Making Love Goes Through Your Mind had been my dream since before I came to UCLA. It was an important part of what made me choose UCLA as the film school I wanted to attend – because we were allowed to make features as our thesis films. I knew that writing a story about an Indian American family and their trials and tribulations with a mental illness wasn’t going to be easy. So I wrote for two years and was at draft nine when I realized I wanted to collaborate with another writer. I had a film, but needed a fresh pair of eyes on it.
Hence, came on board the project a screenwriting friend, Shruti Swaminathan. She and I began our writing process and six months later, we had a shooting script. Pre-production and filming took me through the next year and two years after that, I had a finished film – a labor of love over a period of five and a half years. The interesting thing throughout the making of the film wasn’t that I had no aspirations for its life after the completion of it, but being my first one, I hadn’t fathomed it going very far. I remember justifying spending a quinquennial part of my life on it as a learning experience so that I could grow and develop as a filmmaker.
I had heard of the Austin Film Festival through my years at UCLA and submitted on a whim, but didn’t think twice afterward. Flash forward to months later, I was in a pre-production meeting on my second feature with my director of photography when I got a call from AFF. I remember staring at the phone for twenty seconds while it rang. I couldn’t answer because we were wrapping up, but I remember really wanting to. So they left a message with the good news of wanting to world premiere Love Goes Through Your Mind. I believe I listened to the message on repeat six times (my smile getting bigger each time and the disbelief getting smaller) before calling them back to confirm.
Since then, life with the film has been a whirlwind… in a good way. Not only was the experience of the festival immensely rewarding with continued relationships between production personnel and filmmakers post meeting them at Austin, but the two screenings of Love Goes Through Your Mind at the festival being sponsored by Indie Meme and Bossbabes was a huge dose of unexpected goodwill and kindness which left me changed. I began to believe that there might actually be a future for the film, that there could be a platform for it to rest on beyond the festival circuit.
Leaving Austin with a huge boost of confidence, I proceeded to submit the film to other festivals and it screened at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles and the International Film Festival of South Asia since. But Austin beckoned again. Recently listed by the MovieMaker Magazine as one of Austin Film Festival’s 25 Screenwriters to Watch in 2019, I was moved at a deep heart level by the now almost seven-year journey it has been. Not only did Austin provide me the faith to find distribution for the film and its rightful home, but also actualized my belief in calling myself a filmmaker.