21 young classical dancers from three continents participated in this innovative video, sending a message of hope and cheer while discovering the streaks of creativity hidden inside them.
Our Planet Earth – Under lockdown
Reason – Corona virus
Boredom, hopelessness, lethargy and more – All just a thought away, Right? ‘No! Absolutely not! We disagree, say our young dancers, who are students of celebrated dancer and choreographer Ananda Shankar Jayant.
Jeele – Yehi Tera Time Hai, they say, finding strength in their art, passion, learning and being creative in these times of staying home and growing into the best version of themselves.
“Ab waqt hai bas jee lo – yehi tera time hai!’ is their common refrain.
From their homes across three continents, a message of cheer and hope! All put together in extraordinary team play – Ideated, composed, choreographed, performed, shot and edited during lockdown; as they cajoled their family and friends to be their camerapersons!
Here’s what they have to say!
Krupa Ravi Nithyaesh, the music composer and singer:
“Composing and shooting a rap music video about staying positive amidst COVID-19 was the most unexpected thing I could imagine doing in 2020! I looked up Youtub for non- copyright rap beat tracks to get me going with the composition. This was followed by numerous practice rounds at home, by which time everyone at home was singing along “Jee Le Jee Le”! I managed to record (and re-record) the piece using scrappy headphones, a Macbook and bluetooth speakers :).
“Constantly communicating with our team entirely through Whatsapp and Zoom meetings, we chalked out the visuals. At home, I nudged my husband to shoot me in different locations and times, all the while learning about angles, lights, framing and what not! What followed was takes and retakes at sunrise and sunset! Finally, we got the perfect shot at 7 am, with the perfect lighting and framing! For me, this was an experience where I learnt to rise above constraints and chase passion through grit and determination, taking inspiration from the team!”
Chelna Galada, who lives in USA, but now in India, as her return flight was cancelled:
‘It isn’t easy when you are away from your husband, during these times, but I have been lucky to be at my parents’ home. It was a joy to include and indulge my parents in taking my shots for the song. Making Ma act in front of the camera and dad take the shots was quite entertaining. It’s said one finds joy with little things; here we are finding that joy of togetherness, eating that yummy cake that was prepared for the video! PRICELESS!!!
Poojitha Namburi, who along with Chelna Galada and Aditi Rao, formed the editorial team:
“It was really a fun yet a very pressure-filled experience working with this amazing video project. Being a part of this video has definitely taught me new things… from knowing the basics of videography to putting it all together line by line with my team. This video definitely got us busy during the quarantine, alongside an incredible memory for later!”
Aditi Rao, classical and contemporary dancer:
“As a performer, I have always been the one facing the camera. There lies a whole new world behind the camera to which I was introduced, through this amazing project. My team and I have had so much fun putting everything together. We were all isolated physically, but connected virtually and emotionally. This lockdown didn’tt stop us from unlocking our creativity! Yahi apna time hai! Jee le!”
Yong Anusha Namburi, in the middle of online CA classes, is thrilled:
“Shooting this video has been such a learning experience. From wondering how you’d pass time while staying at home time to having these weeks running by quickly; from struggling to get a two second shot right to learning so much in videography, from thinking about ‘yeh kab khatam hoga’ to ‘yehi tera time hain’. This has been a super fun experience for all of us, by coming together to try something out of comfort zone!”
About finding a cameraperson at home, Sneha Magapu, dancer and software professional, has this to say:
“Ab time hai, ab waqt hai, jee lo apni zindagi is all about finding your own silver lining in these uncertain times. My lockdown story is about being back ‘home’ with parents and my younger brother, a home I left 18 years ago to pursue studies, career and marriage. When this idea of creating a video with my dance friends came up, I knew that my lockdown trouble was going to be my cameraman. I have a camera-shy (read it as shy to even hold the camera, forget be on it), social media averse brother who is kinda “don’t care” about my dancing and creative pursuits. I deliberately chose him to be my cameraman for this venture. It involved a lot of begging, cajoling and making deals. But then it happened. It took a lot of compromises, and a lot of opening up. But we bonded through the process. I think it ignited in him the ‘joy of creating. I have found my little silver lining. Hope you find yours.”
From cold Chicago, writes Krithika Varsha:
“My husband and brother-in-law, with absolutely no idea and experience in classical dance and videography, were roped in to create a small part of the video. The process started off with them playing Ludo game on one phone and shooting with the other, and, of course, driving me mad! After a number of retakes and my nagging, they ended up working with complete focus (much more than I expected) on the angle, lighting, frame, colour combinations, clearing the area. All this presented with a beautiful video, wonderful memories and so much fun!!”
From Bilbao (Spain), writes SamyuktaChillara, a research scholar, waiting out the lockdown from her tiny student apartment:
“My experience of shooting for this video is an embodiment of the spirit of this song – Abhi time hain…..waqt hain! Using all the free time stolen from otherwise busy working days, this was an opportunity to reconnect with old friends, make new friends, dress up once again and dance for the joy of it. Most exciting was to introduce Indian art and culture to a fascinated European, who doubled as my cameraperson, and try something I have never done before – shoot independently for a collaborative video! Through it all, I could stay connected with the world in spite of being forced into loneliness!”
An exultant Guru Ananda Shankar Jayant has to say this:
“As a Guru, I am thrilled that my young students have created a beautiful, thoughtful and yet a peppy and fun video, with simple lyrics, set to a rap tune, and choreographed it in a fusion format. They also planned the cast, who will do what shot, what was the look to be presented, cue sheets, editing sheets, re-shoots etc – all over Zoom meetings and Whatsapp discussions! I’m so happy that they have been able to find strength and positivity through their art. What more can a guru ask for!”
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