I was commissioned by Greenlight Planet to travel to Kenya and shoot some stories on how their solar lamps (Sun King) have been transforming lives in rural Africa. This is one of the stories that I created. I have kept it more about the subjects and less about the ‘product’. Hope you like it! The video shows you a glimpse of the life of grannies living in coastal parts of rural Kenya. They travel long distances to buy fish every day, then prepare cooked fish and sell it in the evening for some money. Their problem (among many others)? No light during the evening to conduct business. But with access to solar energy, that has now been taken care of, and things are gradually changing for the rural populace!
This is the story of Anitha Kholay, the first woman from India to participate and win in any international car rally. Some time in Nov last year (2016), my friend Prachi, a journalist, shared Anitha’s story with me over email. Prachi knew I was looking for sports related stories and thought this might be of interest to me. And that’s how things got started. I wrote to Anitha. We then spoke and then one fine day in December I was shooting her. All of it was shot in a day in Bangalore.
Those who know little about the sports of car-rallying (like I did before I met Anitha and her husband Rupesh), you can read about APRC (Asia Pacific Rally Championship) here. To win the championship, you have to secure maximum wins in all the rounds. Each round is typically held in a different location (spanning different countries). The one in which Anitha participated was one such round, held in Johor in Malaysia. Other rounds were held in New Zealand, China, Japan and India. And that’s what Anitha is aiming to get her hand at (in one of the coming years) – to drive in all the rounds, and with a more powerful car than what she could have access to in her first international rally.
I hope the gender balance in not just motorsports, but in many other male dominated sports as well, improves. Anitha’s story is definitely a step in that direction. I wish her success in her plans for bigger wins.
PS: you can also watch my Vlog below, where I travel to Bangalore for shooting this story (and another one).
This is the story of Jeeveshu Ahluwalia, now a successful stand-up comic in India whose popularity is only rising by the day. It is mostly based on my meeting with the “funny man” one evening in Mumbai last year. I showed up few hours before his show at the Canvas Laugh Club and he spoke about his life. How did I end up meeting him? I had been following him on Facebook for some time when I was moved by one of his posts that went something like – “a food delivery guy just asked for an autograph – so happy to follow my passion”. I gave him a buzz and told him I made these 3 minute stories and he replied back saying he liked my work and would be happy to help me do a story on him. And that’s how I met him.
Becoming a stand up comic is a new fad in India. But what is it really like, when you quit your job to try becoming one? Watch this short documentary and let me know what you think about it!
PS: I would like to thank Ankit Vatsa, Anshuman Agarwal, Manu Gupta, Nimit Jain and Jeeveshu, for their valuable feedback on the earlier versions of the video. I would also like to thank Canvas Laugh Club to let me shoot and stuff.
In fact, in spite of the affairs and divorces that are spoken about in this short documentary, the real story is simply about the many different and interesting ways in which life unfolds. I shot this in an Indian village in Himachal Pradesh as part of my “art” project for Shop Art Art Shop 2 residency (mid May – mid June 2016).
The story of how this story happened.
Ravi – the protagonist, came over to me one day, and introduced himself. My film is almost totally based on that first conversation that we had. The conversation revolved around his two marriages (someone would later tell me he actually got married thrice, but that’s another story altogether), his father’s multiple marriages and an Englishman Toby – who had decided not to marry after his first divorce.
Shooting Ravi doing his work was pretty straightforward (he is a freelance carpenter amongst other things – in case you are reading this before having watched the film). It’s a small village and if you roam around enough, you can easily find people you have met before, going about their daily lives. What I wasn’t sure about was how to shoot his family. One fine day, as I was walking around with my camera, I found two cute children doing cute things and so started shooting them, without any specific purpose. The kids were hanging out with their mother. And guess what, Ravi showed up from somewhere soon afterwards; he was the father! My story was taking shape slowly.
For some reason, I was kind of hesitant to ask Ravi if I can shoot his family doing things together. For most parts, I saw the husband and wife working separately – doing their own things.
To my benefit, over the next week or so, Poonam – the wife, saw the New Zealand and Italy Holioke* featuring Princy and me – and after that, she started talking to me frequently, generally enquiring about when Princy would return (Princy – my wife had left for a trek in Manali after spending few days in Gunehar). After several days, I was kind of sure that Poonam wouldn’t mind me shooting her. So one evening, as she was washing clothes in a public space, I started filming. I waited for her to finish the task and then followed her all the way to her house. She invited me in, offered me tea and Maggi and soon thereafter Ravi showed up too. Finally, I had all the different elements to weave together a story. I did have to re-record a small part of interview with Ravi later (just the audio). Also, because Ravi keeps riding his motorcycle all the time, I thought it would be nice to shoot him doing that (the only choreographed part of the story). So yeah, that’s about how this story came about. Full of his kids’ cuteness and charm. Let me know how you liked it?
*Princy and I do a bit of karaoke style music video from our trips abroad; I showed some to the villagers and they became very popular there. Children often wanted to watch them more than my short documentaries on villagers. 🙂
This story is about a mother who was forced to make a choice. Sometimes, choices are made from the heart. Sometimes, for the heart. And sometimes, in both ways. HeartShaped tells you how.
Katie saw one of my short documentaries online (last year) and shared her story with me over mail. Which was not really a story but a slice of an important part of her life. A delicate part of her life. I decided to meet her soon.
When I first met her in a cafe in Delhi and we had our little chat, I did not know what kind of a short documentary I could make for her. Though what she had shared with me was delicate, it did not fall under the standard template of what constitutes a story. But I could sense something. Something worth making. Something worth sharing with the rest of the world. I returned to Goa and gave it some more thought and when I visited Delhi next, I kind of knew what I wanted to show. HeartShaped is the result. All of it was shot over two visits to Delhi last year early winter (2014).
- Katie for sharing the story and inviting me to make the documentary
- Habibi Restaurant, Saket, New Delhi – for letting me shoot Katie perform (the opening shot in the film)
- Delhi Rock Studio – for providing space to shoot a dance sequence (the last one in the film)
- Vishnupriya – for helping me finalize the name HeartShaped (after we discussed and rejected about a million other names that I could have given to this short-documentary)
- All my friends on Facebook who agreed to have a look at the first cut of the movie and provided valuable feedback (some of which I took care of)
For those who would like to read more about Tetralogy of Fallot, can do so.