Life Rewired Shorts: Kasaragod Boys

By Barbican Centre

Through the lens of social media, you can be anyone you want to be. We meet three young men in the predominantly Muslim district of Kasaragod in Kerala, India and see their world the way they project it online through social media, all while exploring the reality of who they actually are and their values.

Life Rewired Shorts / Kasaragod Boys by Vivek Vadoliya (2019/2019) by Vivek VadoliyaBarbican Centre

Still from Kasaragod Boys by Vivek Vadoliya. Part of the Barbican's Life Rewired Shorts film series. (2019/2019) by Vivek VadoliyaBarbican Centre

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.

Still from Kasaragod Boys by Vivek Vadoliya. Part of the Barbican's Life Rewired Shorts film series. (2019/2019) by Vivek VadoliyaBarbican Centre

"I find it both incredible and scary that it's possible to be that connected so easily today"

Still from Kasaragod Boys by Vivek Vadoliya. Part of the Barbican's Life Rewired Shorts film series. (2019/2019) by Vivek VadoliyaBarbican Centre

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.

Still from Kasaragod Boys by Vivek Vadoliya. Part of the Barbican's Life Rewired Shorts film series. (2019/2019) by Vivek VadoliyaBarbican Centre

Still from Kasaragod Boys by Vivek Vadoliya. Part of the Barbican's Life Rewired Shorts film series. (2019/2019) by Vivek VadoliyaBarbican Centre

"It was important for me to discover a more human side of these boys"

Still from Kasaragod Boys by Vivek Vadoliya. Part of the Barbican's Life Rewired Shorts film series. (2019/2019) by Vivek VadoliyaBarbican Centre

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.

Credits: Story

About the filmmaker

Vivek Vadoliya is a London based photographer & director. His aesthetic can be described as intricately sensitive in its social rawness. His personal work adopts an anthropological approach that seeks to document overlooked communities and discover unique subcultures, an inclination that is undoubtedly informed by his lived experience as second generation British Indian.

Life Rewired Shorts are a series of short films produced in collaboration with The Smalls. Each month throughout 2019, we asked filmmakers to explore the ideas behind the Barbican's Life Rewired, a season exploring what it means to be human when technology is changing everything.

The series is supported by the British Council's Anyone / Anywhere, a global season on the 30th anniversary of the birth of the web, looking at the impact of this world-changing invention on every aspect of our lives.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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