A documentary by Gaurav Jani
28th Dec 2008 ; 5.45 pm
Ashwin Hospital Auditorium
Call : 94430 39630
This is a documentary film about filmmaker Gaurav Jani's solo motorcycle journey from Mumbai to one of the remotest places in the world, the Changthang Plateau in Ladakh, bordering China. The film is even more extraordinary for the fact that Jani was a one-man crew who loaded his 200 kg motorcycle with over 100 kgs of equipment/supplies and set off on a journey to one of the world's most difficult terrains.
“I wanted to make a documentary series about the romance of travel in India: Five bikers on a two-year ride without a proper film unit or a plan. Without a pre-planned screenpl ay and film unit, the documentary was to capture the real experience of travel. “Let’s just go there and take it from there”, like a lot of us who travel footloose without a plan. The film was to capture the little moments that stay with us for a lifetime; the places, the people, the highs and lows of travel.
With minimum luggage, I started off from Vivek Sharma's house in Delhi. The maximum amount of space was occupied by the camera box and camera accessories. The heaviest bag had the bike spares and tools. Once on the road, each time I had to take a shot, I had to untie the camera bag and tripod, remove the camera, tie the camera bag back onto the bike, set the frame, wear the helmet, ride away from the camera, come back to unpack the camera bag on the bike and pack the camera and tripod back onto the bike. Sounds like a lot of work but any film-maker would go to any length to get a good shot.
There are two shots in the film where I have not operated the camera. One shot is in the trailer where the camera pans while I am riding. That shot was taken by a cameraman of the Zee News channel.
Zee News was doing a feature on paragliding near Rohthang pass at Manali and they too were using the same Panasonic camera. I actually wanted to inquire from the cameraman on what all precautions I should take while taking shots in sub-zero temperatures. Second shot was taken by a Royal Beast (a Royal Enfield club from Delhi) member whom I had met en route.
I wanted the Zee News shot in the film as it was the only shot where the camera moves while I am riding, But quite a few people after seeing the shot thought that my claim of filming my own journey was bogus, so in the DVD cut, we have replaced that shot with me riding past the milestone of Rohthang pass.
Filming my own journey on the high altitude region was tough physically, but mentally it was satisfying. Any first-time director would be nervous on the sets, crew and cast waiting for his directions. But for Riding solo... there was no one to judge me or look at me for further instructions. I was filming without any plan or schedule and most importantly, I had complete freedom. A perfect scenario for a first time director . “
- filmmaker Gaurav Jani
Gaurav, also known as Jani, Bhatku (wanderer) or GJ, directs films for Dirt Track Productions. Riding Solo To The Top Of The World is his debut film. Gaurav is a travel freak and a biker. He likes to collect antiques, but doesn’t have the money for it! He is also the founder member of 60kph, Motorcycle Travel Club India. Gaurav functions as a one-man film unit to capture the true essence of travel and it’s highs and lows. He neither believes in planning nor research, preferring instead to trust his instincts and firm resolve. Sometimes things work out the way he wants and sometimes they bomb, but he doesn’t change. He likes to keep things simple and basic, letting his heart rule over his head.
Phone : +91 9833013039
Email : gaurav[at]dirttrackproductions[dot]com