What happened in India on October 10, 2015? Ridley Scott wants to know.
The maker of Hollywood epics is the mastermind of the project, titled India In A Day, a crowd-sourced documentary that will be put together from videos shot by, well, anyone in India who wants to.
Richie Mehta, who will direct the final cut pieced together from all the footage, says the idea is to make a "mega cell phone" film. Most of the clips were expected to be shot on mobiles.
The instruction was simple. People across the country were asked to shoot anything they saw and felt connected to, on October 10. Then they had seven days, to upload their clips to here on Google.
Mehta himself shot a video on his mobile phone in a Mumbai local train to explain what he is looking for.
Cohesion is not what Mehta is looking for. He says, "I am looking for several threads and am expecting anything between 1,000 and 10,000 hours of film footage. It will take me six or seven months to sift through all of it when I sit in a studio in London to stitch it together."
What does Mehta expect to see? For instance, will a film shot in India ever be complete without a song-and-dance sequence? Mehta says, "There is so much folk music in this country to bring out through the film. I hope we are able to capture that."
The concept came from Ridley’s Scott's first film Boy and Bicycle (1965). Shot in West Hartlepool, the 27-minute movie follows a day in the life of its protagonist. Scott’s younger brother Tony Scott (who later went on to direct films of his own) plays the part of the boy wandering through the isolated landscape. The film is a diary in motion, starkly examining the boy’s state of mind as he explores a bleak neighbourhood.
He was studying at the Royal College of Art in London when he made the short black and white film for his college final show, mirroring his own experiences riding a bike, using a 16mm camera to shoot.
Scott speaks from his own experience when he says, “India in a Day offers a unique opportunity for anyone and everyone across India to grab a camera or a phone and get out there and capture something. It doesn’t matter how small or personal it is – from riding a bike to calling your mum. It just simply needs to bear witness to what life is like in today’s India – that’s magical enough.”
India In A Day has an impressive line-up of executive producers and consultants: R Balki, Zoya Akhtar, Shekhar Kapur and Anurag Kashyap who will be working closely with Mehta and Scott to produce and release the film in 2016.
Ridley Scott and his brother Tony have produced the "Life In a Day’ series across the world. India In A Day is the sixth instalment of the franchise.
One of these is Life In A Day (2011), directed by Kevin Macdonald. He also directed Christmas In A Day (2013).
Among the others, there's Britain in a Day (2012), directed by Morgan Matthews.
Japan in a Day (2012), was directed by Philip Martin and Gaku Narita.
Italy in a Day (2014) was directed by Gabriele Salvatores
Mehta has directed several films that tour the film festival circuit, including I’ll Follow You Down, Siddharth and Amal. Siddharth is in the running for Golden Globe nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
About his next project, he says he is writing a script based in Delhi and Rajasthan, and would love to work with Bollywood stars, "if they read this."