INDIA. The importance of fitness has resurfaced as medical practitioners around the globe talk about better immunity and overall health because of COVID-19. Both new and traditional ways of keeping oneself fit and healthy have become popular but many have not maintained a healthy lifestyle. Following Ayurvedic diets and yoga seems to prove effective for some, but there is an overall increase in diet and lifestyle-related diseases which are due to a lack of proper self-care.
Before this pandemic hit the world, fitness in India was associated with more than body and mind. Even today in millions of Indian middle-class homes, where arranged marriage is still a truth, Indian girls are told to stay slim, fit, and look beautiful just to get a suitable match.
For parents whose daughter does not fit in this societal stereotype, finding a partner can prove to be difficult.
FIT INDIA, a short film promoting, is a take on the life of such a woman’s story. Her parents are concerned that her age and non-normative body may infringe on her ability to find a suitable match.
Trigger for making ‘Fit India’ short film after listening to the Indian Prime Minister
The idea came from Vijay Bansal, Mukesh Rathi, Tarun Mittal, and Naresh Kumar of Vijay Arts after listening to Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister, appeal to Indians for a fit India. The group approached Rajeev Barnwal, the writer & director of this film, with the idea. Rajeev’s own experience with his sister inspired him to bring the story to an audience.
“Basically I belong to middle-class family,” Gazal Ankush Nasine told Transcontinental Times. “So all these situations I have personally seen, felt, and understood, which motivated me to do something creative and inspired by the idea to bring this social message.”
The story conveyed an occurrence that is so common in Indian houses that it became popular across the country. To make it more entertaining, Rajeev and his team decided to add a bit of comedy.
Executing the idea into the short film was not easy for Simrat Kaur, the producer & the founder of Lotpot films. The biggest challenge for the film was its casting. The goal was to have a lead woman who is fearless, carefree, independent while being respectful to her parents. She also could not fit the stereotype of beauty for the film’s message to make sense. With limited actresses that fit the physique, Simrat went through most of them and finalized Akshaya Naik for the lead role. Akshaya Naik is well known for her TV series, Ye Rishta Kya Kahlata Hai. The rest of the casting fell in place with Priyanka Bedi playing her mom and Akash Talwar playing the lead male actor. The film was shot in various locations in Mumbai, captured beautifully on camera by Sapan Narula and his team.
Sujeet Shetty, his team, Sumanta Das, and lyricist Astha Jagiasi brought the film to life with their peppy background score and a fun-filled melodious song “Fit-Faat”.
Making the film was not the only task at hand, the team then had to publicize its release and figure out logistics. Coincidentally, Simrat Kaur bumped into Gazal Ankush Nashine, from the USA, over a social media platform and the idea of releasing the film over youtube excited them a lot.
They got Vijay Garg of Indus TV, Swathi Nelabhatla, and Deepali Khadakban on board to release the film both in India and the United States simultaneously. This short film is an example of online collaboration between two like-minded parties across the globe from one another amidst a pandemic.
Fit India can be found on Lotpot film’s YouTube Channel in India and Indus TV in the USA.