The documentary took more than 100 hours of filming, was unscripted, and highlights the linguistic and religious diversity, peace, and coexistence in India.
Rabat – With a population estimated at more than 1.4 billion people, India is home to more than 28 local languages and 13 religions, and yet many Indians share the same serenity and enthusiasm about life and living.
Two Moroccan travel enthusiasts, Aymane Boubouh and Mehdi Bennaceri, headed to India to create the documentary “Maany from India” (Meanings from India), documenting harmony and solidarity in Indian cultures.
The two, who have been friends for 15 years, shared their documentary at a special presentation in Rabat on Tuesday, with the presence of India’s ambassador to Morocco, Shambhu Kumaran.
For Boubouh, a 38-year-old surgeon, and Bennaceri, a 40-year-old publisher, the trip was more of a learning experience than a work trip to shoot a documentary.
“We had nothing planned in advance and embarked on a journey to India as soon as we saw a special flight offer from the airline Emirates,” Boubouh said.” We already had some free miles with the airline and used them to get a discount for their exploration trip.”
Speaking about the production of the documentary, Boubouh said “all the shooting parts came spontaneously.”
“Traveling is considered one of the best [kinds of] soul and mindset therapy. It does not only allow you to discover other countries’ cultures and richness but it gives you a chance to alter your vision about life,” Boubouh said. The Moroccan surgeon embraced traveling to escape a tiresome daily routine.
During their journey, Boubouh and Bennaceri spent 21 days interacting with Indian people and learning about their daily lives.
“I was astonished by the level of coexistence among Indian people despite their multiple religions, unlike other nations,” Boubouh said.
When interacting with people, the two partners noticed that everyone spoke positively, not complaining about their living conditions or criticizing their government. And this, Bennaceri said, came from their cooperative spirit.
At one point, Boubouh and Benanceri visited Rishikesh, a city they call the World Capital of Yoga and the holiest city in India, situated at the gate of the Himalayas. At a yoga session, the two Moroccans learned that happiness is linked with the body’s health.
“It’s so peaceful… No matter how agitated your mind is when you arrive at Rishikesh it cleans you. The first couple of days is like a physical and mental detox” said a yoga master. “No matter how your life is back at home, here you can find your inner peace.”
“This demonstrates that poverty is not the main factor for sadness. It is, however, the state of mind that plays a crucial role in someone’s happiness,” said Boubouh.
Ambassador Kumaran said the video’s theme is “very significant, as it talks about diversity and harmony and these are the values that are very important in today’s world.”
“I was very impressed,” Kumaran said about Boubouh and Bennaceri’s efforts. “This is a constructive contribution to the dialogue between India and Morocco.”
In bilateral dialogue, Kumaran said, “the most meaningful and sustainable format of interaction [is] between people.”
Bennaceri and Boubouh also run a blogging website, Maany life, which they use to share articles and videos by aspiring Arab creators encouraging thoughtful perspectives.
Boubouh is a 38-year-old surgeon who lives to travel, write, and create digital content. He co-founded Maany.life as well as numerous initiatives in various fields, including civic engagement, health entrepreneurship, and childhood education.
Bennaceri is a 40-year-old traveler and owner of a multimedia production studio, Hardlight.