Ocean in a Drop
Twelve months ago in January 2015 Wind & Sky Production’s Jary Nemo worked with his old friend Andrew Garton on a new documentary called ‘Ocean in a Drop” ‘. Jary took on the role of Director of Photography on the film spending three weeks on location in Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh – Central India
These are some thoughts on the road. see also: the behind the scenes photo gallery
‘Ocean in a Drop is a chorus of diverse voices from rural India describing the impact broadband is making on individuals and communities there. The film follows the work of the Digital Empowerment Foundation as the organisation strives to provide a billion of India’s poorest with access to broadband and the skills to use it by 2020.’
Andrew Garton – Director
Baran – Rajasthan
“We started our day with breakfast of potato curry portions and naan cooked over a smoking fire oven. We drove to the next location through many small villages with a local election campaign in its last day. This consisted of small jeeps towing trailers with bull horns blaring Hindi music and shouting speeches turned up to 14.
We set up in the village. The lighting was tough dappled shade and bright sunlight and we had to stop for a monkey fight to end in the tree above us. A majestic street dog the size of a small horse helped chase them off.
During the interview a small group of large cows watched from the background their horns painted in ochre colours.
Behind the farm wall statuesque women in saris walked past with earthen jugs on their heads and men balancing huge bags of farm produce.
Around them stray boars snuffled about and at our feet around the crew chickens and roosters pecked the ground.
In the background the sound of the election campaign wafted in the wind as it moved from village to village.
Later we shot into the night picking up overlay on the rock strewn landscape shooting low across a weir and a small lake where white ibis and red legged water birds looked for a roost and a brightly coloured kingfisher dove for an evening meal.
We packed the shoot and headed home slowly through the crowded streets. The campaign had switched to night mode and the latest Indian pop tunes were blaring from the over pressed speakers. The road was full of dancing people followed by farm tractors drawing work trailers full of children dancing to the beat. We pushed slowly through horns competing for air and the ubiquitous group of men directing traffic with lackadaisical yet purposeful hand gestures.
As we approached the music trailer the throng was at its peak and amongst the mass young men rode their motorcycles three and four up the passengers jumping on the pegs and waving their arms to the music while the bikes precariously leapt about.
Finally we made it through the throng and drove back to our beds at the centre so quiet under the stars back to the solid board bed and the bushman blanket. As we turned to open the gate a jackal crossed our path. I’m taking this as a sign of good luck.”
In the farm yard I picked up my chats on my phone. I showed a picture to a group of men who had probably not met a European before at least close up and had not known what a computer was only a short time ago. The picture was of a cake and coffee sent from my beautiful girl sitting in a cafe far away. I showed it to the western members of the crew. I thought they might cry.
Chanderi – Madhya Pradesh
“Had a beautiful shoot yesterday. 3rd story in a Chanderi house. Streets so narrow parked motorcycles had to be moved to let our vehicles through. People stood to see the foreigners from vantage points on rooftops and balconies. The sound of looms could be heard from every near bye house and the children gathered around saying hello in quiet voices then hiding behind each other to giggle. We moved our gear through an open courtyard and up three stories of dark and narrow steps.
The sun bright when we reached the roof. We entered a a tiny room almost completely filled with two looms and two girls dressed in bright saris with beaming smiles.
So excited to be filmed. They quickly and shyly tidied up. Moving drying laundry from lines on the roof. “Do you live here as well?” Andrew asked. “Yes” they smiled pointing to the floor next to the looms and the nearby bed rolls.
There was barely enough room for the tripod but I got great shots. The light and the colours in the room were fantastic as they worked the looms.
Two more girls came in to watch and they were cooking on a tiny gas cooker at the end of the room. Mubeen came to interview them with Cathy because the girls wanted to meet her. They smiled and joked and hooked pinkies with Cathy asking her to promise to take them back to Canada with her one day.
Later after the interview we learned there were twelve girls living out of that room. The only place to sleep must have been under the looms.”