Intrigued by what they saw as the beginnings of an anti-corruption movement in India, filmmakers, Khushboo Ranka (co-writer, Ship of Theseus; co-director, short film, Continuum), and Vinay Shukla (director of short film, Bureaucracy Sonata; actor, Ship of Theseus) made the journey to Delhi, in 2012, to see firsthand what was brewing with this movement. With a fly-on-the-wall presence, the fledgling filmmaking team started to document the beginnings of the movement.
Who are we
Vinay — I’m from Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh but I have spent the larger part of my life in Bombay. I graduated from college in 2007 and started assisting right away. I assisted on a film, then on a play and then did some small commercial/corporate work. Somewhere between all this, I made my first short film titled “Raag Sarkari” which premiered at IFFI Goa and then went to a few festivals internationally. I also acted in the Ship of Theseus.
Khushboo: I am from Bombay, which is to say that for the most part I have been as far removed from politics as possible. While I was in college I made a short film called Continuum, which did very well in the International Festival circuit. Since then I have also worked on Ship of Theseus as a co-writer.
Vinay — Well we didn’t really start thinking “We are going to make a film”. We came to Delhi in late 2012 because we were curious about what was happening with the anti corruption movement here. Once here, we felt compelled to begin documenting what was happening on ground. This documentation was meant to be personal and we kept rolling for a while. We were living with friends in Delhi, so every day we would come back home and share our footage with them. Our friends were very engaged by what they saw and the footage always triggered a debate. The party continued to expand in a chaotic, breathless fashion. Then, slowly and steadily, it began to daunt on us that the story really was much bigger than what we had anticipated. We realized that it wasn’t just our friends who were having these debates. Everybody was talking politics. Everybody had an opinion. And everybody had questions, just like we did. That’s when we realized that we could make a film here which would contribute to this dialogue.
Khushboo: This Idea actually came to us after we started filming. We had come to Delhi, because we had friends here, but overstayed by 3 months! We came as tourists, but when we started engaging with the political scene, we realized that this is an extremely interesting story that needs to be told. So we started filming in November 2012 but decided that our material would become a film only much later, when we won the IDFA Bertha Fund for documentaries.
Khushboo: We shot for just over a year and we are right now in post-production. Once we came down to Delhi in 2012, the team started growing quite organically. Our friends and colleagues in Bombay got intrigued and excited by what we were onto. Each one of them soon became an integral part of the project. Vinay Rohira was one such. We knew him from the Ship of Theseus team, where we had become friends. Now, we’ve worked together for close to two years, and he has become a very key part of Proposition for a Revolution. Similarly, Anand Gandhi, who we’ve both known closely, got very interested in the work we were doing, and came on board as a Producer. The rest of the team has been built pretty organically as we came in touch with young film enthusiasts, who were excited to be part of this narrative. When we started post production a few months ago, our friend and editor (of Ship of Theseus), Sanyukta Kaza joined us.
We shot on a Canon 5dMk3, and a 60D camera. We had basic equipment, which was pitched in by generous friends who supported our idea. We had basic sound equipment, but could not afford to have a sound recordist on for the shoot. So all the equipment we had, had to be something that we could learn and operate ourselves.
Vinay — We have over 400 hours of footage. We don’t know what the final length of the film will since we are still editing but our estimate is that it should be around 100 minutes.
Khushboo: We decided on the fly-on-the wall observational approach with this film. Our focus is on the process, not the person. Which means that we have consciously tried to avoid glorifying the mundane. We wanted to look inwards at our institutions, the idea of democracy and how the person on the street relates to this.
The Decision to go for Crowdfunding
Vinay: We had approached everybody under the roof for funds but people were very hesitant. Our film is a documentary set in contemporary politics and investors didn’t find that as an interesting proposition. Those who were interested in investing wanted to know if we are supporting the AAP or against it. We didn’t want to take money from people who had these concerns because it would compromise our position. At the same time, we have a topical film and we would like to get the material out as soon as possible. We have approached international broadcasters, financiers, funds and we are now finally coming to crowd funding.
Khushboo: Documentaries have traditionally found it difficult to reach out to bigger audiences. But the crowdfunding campaign has received unprecedented support. We raised 50% of our goal in less than 10 days! The campaign has already demonstrated that there are people out there who would like to watch documentaries like ours. Some people are pledging money towards our campaign; some are pledging their skills while many are simply sharing it amongst their friends and reaffirming our belief in this project. So on the one hand we wanted to use crowdfunding to raise money, but on the other we also wanted it to be a community owned film. This would ensure that the film releases, is seen widely and the contributors become ambassadors and owners of the film in an organic and beautiful way.
You can contribute here and like our Facebook page at facebook.com/prop4rev and do share it with your friends!