The introduction to India in a Day filled me with the same delight as my favorite Disney movies; the slow sleepy normality of daily life that exemplifies the goodness and beauty that exists in the mundane aspects of our life. The concept of a seemingly ‘crowdfunded’ film, using found footage, donated video diaries and snippets of people’s lives to create a touching and refined film filled me with admiration. When discussing the process of creating the film, scouring through thousands of videos and sorting, selecting, and editing them to create a narrative out of a hundred individual voices is a feat in itself. The result is a choir of moments, singing an ode to Indian culture and the impact of technology on the lives of communities and individuals. Although this film is produced by Google, which would create a large bias in the presentation of the impact that technology has had on India, the film portrays a myriad of stories that show the breadth of living conditions and digital interactions in India.
This film struck me in the way it seemed so immensely nostalgic, comfortable and yet also was completely foreign and intriguing. It paints India as a beast of many colors; showing the beauties and harsh realities of life, as well as the vast social hierarchy and differences in quality of life experienced by its citizens. Some scenes seemed like they were shot by my friends in high school, or a zoom call from my cousin’s house; whereas others made me deeply invested in the trials and tribulations of others. A man shows how his whole apartment block uses one neighbor’s wifi, the tangled mess of cords, and the desperation to have an internet connection contrast starkly with a comfortable family’s living room where they are using their phones and cameras like an everyday activity. These realities seem worlds apart. A farmer and his friend are the only people in their village able to check the weather forecast are juxtaposed against a taxi driver making his living talking to people in his tuk-tuk; almost a different dimension from teenagers playing around with their friends.
Through the eyes of the people filming, we are exposed to the ups and downs, beauty and poverty; but the highlighting of a rich life is the most prominent aspect of this film. It shows the way that internet connection and video technology allow us to connect and develop, not only within our own communities but as a global family. To me, this also showed the changing landscape of India that technology brings to the surface, one where the disparity in wealth and education gap gets wider, and people who are not connected get left behind. With a problematic social hierarchy and cast system, gaining social equality and allowing cultural evolution are primary concerns of mine, and I sincerely hope that the addition of technology will lead to a brighter, more just future than a further divided one.