Traveling always seems to be as easy as packing your bags, getting on an airplane and just vanishing away from the city life, but believe me, it's not that easy. As every coin has two sides to it, traveling comes with wretched experiences as well. Believe me, travel filmmaking will make you a better person in terms of knowledge, cultural tastes and also teach you to survive in a situation where you won't get to eat anything other than a simple breakfast in the whole day.
Recently we did a project for MP Tourism and Outlook Traveller. We drove from Delhi to Gwalior and till Panna. There is an old Indian saying "A trip that starts bad ends well" and ours's was no different, our trip started with the funniest and not a good incident. The petrol pump that we went for fueling up, their generators caught fire that too 5 AM in the morning. An exciting start to the trip.
We shot 15 Short documentaries and one half-hour episode for MP Tourism. All the 15 stories were based on art, culture, food, history, craft, hospitality and anything that made the place stand out more from other destinations. In this blog, we will be telling you about our experiences on the shoot of a Documentary about an old craft of Gwalior - Carpet Weaving.
The carpet history in Gwalior goes back to one of the largest carpets of Asia which is now showcased in Jai Villas Palace. It was woven by prisoners, it took them 12 years to weave the 100ft long and 50ft wide masterpiece.
Carpet weaving is an old tradition of Gwalior. The art of carpet weaving came from Persia in India. Its history can be traced back to Iran. From past to present there is no change in the material that was used for carpet weaving. The most commonly used materials are Silk, Cotton, and Wool. Even today craftsmen of Gwalior excel in the art of carpet weaving. It takes almost 48 days for a craftsman to complete one carpet if he sits from morning 8 AM to evening 5 PM. it is not as easy as it sounds. If it's a big carpet more than one craftsmen need to sit for its completion where one craftsman only sits and dictates the map to the weavers.
The carpet weavers factory was a very small setup and we didn't have enough space to move around hence the shoot was done handheld with minimalistic setup. We were not able to use the slider so the 4K live cropping feature of the Lumix Cameras came to our rescue. Due to space constraints, we were not able to use any external lights, so rather we used natural lights to light our subject. We were in an environment where the ambiance sound was loud and we were not able to capture clean sound.
From the Directors Desk:
There are various kinds of carpet making processes in India and so the first question that my executive producer Mandakini Malla asked me was-
"Why did you choose this as a story?"
As I had already researched about it I knew that they were using some synthetic silk and wool which makes them stand out of the crowd.
We went to the carpet workshop and of course, we had no clue about the location. The place was called Gainde Wali Gali which was full of congested lanes and people. The place dwelled with different kinds of artisans and Carpet weaving was one of the rarest forms of art found on the block. The location was a closed space with 5 hand machines with 4 people working on them.
While interviewing, we asked a lot more questions to get more information based on the history and heritage of carpet weaving Even though, at first, we thought that we will not get the story but things unfolded after the interview. I feel this is the case with many documentaries film.
But slowly this form of art is vanishing in thin air as no one from the younger generation is willing to take up. This documentary could be the last documentary of this form of art. So do watch it.