When music weds travel, priceless artistic journeys are born. That is the essence of a road trip by by five youths from Pala, who went around in three bikes covering 30 locations in ten states across the country spanning 7,000 kilometers - all for the cause of a song they wanted to produce.
All this for a shoestring budget of Rs 1,30,000.
The song, aptly titled, 'The Road' and released under the banner of Ondraga Entertainment is now a rage.
It was music director Anoop Nirichan who suggested freelance filmmaker Ananthu Rajan to produce a music video for the song he had rendered. It didn't take much time for Ananthu to come up with the idea as the feel of the song had a travel vibe.
Ananthu churned out a script and decided to travel across India -- from Kochi to Kashmir -- on a bike along with four others. The music video was created by them by travelling on two Royal Enfield Bullets and one Apache 160.
Led by Ananthu Rajan, who is also the director of the song, the team started their trip for making the video from Kochi on June 27 last year.
Cameraman Bibin Joseph, actor Ranjith Nair, Akhil Santhosh and Arun Babu accompanied him. They returned on July 30, 2019 after finishing the project, but the journey wasn't easy.
Ananthu and his friend Akhil started their research in March and made a proper route map for their journey.
“None of us went for long bike rides and we were amateurs. All we had was a passion to make this project. So we planned for two months so that it becomes successful. We also asked around experienced travellers and some YouTube tutorials too came of use,” says Ananthu.
They carried their luggage and equipment on the bikes. “We had few camera lenses and some basic equipment but made sure to cut down on our clothes in order to pack light,” adds Ananthu.
Their initial idea was to put up tents in petrol pumps in the night but it was raining in most of the places. “I had the responsibility to make sure that my friends who came for me be comfortable. So we found lodging in various places to stay overnight,” says Ananthu.
Safety was also a big challenge. The riders weren't experienced enough to manoeuvre the roads of Ladakh. They also had a minor accident when one bike skidded off the road. “We were really scared but the people there helped us and made sure that we are comfortable. I got the opportunity to meet such wonderful people through the journey,” recalls Ananthu.
The group also did not have proper shoes or jackets to withstand the cold weather, but they managed.
But Ananthu confesses that he was tensed throughout the journey though he tried his best to enjoy.
Funds for the journey
Ananthu had started his journey with less than Rs 50,000 but by the time he reached Delhi, he was short of money. Thanks to his cousins and friends who supported him by paying whatever he wanted. By the end of the journey, he had spent Rs 1,30,000. “We got almost all shots we had planned from various places though there were financial hurdles. But I never asked any of my friends who accompanied me to chip in as this was my project,” says Ananthu.
The challenge was after the journey. “I had to return the money and I didn't have much income as I work as a freelancer. So I had to sell my camera to pay all the loans I had taken,” Ananthu says.
The post-production of the video took almost a year due to the financial difficulties and the COVID-induced lockdown. Roping in a professional editor was not an easy task and so Ananthu learnt himself and donned the role.
“I always wanted to do credible work that could help me give an identity of my own. Taking these risks was part of it,” says a proud Ananthu.
When the video was under production, Ananthu decided to contact director Gautham Vasudev Menon's production company.
“If he had not directed Varanam Aayiram, I would have never hoped to become a filmmaker,” he says.
He pitched his work and to his surprise the production company responded. “Once the project was over, I sent it to the group and they liked it. 'The Road' was thus launched under Ondraga Entertainment,” he says.
Ananthu is now on cloud nine as his favourite director has tweeted and shared his journey on social media. More celebrities including VK Prakash and Vincent Pepe have shared his travel song. While Anoop Nirichan has rendered the music to the lyrics of Babu T T, the voice was lent by Crishna. The lyrics reflect the diverse culture, traditions, rituals and art of various parts of the country.