It’s just the way the cookie crumbled ~ Rahul Jain
Rahul Jain’s documentary about the textile factories in Gujarat, is much more than what this description suggests. As we chat with him about the inspiration behind Machines and his future plans, he reveals a side to him that is in a state of examination of all that is around and within him. Rahul’s vision seems to be of a transcendental nature, and his visual sensibility in Machines is a testimony of his observations.
What compelled you to get into filmmaking?
I have always harbored, since my earliest memories, an innate anthropological curiosity. Simultaneously, I feel very helpless about the way the world is. I am very interested in narratives. All these things collude to my being a filmmaker.
How did you end up making Machines as your debut feature?
There wasn’t any predetermined decisive elements here, it’s just the way the cookie crumbled. I was immeasurably moved by this subject, thinking about it a lot; like my whole life, and once I got the opportunity and space, I went for it. You don’t just wake up one day and make something like this, a lot of subconscious feelings and thoughts were behind me here.
Machines is an observation of a some of the poorest working conditions in the country. Do you feel that artists with privilege should contribute to the society in their capacities? Or do you feel art should remain merely an expression of oneself?
The only responsibility an artist has is to their vision of the world. If they are honest and uncompromising with themselves and that vision, the work will come out as a rarefied perspective to offer the world, a reflective glimpse of itself which possibly moves those who experience it. Hopefully the artist has got something to say because they are compulsively paralyzed and unable to do or say anything else. I could have made a similar film in a completely different setting and another filmmaker would have made a completely different film in the same setting.
As a first time filmmaker, what were the challenges and what are your fears?
I did feel that I should do the subject I am working with a justice, that I shouldn’t be moved or influenced by anything else that strays me from the path. I had a lot of material for the film, and I didn’t want to fall down the rabbit hole of young filmmaker trying to say too much.
What is next for you?
In my age, I feel I have to take and learn more from the universe before I head out to create my own universe, thus I am working on a nonfiction film for my next project and hopefully can use my lessons learnt to create something original and fresh.