India has been world renowned for its amazingly rich and diverse mix of cultures shaped by its history, traditions and of course its people. Besides its culture and people, India has slowly moved from a ‘developing nation’ just two decades back, and emerged as a critical and decisive country that is shaping the contours of the world economy. India is not only seen as a tourist destination for millions of people but also an investment option and now is the time for the world to see India for what it is; a melting pot of talent, innovation, diversity, cultures and beauty.
The Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) launched a global initiative called the ‘India Is’ Video Challenge and invited the world to participate. Filmmakers, photographers and avid travelers who have explored the last of India’s little by-lanes, participated. The idea was to share with a global audience just exactly what their perception of “India Is”. It showcased India’s immense soft power. More so, all the content that is promoted is generated by the Indian Public, visitors of India and Indian aficionados the world over.
‘India Is’, celebrated two successful years of completion on June 3. Minister of External Affairs Shri Salman Khurshid was present to mark the occasion and described the initiative as ‘a celebration of India’s youth’. Acclaimed filmmaker Anurag Kashyap screened his short films, made especially for the ‘India Is’ initiative. Colourful videos from the ‘India Is Global Video Challenge 2012’ were screened and the winners of the challenge were felicitated at an award ceremony. ‘India Is’ also unveiled exciting plans for their future chapters.
As part of the campaign “India is a visual journey”, five filmmakers were commissioned to make five short films. The promos of all five films had become a rage on social media. The films are now released and are lined below. Watch them and share your views.
1. Hidden Cricket by Shlok Sharma
About the film – A country that is divided in the name of religion, state, language, caste, economy, profession and even god… breathes together, stands together in the name of CRICKET!
A sport that defines the country. Cricket is in our blood and rules our hearts. A synonym to passion — cricket redefines enthusiasm, craze, zeal and excitement. We are a nation that loves cricket, lives cricket, beyond conventions and beyond rules, from breaking boundaries to breathtaking highs, a million cheers and a zillion sighs, such is the madness, such is the passion to play it anywhere, any day, all the time, all the way. Cricket is our way of life!
2. The Epiphany by Neeraj Ghaywan
About the film – After their college reunion in Pune, a divorced couple is forced to take a ride together to Mumbai. As they meet an old woman on the highway in desperate need of help, their disparate sense of morality, culture and class creates friction, scraping the wounds of past that they thought was long gone. Some journeys may not take you anywhere, but you do move on.
3. Moi Marjani by Anubhuti Kashyap
About the film – A spirited independent single mother struggles on a daily basis to provide a comfortable life to her son and herself. She runs a small Internet cafe in Patiala, Punjab for a living, and is an Internet user herself. The film highlights a phase in her life when love comes knocking on her door. If only its timing was right!
4. Geek Out by Vasan Bala
About the film – The dual lives we lead, that virtual alter ego we all have nurtured and empowered, The Indian “Geek” today is no longer that lad who sat in a corner. He could be that carefully framed pic on Instagram to that deadly opinionated Twitter handle or maybe that pop philosophy spitting Facebook page or that revolutionary blog that was created to change the world or just plain drowned into the Audio-Visual black hole “You-Tube”. Day dreaming now has a new address, the world wide web. Dream on ! May the force be with the Geek!
5. Chai by Geentanjali Rao
About the film – The film is a sequence of montages that shows four different people making tea in a tea shop. A ten year old boy selling tea in Bombay at the Gateway Of India, An 18 year old girl with her tea shop in a mid level town, A 19 year old Kashmiri lad in a Barrista and An 80 year old man’s tea shop in a busy Kerala bus stand.
The film is a view of rapid change that India is going through and what it means to those people whose faces we never notice as we go along sipping our cup of tea everyday. Tea like the people of India changes with every language, culture, climate yet serves the same purpose everywhere always. A constant in a flux.