Isn’t there something fascinating about trains and window seats? From the young to the old, whether it is a luxurious carriage or a common bogey in a local train, there is almost no soul in our country who isn’t drawn to the charm of these wagons.
A filmmaker from Pune, Shanu Babar has set out to capture the magic of the railways, and window seats, through a project titled ‘The Window Seat Project’; the stories he has to tell are absolutely heartwarming! Shanu, who is currently filming the latest season of Masterchef India, tells us about his journey.
Through this project, Shanu has been putting together hundreds of stories from travellers across the country using the hashtag #windowseatproject. “This project narrates something that I have actually experienced, near the window seat, and I’m sure a lot of people must be able to relate to it. Once you sit near one, the breeze simply pushes you to travel in your memories, and I have had a lot of them since childhood. So, as a grownup when I saw the opportunity, I took it to see what other people do when they sit by the window and look out at the country. The idea of this project is to know what kind of India people see when they look out from the train,” explains Shanu about the idea behind the project.
The stories encapsulate many beautiful moments we fail to notice, which usually accompany our journeys. “The notion of travel, and seeing your country unfold in a million ways from a window seat was my aim. This project helps in finding the common thread that unites this nation — the railways. Trains are the veins of this nation, and I’m trying to capture the romanticism of the world seen through a window seat.
It helps in understanding the diversity in all aspects of our nation, and what holds us all together despite all the differences,” the 25-year-old filmmaker elaborates, when asked about what he’d like to accomplish through the project.
Shanu says he started off with the project a few months ago by inviting his friends to share their experiences using the hashtag. Shanu adds — “It started with some friends and other train enthusiasts on Instagram, who all gladly shared their experiences. Then it slowly increased, and the stories kept rolling in, and today the project has more than 10,000 hashtags and over 16,000 followers. I look for photographs that are both aesthetically and technically sound.”
Currently busy with filming the latest season of Masterchef India, Shanu wants to take the project ahead. “I am looking forward to associating with brands, and crowdfunding the project so I can travel the length and breadth of the country and shoot the journey, asking people about what they see when they look out from their window seats. I have planned around 12 episodes,” he says on a concluding note.