India, March 1 -- Documentary filmmaker Ranjan Kamath, 58, has always been an archivist. When he was a kid, one of his favourite activities was to make scrapbooks of newspaper clippings. As an adult, his films have recorded the life and work of Jesuit missionaries (Fishers of Men,1997), jazz pianist Madhav Chari (Tam Bram in a Jazz Jam, 2006) and theatre great Habib Tanvir (Tanvir Ka Safarnama, 2007).

Kamath's latest project is the Mitra Tantra Archive of Personal Narratives, videos that record the histories of luminaries and lay people. Long, free-flowing interviews are uploaded on to his YouTube channel in short, serialized clips, between 30 seconds and three minutes long. He's published 20 histories so far, and they range from Bharat ...