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.
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.
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.