Born in New Delhi and educated at Mayo College and St. Stephan's College, then at Balliol, Oxford, Pradip Krishen taught history at Ramjas College, New Delhi. He started his film career with short films shot in 16 mm films. He assisted directors Syam Benagal and George Luneau. Later he worked with the private Delhi based TVNF company producing sci-fi short films. His debut feature film was Massey Sahib, made in Hindi. His next two films were sponsored by television and was made in English.
Massey Sahib - 1986 - Hindi
A satirical film set in the colonial India during 1929, it features a government clerk named Francis Massey. Because of his constant interactions with the British, he fancies himself to be just like an Englishman. However, he has to deploy extreme financial ingenuity to keep the wolf from the door. When Massey's boss Charles Adams lacks the funds to complete his dream project of building a road through the forest, Massey manages to get the scheme finished through financial skulduggery, persuasion and threats. To his surprise, the unofficial road tax he levies is considered to be corruption by the very boss who condoned Massey's earlier mischief. Frustrated and humiliated, Massey attacks and kills his old friend Banaji, who refuses to help him. Massey is arrested for murder and Adam advises him to plead guilty to accidental manslaughter, but Massey refuses, assuming that his colonial associations will get him off the hook.
Direction & Screenplay: Pradip Krishen
In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones - 1988 - English
Anand Grover, better known as Annie, is victimised for making fun of his principal years ago. At the School of Architecture, New Delhi, Annie is repeating his fifth year for the fourth time. He spends his hours in the hostel which is the best part of his life, by 'giving it those ones' - indulging in daydreams of social upliftment. His latest idea is to plant fruit trees on either side of railway tracks, where rural India defecates daily. The fecal matter will provide the necessary compost for the trees, while the trains, with sprinklers attached, will automatically water the plants.
Annie also keeps two hens in his room and earns a modest sum by selling the eggs, till one day his friend, Mankind, and his Ugandan roommate, Kasozi, make a roasted meal out of them. Soon, however, hirsute Arjun and his girlfriend Radha, a non-conformist student, present Annie with a rabbit.
In the end, Annie manages to pass his exams, thanks to a trick played by the students.
Direction: Pradip Krishen