Nov 20, 2006

Riding Solo: The film, full review

Gaurav Jani, Riding Solo To the Top Of The WorldSomeone had written in to ask with some astonishment that I had recommended Gaurav Jani’s film as a must watch having watched only forty minutes. Well, he was right, I was wrong. I should never have stopped at forty minutes and I should have called it a must have from the off. Here’s why.

I’ve now been in front of the moving picture camera more than a couple of time, and I’ve been behind a few times as well. I’ve learnt to grudgingly respect those who wield it, bow to those who control it and learnt to stay away from this time-consuming, irritatingly brief and utterly exhausting medium. Much easier to write I say.

If Gaurav (I don’t know him, but after the film, that line of distinction has blurred a bit, I think) was to write a book about his travels to Changthang, it’d be easy. Wrap a notebook, a few pencils, a few pens, the tent and a camera and off you go. You need to input to write down your thoughts and this would be easy. In a month, you’d have enough material to write about. Ladakh is the gorgeous-est place on Earth, all photos would be printable and heart-stopping. And everyone who has ever been there and loved it would want two copies. Sold!

But a one man film unit is another proposition all together. Gaurav had to record the footage, the sound, setup the shots, compose the frames and ride the 10,000-odd kilometres to Changthang and back, all on his own. That is superhuman.

Now, by the standard of the average film critic, is this film a tour de force? I don’t care. I think the film is above all, honest, spontaneous, real, entertaining, revealing and most importantly human. Gaurav Jani captures the very essence of his journey in a very personal, very candid fashion while collecting miles of jaw-droppingly good-looking footage. You could not ask for more, really. If I were Jani, I’d retire quoting this as my magnum opus and it’d be perfect.

Getting material of this quality for Rs 600 is a steal. So do the deed, get to I guarantee the results. Either you’ll relive your trip the Ladakh in the space of 94 minutes in full colour, or you’ll ride to Leh at the first opportunity.

1 comment:

Nyctophobia said...

had read about this docu some time back in some mag... can't wait to get my hands on tht dvd : )

it still surprises me how he managed all that !!!