Vanilla Films: One year, 13 projects, and 24 films later

The ad film house launched by Harshik Suraiya, Chintan Pandav, and Vinit Bhatt completes one year

e4m by Venkata Susmita Biswas
Updated: Oct 16, 2018 8:39 AM

“We thought we will not survive the first year,” says Harshik Suraiya, talking about his entrepreneurial venture - Vanilla Films - an ad production house he launched in September 2017. 

Suraiya and one of his co-founders Chintan Pandav (Producer and Editor) - were full-time professionals before they decided to tear through the safety net of a secure job to start something on their own. Suraiya was a rising star at Ogilvy where he worked as a creative director; Pandav an editor at Greymatter. Vinit Bhatt was the only one among the three co-founders to have known the uncertainty of entrepreneurship - he was a freelance photographer. 

“There was no plan B when we started out,” they tell me. A completely bootstrapped venture, Vanilla Films, in one year has worked on 13 projects and made 24 films in all. While their reputation and work ethic has been the key driver of their success so far, the trio is ever thankful to all the friends in the agency business who have trusted them and given them over the last one year. 

Vanilla Films has worked on ad films for brands such as Hyundai, Bournvita, Bluestar, Cipla, Perfetti Van Melle, Cadbury Fuse, Unlimited Fashion Store, and La Casa Luxury Club. The ad film studio has collaborated with multiple agencies during this one year including Ogilvy India, Law&Kenneth Saatchi&Saatchi, What’s Your Problem, and Innocean Worldwide. 

The trio work with a team of 8-9 freelancers who are as good as full-timers in spirit, Suraiya says. Vanilla Films is looking to expand its team and grow bigger. The team at Vanilla Films has worked on ads for television and digital and is prepared to produce any kind of content that a brand might require. There is just one ground rule they have set for themselves - to create work that is long lasting and not work that has a short shelf life. 

Although the client is generally known to be the one with the oddest demands and desires and makes life difficult for the creative guys, Bhatt, says “getting Harshik’s nod of approval is so much harder.” “In some cases, we have put in money from our own pockets to create good work and ensured we have never compromised on quality,” Suraiya says. 

Vanilla Films is all ready to join the big leagues and is currently working on a project whose scale they say is in “eight figures”. 

Before they sign off, we ask them for their photographs, and what they shared with us is what you see here. Each of them took a vanilla ice cream cone to their face. Why? “Just because we can do whatever we want as entrepreneurs.” Did they leave something unsaid? We think it might have been: therefore, we can do whatever that a client needs. 

Some ad films by Vanilla Films: 

Bournvita Biscuits - Paris from Vanilla on Vimeo.

Hyundai - Drivers of Tomorrow from Vanilla on Vimeo.

Unlimited - #StoryInEveryChild from Vanilla on Vimeo.

La Casa - Director's Cut from Vanilla on Vimeo.

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