Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

News & Gossip

Tejash Shah of Accord Equips on their journey of 25 years with the film industry

I feel a company is successful only if the team and the industry associated with it also grows, says Tejash Shah of Accord Equips which is 25 Years old & Still kicking!

Published

on

tejash-shah-accord-equips
Tejash Shah of Accord Equips

By Jyothi Venkatesh

I had a chance to meet with Tejash Shah Owner of Accord Equips. Believe it or not, starting with just a two-member team, today Accord has emerged as India’s topmost camera Equipment Rental Company with a team of over 100 and offices in Mumbai & Pune. It is no wonder, as Tejash Shah always had the business acumen that Gujaratis have. As industry professionals, we have known each other for years. There isn’t much change in Tejash except his greying hair. During the course of our conversation, Tejash mentioned that Accord had completed 25 years and I realized that time has flown. Also, the Film and TV industry has seen many changes since the year 2000. While we settled down for a conversation exclusively for Cine Blitz, I gleaned a perspective from Tejash about his journey in 25 years.

What changes have you observed in the film industry over the last 25 years?

The industry is no longer considered untouchable. Earlier as an industry, this place was shunned. Today it has become a viable as well as a visible place for seeking work and employment. The industry has gotten younger. Today more and more younger people are getting attached as well as attracted to the industry.

To give some literal timelines, the digital video revolution began broadly in 2000. Till then life was simple. Movies were shot on film cameras and TV serials were shot on tape. It was around 2010 that DSLRs made shooting digitally viable. It’s 2020 now and everything is digital. The digital revolution and the growth of YouTube have both gone hand in hand. YouTube has opened doors to anyone who could create content and digital cameras made it easy to create content.

Earlier most creative people were defined in two buckets. Either he or she was a filmmaker or a TV producer. Today everyone is a content creator. This is because we create content for theatres, TV channels, and OTTs like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar YouTube, etc. There are producers who make content only for training, teaching, promotions, etc.

Also read: Veteran actor Vikram Gokhale passes away in Pune

Why did you start Accord Equips?

As a small boy, I used to go for film shoots. My father, Late Shri G N Shah was a very well-known financial advisor for big films like DHARAM VEER, AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY, etc. while I loved filmmaking, I couldn’t understand why it takes so much time for lighting, rehearsing shots, retakes, etc. Sitting around, I always felt there had to be ways to make this tedious process quicker. Time flew, I finished my engineering, and I decided on my career move, as and when the digital revolution for filmmaking arrived in India. I remembered my childhood dream of making content creation simpler. That was my first step in creating Accord Equips. 25 years back, we started the digital camera revolution in India.

G N Shah with MKD Pran

Whets are the inherent challenges of the business?

Too much choice is never a good thing. Today just like students are confused about which career stream to take, we are often at sea as to what should be our next investment. Earlier we had to choose from 3 or 4 choices to bring a new idea of technology, but now we have to choose from 10 or 12 choices to do the same. Earlier equipment life was 10 years now it’s about 3 years. So, the chance of failure has gone up and the time for return on investment has also likewise gone down!

Taking into consideration these challenges, what has been the philosophy of Accord Equips as far as its growth over the years?

It’s a simple philosophy. We choose to grow in only areas that we understand. Besides giving equipment on hire we also do the production. Which is sort of forward integration. We also started Live Streaming services a few years back as we realized the power of the internet. This was also forward integration. You need camera equipment for Live Streaming, so it was a sort of forward integration again. Today, we are the only company in the industry providing Video Production and Live Streaming Services to start with. We added a studio for shooting on our premises. For filmmakers, this is a huge advantage as the equipment required like camera, lights, sound, etc for the shoot all are available under the same roof. So, we have used simple logical ideas to keep the company growing and continuing to be relevant. In the nutshell, we do what we understand and leave the rest to our competitors.

G N Shah Kamal Haasan

Also read: Nihal Rajput is proud to play the lead role in the biopic Vijayanand

I have seen your successful growth over these years amidst changing methods of work. What is the reason for your success? 

Whatever the change of method or mindset, everyone wants a dependable partner. We take pride in ourselves a being dependable. What we promise to a client, we always make it a point to deliver. Sometimes when our own equipment is not available suddenly for some reason, our team has often spent all night in the office trying the find the equipment committed to our client. All the equipment that leaves our office is thoroughly checked before moving out of the office.

What has been the most challenging project for you over these years?

Nothing Ventured: Nothing Gained. The definition of a challenging project has changed over time. We keep pushing for newer challenges.

Can you elucidate?

In the year 1999, we took up a Daily Lottery Project. Those days there was no live streaming. We had to shoot for 15 minutes and rush the tape to the satellite center for telecasting within the next 30 minutes! It was a very tough project then, but today we would execute something we like, even while we are half asleep.

Like?

One of our recent challenging projects was live telecasting the GSB Ganesha Utsav live 24 by 7 with many cameras shooting simultaneously. Not only did we have to manage the celebrities but lacs of people on the location on each day. The blessings of Lord Ganesha coupled with the day and night efforts of a crew of over 50 people made this event a grand success. The immodest truth is that when someone has a challenging project, we are the client’s first choice. We love the fact that most of our customers treat us as advisors and not just vendors.

Also read: “When Akshay Kumar jumped into the pool in his underwear to rescue me during the birthday party of director Abbas (of Abbas-Mustan duo)”, shares Jyothi Venkatesh

25 years is a landmark for any company. How does it feel?

A good batsman doesn’t look at the scoreboard. He plays his best game and runs follow! Similarly, one morning, we realized that we’ve finished 25 years. I feel a company is successful only if the team and the industry associated with it also grew. Over these years, we have taken in boys without any background. We gave them support and resources to become technicians like cameramen, sound recordists, etc. Over 50 boys have found success in the industry outside our office. Most of our team has been consistently working with us within our umbrella or even after stepping out of our umbrella. We created benchmarks and trends the industry has followed. Digital Video and Tapeless digital cameras are our gifts to the industry. VR cameras, DSLRs for video production, and Live Streaming Production initiated under our roof.

 tejash-close-up

You mentioned that most of your team has been consistently working with you. In times when people get easily bored how do you keep them inspired?

One of our famous cricket Captains, Mohammed Azharuddin once mentioned that the blue cap itself is enough inspiration. I think that’s an inspiration for the 1st six months, after that the player needs newer challenges and encouragement to continue to be inspired. I believe that each employee or team member must be given a sense of ownership and empowerment for whatever they do. We as a company have to believe in them and give them complete support and let them shine on the field.

Once you keep drilling this, In Accord every member, however big or small, believes that the project is his and goes to lengths to make the project work perfectly. We give them full liberty to take a decision on location as per their judgment. Happy employees give happy output. Also, we have never compromised on quality control. Anything we are not satisfied with is not brushed under the carpet but discussed threadbare.

We see many more photographers and filmmakers today compared to 20 years back. What is the reason for this change? Not only there are more photographers, cameramen, technicians, filmmakers, etc. but they are younger too! 20 years back getting hold of a camera was tough. Photography work went only to the accomplished Photographers as they could afford to have the equipment in-house. Getting hold of film or video cameras was expensive. Renting photography or Video cameras was neither easy nor cheap.

Also read: Way back in 1994, which movie title did ‘Miss World’ Aishwarya Rai (Bachchan) feel could be a good option?

Please go on!

We introduced digital cameras and got renting lenses within the reach of upcoming creative professionals. While media schools were churning out lot of talent they didn’t have access to the tools. With our introduction of rentals of all types of gear, it became easy for every creative professional big or small to take up assignments. The growth of internet complimented this surge of youngsters seeking work and rest is history. India is one of the largest creators of content in the world.

Whets are the lessons learned along the journey?

More lessons are learned at work than at school! We also learned many lessons along the way. Offhand one of the lessons was in this business you have to be really committed. We tried to open a branch in Ahmedabad a few years back and hired someone who wasn’t really serious. The clients went there expecting the Accord brand of commitment and service and were disappointed. They found that the service wasn’t up to the mark. The repercussions impacted all the Accord branches. We closed that branch and decided to open a branch only after thorough due diligence. Also, we were advised to take a franchisee model to succeed.

Interesting. So, Accord Equips has plans to have franchisees across India?

Yes, we realize that lots of content are being made in regional languages. YouTube has 95% content in regional languages. Weddings are big business across India. Everyone is shooting with professional cameras. There is huge demand but no supply. We will adopt the franchisee model, where we will send our team and equipment so that quality control isn’t compromised. The local franchisee will have to provide space and learn the Accord code of ethics and management before he can run his franchise on their own.

Also read: Shah Rukh Khan has a Tom Cruise connect in Pathaan

As a parting note, any suggestions for the upcoming filmmakers?

Planning. It’s not just the model of the car; it’s the destination that should be in mind. So many upcoming filmmakers come with a grouse that they could have made a much better film had they got a better camera. They sometimes forget the basics like footage management, rehearsing before the shooting, sourcing casting beyond the regular sources, choosing a script that needs fewer actors, and locations and resource management.

False sense of Entitlement

No filmmaker is entitled to get support automatically. The Filmmaker must prepare a detailed cost breakup. Marketing plan, and casting plan before approaching a financier.

Too much attention to video without regard for audio

Many filmmakers choose a great video camera but don’t take a good mic. What value is a great video where you can’t hear the subject clearly? It’s like beauty without brains, as you may be seeing a very beautiful girl but if you can’t understand what she speaks, you will walk away after a few moments.

Continue Reading
Click to comment
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
>