Film preview

In mockumentary ‘Autohead’, an auto rickshaw driver might just have murder on his mind

Rohit Mittal’s satire is the sole Indian selection at the Hong Kong International Film Festival.

The mockumentary director is the enfant terrible of filmmaking. While not exactly a documentary, almost always cheekily parodying the form, the mockumentary isn’t entirely fiction either. One of the best-known examples is This is Spinal Tap, a satire on the rock documentary featuring the exploits of a fictional heavy metal band. Also think of films such as The Blair Witch Project, a stock footage-treated horror movie, or the hilarious Borat, in which comedic genius Sacha Baron Cohen exploits the camera to hysterical degrees.

Closer home, the format has achieved some representation with Kunaal Roy Kapoor’s The President is Coming, All India Bakchod’s Genius of the Year, or any of The Viral Fever’s YouTube comedies. Rohit Mittal’s take on the format, Autohead, is another entry in the genre. Autohead is the only Indian film to be selected for the Hong Kong International Film Festival (March 24-April 4).

In Autohead, Rohit and his team are shooting a documentary in which they attempt to capture the life of an auto rickshaw driver. In the process, they are ushered into his angst-ridden world that is replete with paranoia and sexual frustration. “It is an intriguing format,” Mittal said about the mockumentary. “It’s more real than a normal form because the camera itself is a character and at the same time it’s mocking reality. There is a direct involvement of the camera in the story. At the same time it questions the intent of the filmmakers or the camera or the eye through which you see the film. In a very generic way it questions media and imagery in everyday life. In some ways it is anti filmmaking or a criticism on filmmaking.”

Play
The trailer of ‘Autohead’

Autohead has been described as Taxi Driver meets Man Bites Dog. Mittal was attracted to the tone of satire that runs through the latter movie, in which a film crew follows a serial killer. “I always loved mockumentaries and the Dogme films,” Mittal said. “I always found them very innovative in thought and structure and aesthetics. Also I wanted to do something that is a character study of a destructive mind in a repressive society but at the same time question the intent of the filmmakers in the film. I wanted to question the filmmakers who make films about social issues – documentary or fiction. Also I like it when characters in films break the fourth wall and talk directly to the camera or the audience. I like the sarcasm in mockumentaries and the criticism of reality.”

A still from ‘Autohead’.
A still from ‘Autohead’.

The mockumentary attempts to blur the line between fiction and reality by questioning the artifice of filmmaking as well as the attempt to present a realistic style, Mittal pointed out. “The format allows one to shoot things a little differently and manage without a massive budget,” Mittal said. “I don’t think I would shoot the film any differently.”

Autohead was made with a crew of all of 12 people, Mittal said. “We did a lot of planning so that we could let accidents happen and capture things more organically,” he said. “We would never do anything that would grab any kind of attention. We would always be on a run. Shoot quietly and leave. But at the end of it we were shooting a film and not selling drugs or bombs, so we had to be fearless and not care much about the authorities or the people.”

A format that has been attempted by some estimable voices, from Ricky Gervais with the television show The Office to the unparalleled Woody Allen with Take The Money and Run, remains underutilised in India. Mittal is curious about how local audiences will react to Autohead. “I think they will get it and also enjoy it in some way, because of the humor and performances and also the thrill,” he said. “It will definitely be something new. I am hopeful.”

Director Rohit Mittal.
Director Rohit Mittal.
We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Now that you’ve reached the top, how often do you say, “Thank You”?

What kind of a leader are you?

How do you define success? The typical picture of success is a large bank balance, expensive material possessions and fame. But for some, success is happiness that comes from fulfilling a childhood dream or attaining a sense of purpose. For those, success is not about the volume of an applause or the weight of a gold medal, but about showing gratitude and sharing success with the people without whom the journey would be incomplete. Here are a few ways you can share your success with others:

Speech

While it sounds simple and formulaic, a genuine, emphatic and honest speech can make everyone feel like they are a part of a winning team. For a personal touch, acknowledge the team’s efforts by mentioning each one of them by name and thanking them for their unique contributions. Hearing their own name makes people feel proud and honoured.

Realise the success should be passed on

Instead of basking in the glory of their own achievements, good leaders encourage, motivate and inspire others to achieve success. A good leader should acknowledge his own mistakes, share his experience and knowledge and cultivate an environment where every milestone is an accomplishment for everyone in the team. Talk about challenges, the personal and professional struggles that you had to overcome. Sharing setbacks helps others to relate to you and helps them overcome struggles they may be facing.

Celebrate

Nothing beats shaking-off the deadlines, work-pressure and fatigue by celebrating success together. Enjoying a job well done together as a team brings about a spirit of camaraderie. A catered lunch, evening drinks or a weekend off-site, the important thing is to enjoy the win with people who have gone through the same struggle.

Keep it flexible

The last thing you want is for work celebrations to become monotonous and repetitive. Not all milestones have to be celebrated in a grand manner, some can just be acknowledged with gestures such as personal Thank You notes or writing a recommendation on LinkedIn.

Make success more meaningful

Go beyond numbers, sales targets and profits and add meaning to the achievement. Reminding everyone of the larger purpose inspires people. It’s easy to lose interest when you do something in a routine fashion. Giving a larger meaning to success makes people feel more involved and energized.

Great leaders are those who share their victories with others. They acknowledge that the path to success is collaborative. Great leaders don’t stand in front of their team, but are found working amongst them. This video is an ode to such leaders who epitomise the Chivas culture and know how to Win The Right Way. Follow Chivas on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Chivas Studio Music CDs and not by the Scroll editorial team.