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Riding solo to the top

Archana Mishra, March 19, 2013, DHNS: 0:52 IST
Starting his career as an assistant to ace filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma, Gaurav Jani never imagined that one day he would turn into a biker who would be making his own travel documentaries. His debut, Riding Solo To The Top of the World has been highly praised internationally and won 11 awards in 21 film festivals including the Best Documentary at the 53rd National Film Awards, 2005.

“I always wanted to make films. I joined RGV and was assigned to reece locations for Jungle. In those few months I realised that a different world exists which people don’t get to see or know about. I was fascinated by nature and soon after completing the shoot for Jungle, I switched over to travelling,” shares Gaurav.

“I left the film industry to fulfill my dreams of being a traveller. But at the same time, I realised that travel documentaries in the true sense of the word do not exist in our country. Having being in film production for years, I could easily figure out which films were being planned and which were spontaneous,” says the biker, who has three documentaries to his credit - Riding Solo on Top of the World, One Crazy Ride and Motorcycle Chang Pa.

What does the one-unit man look for, while shooting in the mountainous terrain? “There are two things I want to capture. Spontaneity and the surprise that come as a challenge everyday when you are moving without a plan,” says Gaurav.

How difficult is filmmaking in the mountains? “Obviously, at 30,000 feet it is difficult to shoot. There is a tremendous physical challenge to handle ourselves as well as the camera on that terrain. But at the same time it a mental challenge too, to capture the landscapes and to justify what I have viewed,” says Gaurav.

But the future remains a mystery still. “You cannot make plans when you are a film maker. I am focussing on the Motorcycle Chang Pa and its entry in various film festivals as it highlights my journey in the harsh winter climatic conditions of Ladakh.” Under the learning and the experience, also lies a piece of sound advice: “Every ride teaches you something. It is important to do a short journey in the initial years but you need to start solo and experience the world by yourself.”

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