'We had been warned about Mumbai's monsoon!'
After his recent video of an autorickshaw ride through a water-logged road went viral, popular global filmmaker Dan Mace gets candid about filming in Mumbai, meeting fans and being amped about Jacqueline Fernandez's YouTube debut
You decided to extend your stay in India and tweeted, "Far too many stories to tell in one week." What has been your most interesting discovery on this trip?
What happened is the very first time I came to India (in 2018), my experience was slightly sheltered. I was doing an IPL commercial on a film set with lots of people. Everything was perfect, a little too perfect I guess. I was looked after and carted around from place to place so I never got to experience the raw sides of India. Before coming I had the expectation that it was going to be different, smoother, how it runs, how it works — like public transport and eating food in market places, the things that make India uniquely India which I hadn’t experienced. So I had to experience it for myself, and needed time to do that naturally.
Then, as I arrived we came smack bang into monsoon, which was frankly horrifying, it felt very exposed. It is very exposed. We spent a couple of days inside and then I went to a meet up, which was just incredible — like-minded people, no matter what the culture, everyone seems on the same, global, 'Bru' wave length — a community of friendship — something very important to me. The ideology of Bru has made such an impact in India. One of the big reasons I extended my stay was to explore more of that in India as well as work and meet more like-minded people.
Then, I've also stayed [longer] because I feel I wouldn’t be able to tell enough of a full-rounded story in a single episode.
Could you tell us about your new film and in what way does it deviate from your past projects?
The first film [The Real Mumbai Musical] is a broad take on Mumbai — celebrating the unsung daily heroes, the people who make this city move. Without giving anyone a particular centre stage. That's why we used diegetic sounds, to sync all the beauties, and create one strung together soundtrack that represented its space, its intersections in a beautiful way — the importance of rhythm is that it shows how one part needs the next part and how the more you merge together the more unique and beautiful the sound track becomes, the same as human beings. People live very close together, and I think the first film is a really beautiful showcase of the sounds of different people and their surroundings and its a great way to show that in a short space of time without diving too deep into any one thing, but coming out with enough depth to contextualise an authentic feeling. The new film — for next week — dives into personal growth and levels of self doubt, through making a film in Bollywood. On one side it will be highly entertaining and on the other, it has a deeper, more global emotional message.
Arriving in Mumbai was very intense. The cab driver was praying loudly the entire ride. I saw a group of people swimming accross the high-way and getting washed into a rickshaw. pic.twitter.com/G50qUPqbSu— Dan Mace (@Dannmace) July 8, 2019
Your arrival into the city — through a water-logged road — was really quite intense even for us to watch. Could you sum up your experience and what prompted the decision to film it?
Totally. We had been warned about the monsoon season, and looked at a video titled something like 'Worst Monsoon Rains In India Ever' and thought "yeah, but it won't be that bad!" Upon arriving, it was actually worse. What prompted me to film it was that it was a sight to behold, and my general reaction to experiences like that these days is to film. Maybe in a way it (my camera) helps me through scarier moments.
How did the Mumbai meet-up with your fans go? Are there any Indian YouTubers you follow or are aware of?
The meet-up was awesome. It never feels as if I have 'fans' its as if I've created a circle of people that are essentially friends because we share the same mindset and understanding, the same primitive need to connect and to be accepted. The right people gravitate towards that idea because I'm not afraid to speak about that core human truth. Every time I meet people and they say they watch my films and enjoy them it feels like a friendship not a fan thing. It was like a big appreciation crew of really cool, real people. As for YouTubers, yes! [I follow] Bhuvan Bam, Sandeep Maheshwari, Tanmay Bhat, and I know Jacqueline Fernandez is starting a Youtube channel which I am amped about.
Mumbai on my mind
Three places in the city you'd recommend visiting and why:
- Chor Bazar: Really rad secondhand market; you can buy anything there.
- Dharavi: A beautiful slum. Very colourful.
- Marine Drive: The Queen’s Necklace. Really beautiful.
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