Preface: Season 2 is well underway! Sorry for the delay in posting these up, but as you can imagine, juggling multiple productions takes quite a bit of resources! Anway, heres a look at episode 2! Mumbai.
We just wrapped out first episode of the season in Mumbai and what an epic way to start the returning series, Road Less Traveled. Last season, we covered the entire expanse of India, from the Himalayas to down south in Kerala, from the western most point in Rajasthan to the ghats of Kolkata… But we missed out on one major part of India….Mumbai! It was an episode of pure contrasts; Jonathan got an up close and personal look at the Dharavi slums. From the slums, he contrasts his experience to the extreme by staying at the Rajput Suite at the Taj Mahal Palace in Colaba, one of the world’s finest hotel establishments. What a treat that was! But Jonny’s true adventure spirit came knocking when he bailed on his suite to make an impromptu exploration into the deep of night.. His search was for the NRKs, the Night Rat Killlers! Finding these guys was a little bit difficult, but sure enough, with a little perseverance, we found them! Jonny’s ability as a rat killer was questionable, but this was undoubtedly an awesome segment for the show. After this, Jonathan pulled up his pants and trudged through the murky cubicles of the world’s largest human-powered laundry! Everyone may recognize this as one of Mumbai’s landmarks, but Jonathan got the ultimate insight; not only did he wash the clothes, he hand delivered them to an unsuspecting family! And finally, with one last mad rush for a chance at Bollywood, Jonathan gets trained by India’s most prominent acting coach, Roshan Taneja! With his skillset honed, he gets a last minute chance at the soap opera Madhubala, which is a highly rated program on Colors TV.
THOUGHTS: Jonathan and I are quite experienced in filming in India; I’ve filmed in so many instances in India since 2005, and I’ve always found the country notoriously complicated to shoot in crowded situations. However, Mumbai was the one place where it was a delight to bust out a camera, and no one in the immediate vicinity cared. This made life quite easy for us, not to mention, it greatly expedited our shoot time in the city. India is one of those places where your shelter could be anything from sketchy to the world’s best.. In terms of opulence, no one can match the Taj hotel brand, really! I’m not just saying that because they rolled out the red carpet, completely unassociated from the RLT production, I was vacationing in Mumbai the week prior to Jonathan flying in, and I personally stayed at the Taj Lands End in Bandra.. Probably the most impeccable 5 star service I have come across. Everyone from the chauffeur to the concierge was highly trained, courteous, and the whole experience oozed total class. After an almost year-long hiatus, the production rolled off smoothly as one can imagine. Jonathan and I have a very unique working relationship where we know exactly what each other is thinking and what each other needs to do in order to make sure things progress without a hitch. This season, we’ve tweaked the concept a little bit where we literally roll into a location for an episode, and do the research/setup while on spot. We have an idea of what we want to do, which covers maybe 20% of the episode’s total run time, the rest – we improvise and find material as we go along. Sure, certain things like corporate matters (filming with the Taj) require a bit of setup, but its safe to say that 90% of the episode is built from scratch, right when our boots hit the ground. There is a segment where Jonathan gets his acting chops critiqued by Roshan Taneja, India’s most prominent acting coach. I’d say, 80% of the current crop of Bollywood stars all hailed from the Roshan Taneja acting school. It was a delight to see Jonathan ‘act’ in front of the entire class and Mr. Taneja. I was surprised at his acting prowess! Once we wrapped with the class, all the aspiring students mobbed us to ask us questions and take pictures with us , etc. Jonathan gave them an inspiring pep talk about not giving up, it was a good day. We got to hang out with Mr. Taneja for a bit, discussing television and film, and soon we were whisked away to the Colors TV studio in Goregaon Film City. The head of fiction department at Colors TV pulled some strings for us so we could incorporate Jonny into a scene. I’ve been in the business since 2005 but I’ve never seen Indian television production at work. This was my chance! The crew was very friendly, but you could definitely tell they were under pressure to wrap their day’s hectic schedule. They quickly incorporated us into a scene, we filmed, and got outta there typical RLT Ninja style. Filming in India felt great, it was a totally surreal experience filming in Mumbai; so vastly different than all my prior filming experience in the rest of the country. We’ve got at least 1 pilot and 1 documentary to shoot in India this year, so i’m looking forward to getting to it. For now, its prep for episode 2, which takes place in Amsterdam and then we hop on the world’s largest cargo ship which ferries us to Morocco! See you next time!
SD | MEDIA