Documentary Movies

Jay Raiveeson wants to show India through a documentary

Jay Raiveeson is on a ten-year-long mission to showcase India that’s often not documented

Filmmaker Jayaprathab Mathuraiveeran’s (popularly known as Jay Raiveeson among the film fraternity) first video folder called Exploring Chennai dates back to 2010. He has been on the move since then, shooting various places in India; he now awaiting to shoot in Mizoram shortly. “I plan to release my documentary in 2020, which marks the 10th year of my project. My documentary is an ode to our country and its people,” says Jay.

Cinematographer, camera operator and filmmaker Jay had to change his name when he was shooting a film for NY film school and found the ‘white’ people struggling to pronounce his name. “My name has my father’s name in it and it annoys me to hear people pronouncing it wrong. So, I designed a name for my company that will have a few elements of everything — my name, my profession and a part of my father’s name,” he says.

Jay Raiveeson wants to show India through a documentary

Jay was in Hyderabad to speak at a travel meet up organised by Chennai-based Wandermile, a startup travel company that takes up experimental travel in India. Jay’s purpose of speaking at the meet was to emphasise the need to travel in your own country and get to know the people. He realised this after movies like Slumdog Millionaire and Born into brothels highlighted only a part of India. “India isn’t all about poverty, slums and snake charmers. Ours is a beautiful country which is not yet known to many people. Until the thought crossed my mind, I too hadn’t seen much of India. I couldn’t stop thinking about doing something to bring out the beauty of our country through my camera skill and knowledge of filming,” recollects Jay.

A student of the US-based Digital Film Academy, Jay returned to India to work in films. After working in a few movies in Mumbai, Jay went back to Chennai where he had an opportunity to work with Gautam Menon and made some decent money to help him buy more equipment. Once the equipment was in place, Jay set out on his journey, one state at a time, collecting footage and memories. He’d return home to work and earn when his bank balance becomes empty.

“I don’t go with a plan. I, however try and go during the best season for the best capture. To certain places I have travelled repeatedly to get a desired shot and sometimes because the love and warmth of the people draws me to them,” adds Jay.

Jay Raiveeson wants to show India through a documentary

The expert drone operator says sometimes some messages on social media fills his heart with joy. Those people who’s help he sought for translation or directions occasionally leave messages enquiring about his well being. “Where else will one find this. During one such impulsive visit I landed in Gujarat for the kite festival. After I shot some photos, two constables put me in a vehicle and whisked me away. With my negligible knowledge in Hindi I couldn’t understand what was happening. I wondered if I was in trouble for shooting a video without permission. After we reached the destination much to my relief, I was standing in a huge hall with more than 300 women cooking. I was made to understand later, these ladies were cooking a meal for a feast at the kite festival. They fed me till I was unable to move and later added me to their WhatsApp group. Every kite festival, they send me wishes,” says Jay.

As a traveller and filmmaker, Jay feels the more the we travel as responsible citizens we can do a lot to save wildlife as well. “No one talks about Pobitora Sanctuary in Assam. The passionate and selfless forest guards and villagers protect the rhinos in the sanctuary,” says Jay. When his family raises concern about spending time in northeast, Jay has a simple answer, “I tell them, ‘I will be worried about walking the streets of Mumbai or Delhi alone but feel safe in the dead of the night in Nagaland or Manipur,” says Jay.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 8:56:11 AM |

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