Speaking at the Master-Class on Documentary Film Making at the IFFI 2016, Canadian film director Richie Mehta in conversation with moderator Aseem Chhabra, enlightened an audience of film lovers and aspiring documentary filmmakers on various aspects of the profession with emphasis on filming ethics. The Canadian born film director has Amal (2008), Siddharth (2013) and I’ll Follow You Down (2014) to his credit.
In October 2015, Mehta teamed up with Ridley Scott and Anurag Kashyap for Google, as the executive producer for the documentary India in a Day which will be screened at the IFFI on Tuesday evening. The film was executive produced by Ridley Scott and Anurag Kashyap and directed by Richie Mehta, who said, “We asked the people of India to capture their day and send their footage to us with the aim to create a documentary which celebrates the richness and diversity of everyday life in modern India. The freedom that we now enjoy, and the pace at which India is moving, I could never have imagined. October 10, 2015 was a day like any other. On this day, through an initiative backed by Google, millions of people across India turned on their cameras and smartphones and recorded their lives, then uploaded their footage to a website. It is India’s largest ever crowd sourced documentary, telling the story of a single day. The film offers a remarkable insight into the lives, loves, fears and hopes of people living in India today,” spoke Richie.
About the pivotal aspect of filmmaking, Richie said, “Usually the film is made on the Editing Table. For this project we received 16,000 submissions which took 3 months to get it down. Our researchers rated each of them with film editor Beverly Mills doing a marvellous job. I wanted to explore a common man’s life in India, the only country having gone to Mars, measure progress of Humanity and people reflected on a profound manner. India is shining and there is lot of joy and happiness around but people in the rural areas struggle for survival. Real India emerges out of the film. Yet a lot of people would say – A monkey would have done it too,” Richie said.
Richie said that the film starts from midnight then to morning about how people wake up; get ready for work, students to go to schools, then to mid-day and so on is the narrative structure. I found out that ironically heavy dramatic stories came in the afternoon. I am overwhelmed that thousands across the country trusted us, moving around with cameras and am surprised to see people open their heart. I didn’t shoot it, people have shot it – hence it is their film.”