How does your film respond to the ideas behind Life Rewired?
As India is becoming one of the most hyper-digital country, young Indians are exploring their identity on social media. The film challenges modern notions of masculinity within India through an online subculture of boys who call themselves ‘Freakers’, breaking through their online persona to examine who they are offline.
I wanted to explore how young men in India use the internet to define their masculinity and identity. India is one of the few countries that have skipped having the internet at home - it came straight to their smartphones and alongside came social media and apps like music.ly. I'm fascinated by how the boys use social media to discover new styles from the Middle East, South Korea and even the US. They reinterpret what they see online and make it their own. It’s weird, I find it both incredible and scary that it's possible to be that connected so easily today. Whilst spending time with the boys, it was interesting about how some of them chase hundreds of likes, whilst others use it to connect with friends within the subculture.
I find it both incredible and scary that it's possible to be that connected so easily today
Can you explain the process behind the making of your film?
Over the past 10 years, I’ve increasingly been spending more and more time in India. I’ve noticed a huge shift from grandparents to young kids, all obsessed with their smartphones. I really felt a big change in the country, and it’s partly been really innovative but also terrifying. After a friend showed me some YouTube videos of boys from Kasaragod, I became obsessed and followed many of their Instagram accounts that feature and celebrate the boys. I’ve been captivated at the spectrum of different styles, from more extreme haircuts with lots of colour to large groups of boys wearing identical clothing. I found the use of colour, pose and style so mesmerising, I had to find out who these boys where. I think it was important for me to discover a more human side of these boys, which is something more raw and real that contrasts from who they are online.
I think it was important for me to discover a more human side of these boys
What does the filmmaker of the future look like?
The filmmaker of the future is anyone with a smartphone, you don’t need to have any fancy gear to create.