Interview with Dr. Gaurav Chhabra

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I got the opportunity to interview the filmmaker of the indie film InkLab that was released online yesterday
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The filmmaker Dr. Gaurav Chhabra happens to be a good friend and a person I admire, so this was a great time to do an interview. I am inexperienced with doing interviews, so …. this is what it is, tidied up from a chat. It isn’t edited as such, so its an informal conversation.

Lets do a proper interview Gaurav?
yeh would be fine… bolo jee

Where did you get the idea?
A few mnths ago, I was in Kabir kind of mood… writing short couplets and then the idea came about Potash ke puriya. Remember we used to collect masala from fuss bombs of Diwali? So I visualised a small pouch containing that and everything devloped on that in next few hours. The idea came from Potash … I wanted to write a couplet on it … about revolution and rebellious ideas, but idea grew on me within next half hour to take shape of a film outline.

The script? You wrote it?
Yeppo. I do have a similar black diary … but dialouges of film were all fresh.. this month only

It was produced and directed quite fast
The newspapers have fukushima and all our latest scams… how did you manage it?
Yeah I started research and scripting on march first, started shoot on 20th and edit 3 days back. Zero budget, friends cameras, and frnds as actor for free. Actually if you see, this all is a daily talk these days, on chai shai… So shooting it wasn’t a big problem. Though film is mostly scripted.

Among the characters in the film, who do you connect with most strongly?
The film has no characters but ideas. It shows how ideas travel across ages and times and across borders. Even the police guy has REBELLIOUS ideas in this … so people in the system also want change ..

When you made the film, who did you imagine as the audience?
The film was supposed to be released on 2nd so as to gain viral audience and was supposed to be released as Bomb hoax! But comps are machines and men are not free from errors. The script i thought would make 12 min film came out to be 65.

Which is your favourite part of the film?
The Citizen speech at the end. The toughest part was doing the tea cup breaking scene with the kid
secret would come out in the making of film…

Now, the circumstances planned for the release of the film have changed. Do you see it having an impact on how it is received?
Well no… I mean… now it would be received warmly. Earlier some people could have disliked it. Like i posted a promo of bomb hoax and people said they find it pukish and all. People r not used to hardcore activism… So now 8th april is gone. They r watching it as a film,  which is a cool slice of life out of two room mates. So its more comfy to watch it now. Earlier it would have immensly disturbed many ( intention was that ). But yeah, it will achieve its purpose to go beyond present perspectives of involvement of citizen in democracy.

About the involvement of citizen in democracy….. what do you think is the need of the hour?
To come out of comfort zone and think for comfort of not only your family and self, but people on mass scale.

The film hints at very Bhagat Singhish ideals…. and it is very immediate kind of feeling watching it.
No rebel stands by anything past… but ideas… which will always be fresh if the situation is same. In the whole film
the protagnist is discussing bomb case of past, but it appoears that they are planning to bomb Parliament. As I said, Megabyte is new dynamite… NOW one doesnt need to enter parliament to destroy the wrought

What do you think is the most powerful line in the film?… The message?
‘ its not about politics.. its about realisation…’
That everything depnds on them… the people. The realisation is missing as of now. In fact if you see [the] film runs on lines only because there are hardly any faces visible.

Okay, here is the real question…. after this warm up

What is the one question you wish I had asked?
Are you happy making such film? do u love the work you do ?
No and No

I mean.. I would have been happy making some happier art works, but situation is society is such that … I would feel bad if [I] own a capcity to work out such films and I dont… I mean… if things were not like they presently are, I would have been working on different kind of films. But you know.. art is always influenced by politics and vice versa, so I’m kinda Ruined artist. A happy ruined artist.

What would those different films have been? Do you have something in mind?
lol. Yeah I have some beautiful concepts of films… Many commercial business ideas, products designs etc that always loose priority and I end up nourishing these non profit ideas and hence bankrupt.

Yet you chose to release this on the net
This is just a baby. I have its big dad coming ahead in a year or so.

You speak of ideas crossing time and boundaries… what are the ideas that reached you from another time and place to be in this film?
The name of thr film is Ink Lab – an experimental lab, which doesnt borrow ideas, but belives in its own experiments.

… or, which ideas inspired this film?
Those which one tries and applies and learns from them. The protagonist has been trying everything. The film is a kind of warning to govt.

Yeah, revolutionary influences…
That people are much sane
all through as of now. If they supresss peaceful rebellions something dangerous can take birth.

Like the film says, it is in finding the right questions. What question would you leave us with today?
The film highlights the power of books and ideas, but at the same time.. it points that oen shouldn’t bind himself in one idea. Also it tells that rebellion or anarchism is dangerous if community is NOT enlightened. So first step has to be enlightenment.

Guess what … I dont know abcd of politics. I’m not sure about any ideoolgy what it stands for. Whether its communism or imeperialism or any things and many many people dont even care to…

Does it matter?
No it doesnt. Thats the reason. I thought let it not be politically correct film, but correctly political.

The one about what question would you like to leave us with?
Oh the question would be… that do we KNOW that what we see..around us? On FB or TV is just a miniscule percentage of whole population. There is a huge percentage of population who doesnt have voice, even if we have. So there still is fear that the growing upper middle class shall exploit the lower classes. For example, when I posted a status on EQUAL SALARY for all vocations, people were baffled. Never ever as many comments came on any status. People not from my friend list also commented and never have been people in unison… all were agaisnt it!!

It was just an experimental status that showed me that we are in a dangerous situation actually and we see MONEY is the BIGG thing of life…

Haha no more shots

Only bombs

Done. Packup 😀
Non detectable bombs
This film is one such 😛

Thanks a ton for your time, and beautiful, transparent sharing of thoughts
yeppo chalo je I sleep . You too try to sleep now take care , huggs

….. And thus it was…. an encounter with an inspiring revolutionary in the land of ideas!

Dr Gaurav Chhabra is a Chandigarh based Health activist. After pursuing bachelors in Medicine & surgery, from Ahmedabad, he infused his childhood passion for Visual arts into the field of health and thus emerged the practice of Public Health Communications, which he presently is pursuing through his independent non-profit initiative, called Humlog,using video films as a major tool for positive social change on the local issues. Dr Chhabra in last two and a half years, has made the city of Chandigarh his Karmabhoomi and has made niche in the domain of development communications. His films have travelled most of the film festivals in the country. His zero budget Film ‘The Mudcake’ won 1st prize at WHO Global health film contest -07 leaving behind thousands of entries across the globe.

If you wish I had asked a few things, please don’t hate me, ask them below, and I promise to get Gaurav answer them for you.

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