I don’t say this just because she is a mega and now an international star, but I genuinely feel fortunate and blessed to have made my debut with Priyanka Chopra as the producer. Anyone who knows Priyanka knows she is an incredible human being. Initially, I was apprehensive, fearing that her mega-star status might lead to her dominating the filmmaking process. However, the moment I signed the film, she sat with me, listened to the narration again, and reassured everyone by saying she loved my vision.” 

“She instructed the team not to question my decisions related to the film’s making process. I still remember her words: ‘Karan, the whole canvas is yours. Paint well and the way you want. I have full faith in you.’,” he added.

Did you face any struggles initially? “Like everyone, I went through my share of struggles and continue to face challenges. However, my struggle has always been to improve and do better work. God has always been kind to me, but my ongoing struggle is to create unique and different stories. I believe that if I simply do what everyone else is doing, I am not justifying my time and creativity.”

Entertainment Desk
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