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When you follow a filmmaker in search of a story, you know things might get interesting. More so when this character is creating the story himself on-the-go, with no pre-planned notions on how it will pan out. So it was with Nagesh Kukunoor, the filmmaker and actor, with highly acclaimed movies like Hyderabad Blues, Iqbal and Dor to his credit.
Nagesh and I came together down south for the shoot of the MyEndeavour alterrain series being produced by Ford India and the National Geographic channel. He was on a personal quest to complete an unfinished road trip he had undertaken in 1995, and seek out any possible settings and stories for his future films. And he picked up a Ford Endeavour alterrain edition (http://www.india.ford.com/suvs/endeavour) to drive from Munnar in Kerala to Coorg in Karnataka via Palakkad in Kerala and Coonoor in Tamil Nadu.
It was just as well that we were in a comfortable and sturdy car, because the journey certainly demanded the most from man and machine. Just reaching our camp on day one took us over a body rattling roads which never seemed to end even though it was just over two miles. In the days that followed, Nagesh drove the Endeavour over winding mountainscapes and off-roads on days that stretched far into the night.
But the fun lay in the challenge. When you wake up amidst tea gardens, and find the air cool and refreshing, the body forgets to be tired. Driving on roads passing through forested areas in the middle of the night, looking out for any animals who may have strayed beyond the reserve areas, becomes a game of anticipation in itself. Preparing fresh cheese for high tea in Coonoor with another celebrated filmmaker is a treat for sure. And after joining elephants in their bath in Coorg, you will never feel quite the same under a shower back home.
Sounds tempting? Did you want to come along too? Would have loved to have you on board, but we could only take that many. Ford India did run a contest in advance, and a lucky winner got to ride along. But you don’t have to feel disappointed - tune in to National Geographic channel in India on June 30, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. for a drive with Nagesh Kukunoor.
I am not telling you what you will get to view on the show. But here is a curtain-raiser; watch this space for more. You can also view more images at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151321095530770.1073741830.108449295769. You can also catch a glimpse of what awaits on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrfolW_JIXw.