"The Land of Land Rovers" documentary was a part of Land Rover’s 70th anniversary celebrations. The film showcases how a remote Himalayan village relies on a fleet of 1950s Land Rover Series One vehicles to survive. From Maneybhanjang to Sandakphu, we filmed original 1950s Series 1 Land Rover Defenders on their relentless journey up into the clouds.
A rough terrain, extreme weather conditions at an altitude of 3636 m, low oxygen levels, limited resources but a once in a lifetime experience traveling up 65-degree angle roads to reach Sandakphu, along the India- Nepal border – this is what went into making of the film.
The film has been awarded Best Video by a Lifestyle Brand at the Travel Video Awards at the NAB Show in Las Vegas.
The pre-production involved getting a never-ending list of permissions from the Indian Air Force, Forest authorities, municipal corporations, police authorities and the Indian Army. Since we needed to film in a sensitive area (Indo-Nepalese border), the list of permissions was endless. Not only that, but also getting those permissions were next to impossible. Thanks to our well-established network, we managed to sort everything and in time.
It was tricky filming with an international crew along the India- Nepal border, where the left side of the road was Nepalese territory while the right side of the road, Indian. Our biggest fear should have been that someone would decide to go for a walk and cross the border; in reality that thought barely crossed our minds when we were there. The obstacles encountered were multi fold.
The roads were pretty steep (at a 65 degrees angle – imagine that… it is scary) … We were pretty much reliant on the drivers who were also the stars of the show. There were no decent hotels, no restaurants - we relied on make shift shacks (which we christened as 5-star hotels). You’d be lucky if your room had an attached bathroom. Now that was luxury of another level.
Food was available only at the local dhabhas (local Michelin Star Restaurants) and we were more than happy to manage with what was on the menu. It took us all our willpower and a keen eye on the goal to survive the 4 filming days in extreme weather conditions. Ah we didn’t mention - no electricity and no mobile network! Yes, we just about survived. I guess all’s well that ends well.