The story of Ravi and his family
SHOT BYAmrit Vatsa
This is a 5 min documentary film with 3 broken marriages that actually has a happy ending!
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).
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. 🙂