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Writer/Filmmaker from Belagavi is making his presence felt in the American independent film scene

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By uday

TIFF Laureate Siddharth Salgaonkar is also involved in the New York comedy circuit

Meet Siddarth Salgaonkar, a young and talented filmmaker from Belagavi who’s making waves in the stand-up comedy scene in the USA. But that’s not all – he’s also actively involved in the alternative film circuit there. This guy is a true polymath with an artistic bent of mind. He’s currently writing scripts and assisting TV crews while working on his next independent film project.

Siddarth is a graduate of the Bengaluru-based Srishti School of Art, Design, and Technology. He made a film that was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in collaboration with Instagram. As part of his curriculum, he made `Savangadi, a thesis film that was filmed entirely in his hometown of Belagavi. He did his collegiate education at RL Institute of Science Belagavi and schooling at St. Paul’s high school Belagavi.

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After that, he completed a post-graduate course in Dramatic Writing for Stage and Screen from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, Georgia. As a SCAD student, Siddharth wrote scripts in all formats – feature, TV, stage, VR, podcast, sketch comedy, and others. He even got a chance to perform improvisational sketches. In 2022, he graduated and moved to New York to continue his dream of becoming a writer/director/actor. He also began to explore his newfound interest in stand-up comedy.

Now, Siddarth regularly performs freelance in the stand-up comedy circuit in New York. He’s also helping out on sets of some TV shows for script writing and in allied areas. And of course, he’s working on his next personal film project.

Siddharth’s parents are both artists – his dad, Hemant Salgaonkar, is a painter who trained at the Mumbai-based JJ School of Art. He recently ran a business in Belagavi, but he never stopped creating beautiful images of the city on the borders of the western ghats. Siddharth’s mom, Seema, is a talented Marathi theatre artist and yoga trainer. Art runs in the family, as his brother graduated from the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad and is now a UX-Designer in California.

Siddharth’s life changed when his 60-second film, “Monster,” was screened at the Toronto Film Festival. The film was made using available materials and meager resources, featuring his mother as an actress and his father as a crew member. Out of 23 films from around the world, “Monster” was selected to be screened at the festival and even caught the attention of rapper/actress Awkwafina, who recommended it. Siddharth knew from a young age that he wanted to be either a chef or a filmmaker, and now he’s made his choice after a lot of thought.

Siddharth gives credit to SCAD for honing his skills in writing for the screen. During his time there, he learned a lot about the craft and some crucial tricks of the trade. He also made some meaningful connections with friends and faculty members and had great mentors who guided him. He even got the chance to perform on stage, which boosted his confidence to write and direct and helped him focus on stand-up comedy. Now, he’s planning to collaborate with like-minded youth in New York to come up with a new-age script that addresses issues faced by today’s youth.

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