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India in a day: A heartfelt crowdsourced film documenting lives of Indians by the Indians

Depicting a big chunk of being an Indian, ‘India in a day’ pastes your real life onto the screens beautifully

  • Backed by Google and produced by Ridley Scott’s company Scott Free Films and Anurag Kashyap, ‘India in a day’ is a 90-minute documentary feature film
  • The contributors of the movie range from 20-30 year olds
  • 16,000 entries were sent by 4000 people in 50 languages

September 24, 2016: India. It’s not a word, it’s an emotion. It’s not a country, it’s a feeling.

There is no one way you can figure this country out. It’s like the vast expanse of an ocean you can’t wrap your arms around. ‘India in a day’, a crowd-sourced 90 minute documentary feature film is the Indo-Canadian director Richie Mehta’s attempt to present India in a shawl bundled up by its people. About a year back, Ridley Scott’s company Scott Free Films and Anurag Kashyap asked thousands of people to submit a clip of their day-to-day life in the country. Long or short, informative or falling down from your chair funny, moving traffic or your kids screaming, anything meant anything. 16,000 entries were sent by 4000 people in 50 languages. And today finally after 3 months of watching the footage, 5 months of editing it and then a dash of few more months to add the background score, its ready to be released.

Turning 365 hours of footage into a precisely 86-minute length film wasn’t a casual task. The footage spanned from people talking about landing on Mars to clips of a farmer showing his version of paradise, his land. A lot of such examples where people narrated their stories are part of the film. Richie Mehta’s favourite piece is of a dad asking his daughter to speak along with him. She repeats ‘’When I grow older, I want to learn karate because I have to defend myself.’ Mehta thinks it sends across a very strong message, it reflects how a father feels about his daughter’s tomorrow and the need for her to learn to self-defend.

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The contributors of the movie range from 20-30 year olds coming mostly from Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Occasionally there are a couple of clips added from the elderly where they try to figure out how to use a camera. The final version includes shots by 330 contributors in 15 languages.

Mehta felt that it was important to do justice to what the people were trying to say and at the same time keep the film light. Hence he begins on a soft note and places the dramatic shots in the second half of the film.

The teams had weekly meetings to shortlist the videos and check the discarded videos for something they missed. They looked for strong visuals and aesthetics in the beginning but soon shifted their focus since even the phone camera footage had compelling messages to share.

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The film will be released on Youtube in the coming few weeks with the credit line ‘filmed by you’.

– by Karishma Vanjani of NewsGram. Twitter: @BladesnBoots

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