As a child, Anand Gandhi wanted to be a magician, then a physicist. He even switched to philosophy before discovering his love for films years later.
"I realized that there was one place where I can become a magician, a philosopher, a writer, an actor, all of these things together, if I were to make films," says the 32-year-old filmmaker.
Gandhi is making his feature film debut with "Ship of Theseus", which opens in Indian cinemas on Friday after doing the rounds of the global film festival circuit.
The film tells the story of three people, battling disease and disability, and explores themes of beauty, life and death.
"Ship of Theseus" features little-known actors Neeraj Kabi, Sohum Shah and Aida El-Kashef in the lead and is pitted against more mainstream releases -- crime thriller "D-Day" and romance "Ramaiya Vastavaiya".
With its heavy themes, the indie film is a tough sell at the Bollywood box office despite praise from critics. But director Gandhi says he never watches commercial Indian cinema.
"Most of our mainstream cinema is deeply regressive - either politically or ideologically - it will deeply offend me," he told Reuters in an interview. "I just don't have the heart for it."
Gandhi was always a rebel. Growing up in Mumbai with his mother and grandmother, he began questioning religion and rejected any authority in his teens. He even dropped out of school to study philosophy, often framing his own curriculum.
At 19, he was already scripting popular television soap operas "Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi" and "Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii". He later experimented with the short film genre, writing and directing "Right Here, Right Now" (2003) and "Continuum" (2006).
"Ship of Theseus" is being actively promoted by Kiran Rao, wife of Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan, and Gandhi is hoping audiences will appreciate the film.
"I am still selling wheat grass, and I am not packaging it as candy," says Gandhi. "But it is still attractively packaged and speaks a contemporary language."