Thursday, March 26, 2009

Slumdog Ideators

Toohey: There's the building that should have been yours. There are buildings going up all over the city, which are great chances refused and given to incompetent fools. You're walking the streets while they're doing the work that you love but cannot obtain. This city is closed to you. It is I who have done it! Don't you want to know my motive?

Roark: No!

Toohey: I'm fighting you and shall fight you in every way I can.

Roark: You're free to do what you please!

Toohey: Mr. Roark, we’re alone here. Why don't you tell me what you think of me in any words you wish?

Roark: But I don't think of you!

“ARTISANS DU CHANGEMENT” translated into “Architects of Change”, is a documentary series that focuses on 30 people from around the globe who look to change the world and make it a better place. They are pioneers of a new kind. Men and women who have defied naysayers and marched on. Men and women who have found out how to break down economic prejudices in order to transform the way in which they ply their trade. This series of 10 documentaries spanning 52 minutes each is filmed by a Canadian film production house called Vic Pelletier Productions and is funded in part by the United Nations.

These filmmakers were in India to film some eminent ‘change-makers’ that included Dr. Namperumalsamy of Arvind Eye Hospital-Madurai and Bunker Roy of Barefoot College. The CEO of one of our clients Rural Innovations Network, Paul Basil, was the third Indian in this distinguished roster.

To give you a basic background on Paul Basil’s organization…Rural Innovations Network (RIN) is an organization that aims at improving the quality of life of the rural populace through innovations. RIN encourages ideas by funding and mentoring them. These ideas are then transformed to products and displayed at exclusive rural stores that house innovative products.

The “Architects of change” shoot happened at Gobichettipalayam, a town in central Tamilnadu. I accompanied the crew and Paul Basil, as we set about discovering the problems faced by the rural community and how simple innovations are solving their problems.

The French Canadian crew was here to film but more often than not; I could sense that they had the jaw-dropping excitement of witnessing a better film playing in front of them.

There was the villager who had come up with a stove that runs on water and plant oil. Imagine water being used as a co-fuel! A septuagenarian in a non-descript village who came up with a novel irrigation system that saves water by 40 %. A lady who by employing educated rural youth runs a BPO catering to portals that deals with American celebrity gossip! It was all happening at remote rural areas sans the Internet.

Elle, the Director of Photography once carted me aside and confessed “ Deepan, in the town where I live in Canada, there are only 250 people. We have everything. Plenty of resources and a sparse population. In India, when you have a billion people clamoring for limited resources, the ideas have to happen. People have to be innovative. And that is why I am awe-struck by the sheer audacity of ideas mushrooming in this part of the world.”

I reflected on what he said that night, and I could not help but marvel at the contemporary twist. For a change, I get to see a foreign national who is here not to film Indian culture. Not to film the Dharawi slums. Not to film the traffic-laden roads. Not to film the thousand and odd deities and temples. He was here to film India ideating. And rocking.

Posted by Deepan.

1 comment:

murali said...

well said deepan.