Milestones on a 50-day Indian trail

Jul 30, 2014, 07:56 IST | Ruchika Kher

Fifty days, 15 states and a three-person crew — Samrat Parmar and Vishal Sharma undertook a journey across India documenting it whilst promoting backpacking

“All those who wander are not lost.” Inspired by this JRR Tolkein quote, Samrat Parmar (27) and Vishal Sharma (25), who have their own production house, Just About Everything Films, decided to undertake a project to travel the length
and breadth of the country in 50 days and document their experiences.

Vishal Sharma with a Rajasthani Folk singer
Vishal Sharma with a Rajasthani Folk singer

The two youngsters got roped in as the part of a projected initiated by a start-up called Zostel. The project, titled The Best Internship Ever, selected few people to travel all over India for 50 days with a stipend of Rs 50,000. The aim of the activity was to popularise backpacking in India. As an addition to the trip and the primary aim, Parmar and Sharma decided to turn this opportunity into something bigger and made a short film out of their journey.

Samrat Parmar during  the filming of the trip
Samrat Parmar during the filming of the trip

“The main aim of this journey was to promote backpacking in India, and inspire people in India to travel more. Zostel is a chain of backpacking hostels and they want to change the way India travels,” says Parmar. The youngsters, along with three more participants, a representative from Zostel and a sound recordist, covered Jodhpur, Ajmer, Pushkar, Delhi, Amritsar, Rishikesh, McLeodganj, Varanasi, Bodhgaya, Gwalior, Nagpur, Kolkata, Puri, Hampi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Goa, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Udaipur and Jaipur from May 19 to July 7.

Here, the team is seen shooting a  part of the trip
Here, the team is seen shooting a part of the trip

“The journey had us travelling all over India. We did not stay at one place for more than two days and covered 15 states,” shares Parmar, not forgetting to add that the journey wasn’t easy, given that the travels were made in the summer season.
“We travelled in the peak of summer and there were no A/C buses or trains for us since we were backpacking. Along with that, we had 30 bags to six people, all of them heavy and not to mention, the equipment we carried including slider, steadicam, tripod, three cameras, boom, mics, etc,” recalls the young participant.

He admits that the shoot was challenging because their crew had just three members, “I had to direct, do the camera work and also edit after each day’s shoot. Vishal was doing camera and helped me in sorting out footage and also took care of on-production and post-production glitches, if any cropped up.”

He talks of Vivek Cheruku (the sound recordist) as well, who was a great help. “Treating each city with a different style of presentation — after immersing yourself into that city just within hours — was also quite a challenge, but then it just happened, magically,” informs Parmar, who still can’t get over his experiences in Kochi and McLeodganj, especially.

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