How the journey began

 

This is to let you know that since early February the two of us, Anushka Meenakshi and Iswar Srikumar, have been house hunting in Madras. Not having found a space that is either exciting or that allows us to live the way we want, we have decided to use all the house deposit money to travel around the country instead. So now that we’re doing one thing that we’ve both wanted to do for a long time, we thought – why stop at that? While we’re at it, let’s make a film.

What’s this film about?

The first idea was to just travel around India for six months. Once we thought of involving all of our friends and family in this, the plan of shooting took on a different dimension. This is a road film in the sense that it can only take shape as we travel. One thing that we are pretty sure about is that a trip like this will change the way we think and see things. So we don’t want to give the film a concrete structure or direction right at the beginning. But over the last few days of talking about the film, we have come up with some basic ideas of what it can be and what excites us about doing this.

–          We want to search for performing artists and craftsmen wherever we go and see their approach to their work.

–          We love food. Vegetarian, but still. We love food. This will undoubtedly be a huge part of the film. Even if it means handing out biryani to people to come watch the film.

–          We’d like to hand over the camera to people we meet from time to time, and have them shoot something for us. Whatever it is that excites them.

–          We want to create a short 5-10 minute fiction film somewhere along the way. Hopefully we’ll meet people who will be excited to tell us a story, enact it, and create the music for it.

–          And finally, there’s the two of us. Our story is very much a part of all of this, and will perhaps be the central thread that links everything we do on this trip together.

We may do one or two of these things, we may do all of these, we may do none of them. But we will make a film, and our primary focus is to be open to what comes our way. Because that’s the most lovely thing about a journey like this, to be experiencing something and allowing it to affect us rather than us imposing something on this trip.

Iswar Srikumar

I have been given every opportunity in the world to do and experience things all my life but I have never used it. I had the privilege of a great education, but I wasted all of it. The list of regrets and if only’s in my life have been endless. The only thing I am proud of is that I went with my instinct and joined theatre when I accidently stumbled upon it 8 years ago. It has been a transformational experience for me and has given me a better understanding of myself and has given me a great set of friends who are patient with me and allow me to grow. It is but this love and support from my friends and the beginnings of a certain belief in myself and the presence of a co conspirator and fellow dreamer that I have found in Anushka that have given me the courage to go about with this journey. My sincere apologies if this write-up sounds more like an Oscar speech than an introduction, you can blame that on the actor in me. My current obsession in life is to remove fear from inside of me. To be able to say what I want, to feel and do what I want, and to accept myself for who I am and be able to change things that I am not happy about. Sometimes going away somewhere allows for an easier transition. I hope that this trip helps me find my own voice and gives me the courage to use it.

Anushka Meenakshi

I hate writing about myself. I don’t particularly enjoy talking about myself either. But I love listening to others tell their stories, which is possibly why I do what I do. I studied mathematics, which I still love, but working in a people-less world of abstracts scared me. I trained as a broadcast journalist, but the madness of 24×7 breaking news didn’t appeal to me. So here I am, a documentary filmmaker. I’ve been making films for 8 years now, but it doesn’t feel like it at all.

This is the trip I’ve wanted to do all my life. As a documentary film maker you think your work is to experience the world and turn that into a film. But often constraints of time and money and what other people want of the film make you take short cuts. So this here is the chance to do everything exactly the way I’ve wanted to, which is jumping into it head first and going with the flow without worrying about deadlines and final products. Without having to plan neat and easily digestible packages while I’m shooting.

 

 

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38 thoughts on “How the journey began

  1. Hey Ishwar,

    sounds damn exciting. Read ur email and the blog. hope u and anushka have a blast and i am really looking forward to the film as i think its going to have quite a unique flavour of everything Indian and fun. I have a new DV tape I can pass on at the moment to you for your journey:)further contributions might be difficult from a struggling film maker :)but i wish u guys all the very best and hope u hv a rocking rocking time discovering urself and learning from everything around:)

    cheers,
    Soundarya

    • heh, thanks so much for the dv tape offer, but as it turns out we have decided to leave the video camera at home. its too bulky and we are now planning to shoot only on HD with a still camera. in delhi now and contemplating between rajasthan and MP and which might be the better place to start the journey. but one thing we will definately need help with is the post production. so ill call you in a few months. meanwhile please do keep looking up the blog and updates
      lots of love as always
      ‘swar

  2. Reasons for doing the trip not very convincing…hmm….not having a house that you were looking for…hmm not the right pitch… But that you are doing such a film (at its ideal best).. is something I like my dear darling Anushka.

  3. dear you both,

    i wish the both of you great and much happiness and luck 😀 i am with you guys in spirit or spirits 😀

    cheers,

    love and missings,

    balaji

  4. Iswar & Anushka,

    This sounds amazing. I’m super excited for you and a little bit envious too. If this is what not getting a place to stay in Chennai does to you, then thank god for Tamizh ‘kalacharam’!!! All the best 🙂

    Taruna

  5. Hey! All i can say is that i wish u both the VERY BEST now & always. It always helps 2 follow ur heart & when u still have age on ur side,GO 4 IT!!! I’ve always been a “late bloomer” but still love 2 take on a challenge & meet it head on, inspite of the slow speed,that’s 2 b expected of my age. Pl dont 4get us along the way & keep informing us of the sights & sounds u c on the way. Once again, all the best!!!!!

    • thanks so much dear president =)
      as of now i am the late bloomer. nearly did this some 8 years back but am getting around to it just now. and no of course wont be forgetting anyone, especially club presidents =) and knowing how active you are online i doubt it will be possible to not keep you posted.
      thanks for all the bestt wishes as always. gives a lot of strength =)
      lots of love as always
      ‘swar

    • dear yeshaswini,
      thanks so much for the videos. i have been playing with the camera for only ten days now and am only seeing shots everywhere. wonderful videos and have already found quite a lot of inspiration from it. not being much of a poetry person i havent yet gotten to those sites, but will get around to them as of now images dominate the mind more than words =)
      its cold in delhi right now. we may just have to tattoo drink lots of water =)
      love
      ‘swar

  6. hy guys. welcome aboard, somehow u guys sound like me apart frm tht i am not a film maker or an artist. I WISH U guys all the best and may u do all tht u always wanted to do. god bless and happy journeying.

    • thanks so much merwyn,
      i dont know about film maker, but i am sure you are an artist as everyone else. =) went through your website. it brought a big smile to our faces to see those images and a beautifully designed site.
      wish you all the best and wish you many many more travels
      lots of love as always
      ‘swar

  7. Love u for doing this…
    what ever little i’ve known Iswar, i always felt tht there is a mad side to this sane looking creature… which was not that apparent. Truly happy to see some of the madness.

    • i look sane ? =)
      thanks man appreciate it. now i have it in writing in case anyone doubts it =)
      many best wishes for your upcoming wedding. will most definately try to make it for that. we can be your wedding photographers =)
      lots of love as always
      ‘swar

    • ha ha ha =) you should have seen anushkas face while she was writing out the amount on the pay in slip. nice rounded off figures are so much easier to write, but quirky numbers always bring a smile to your face.
      thanks a lot once again man,
      lots of love as always
      ‘swar

  8. Hey Mushkin,
    Love this, bookmarking this, looking forward to this and replying to this (for a change).
    This really jump started my day, its only 11 and the adrenalin has already kicked in (no really just had one cigarette). This is too good!

    Get Moving…

    Amin

    • ameeeeeeeeeeen!
      🙂 am fully honoured to be bookmarked by you and all.
      sorry haven’t checked comments for a while because we were going a bit crazy in madras wrapping up things. now in delhi, planning stuff and hoping to start off soon. will be heading to that side of the world sometime over the next few months, will let u know when we do 🙂
      much love to benzee & baby (who i hope i can finally see!)

  9. Hi Ishwar
    Well you have written enough to make me jealous ….I so much want to travel..well best to both of you,have all the fun doing it and will look forward to updates..and yeah not sure if many know this but would like you to carry a sketch pad along to do some sketches as well on the way…as I’m sure you will experience a very different view..of India.
    And be my guest food/acco is on me when you are around..i don’t mind adding a little spirit to your journey>cheers

  10. Guys, this is something I always wanted to do . . . . .enjoy. . . . . .wish you all the best. . . .

  11. I was actually living the film (OUR FIRST FILM) ! I liked it alot. Actually I have no words … evreything’s so real ! Looking forward for more such projects from both of you.

    Thank u 🙂

  12. guys love your thought…cant read so much…saw the film on fb…how can i contribute. from one film maker to the the real film makers… go for it. me in mumbai. anything …do reply

  13. I worried “Is Eswar drifting?”I am glad he is not-only growing.Takes a lot of courage and insight to say what you have said and say it
    with such clarity!”Remove fear from within-go somewhere to find an easier transition-find your own voice and the courage to use it-”
    This is Oscar speech!!I am so proud of you.-no not a late bloomer-growing is painful-most of us don’t-you have the courage and company to facilitate growth.God be with you and send edifying experiences your way.

  14. Why a film,you can even write a book,ala Mark Shand,sounds a pretty good idea,wish i could do something like that,have a good time,folks,cheers & regards-kps

  15. Hello, I enjoy your weblog. Is there something I can do to receive updates like a subscription or something? I’m sorry I am not acquainted with RSS?

    • hey,
      glad you like our blog!! unfortunately we haven’t updated it in ages, but hopefully will do so in a couple of weeks…
      if you open the blog at the bottom right corner there’s a sort of button that says ‘follow’, click on it and enter your email id and you’ll get notifications every time there’s an update
      also curious to know, how did you find our blog?

  16. The videos sound and look good to me. Perhaps it would be useful to catalogue how you are doing it, in addition to what it is that you are doing… what gear and techniques you are using, what challenges you are facing, and how you are adapting… not only as people experiencing things, but also at technicians, who have the (presumably) unromantic task of cataloguing the journey. I am inspired by your work, and maybe one day, I’ll try something similar myself… I’d like to be armed with your experience… both to do with technique and technology, and otherwise. I’m guessing that you are acquainted with the efforts represented at http://www.beatofindia.com – if not, check them out.

    All the very best!

    • Hi!
      Thanks so much! That’s definitely a good suggestion, we’re currently swamped with our fundraising campaign, but the “how” is definitely a nice thing to add to our blog. Will do it as soon as we can!
      We actually didnt know about Beat of India, but it looks very promising and we will get in touch with them soon.
      Curious to know, how did you come across our site? And have you seen the latest trailers we’ve made for our film: at http://www.youtube.com/user/uramili

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