Rohan Thakur and Bharati Bahrani (pictured) had planned to take a helicopter from Rohtang Pass to Lahaul in Himachal Pradesh to attend Phagudi, hoping to take rare aerial shots of the mountain range for a travel documentary they wanted to shoot. Denied permission by the authorities — the services are only for emergencies — they couldn’t make it for the festival as planned. Armed with two DSLR cameras, a GoPro and an iPhone, the two instead took an adventurous detour through Manali, Kangra, Chamba, Kinnaur and Spiti in a hatchback car, to reach their original destination, only several weeks later.
These impromptu trips taken by Thakur and Bahrani form the heart of Way Back Home, a new travel show to be aired on Pepsi MTV Indies. Described as “a potpourri of music, adventure, travel and culture”, what sets the show apart from other travelogues in India is its informal, personal touch.
The duo filmed it as a travelogue—for a newly formed production company Shoelace films—even before Indies came into the picture. Music is an integral part of the show. The songs that Thakur wrote on the four-month long trip, one for each of the seven valleys the show covers, are going to air in alternate episodes.
“We had a basic idea of where we needed to be and by when, but nothing else was planned. Everything else that forms the ‘content’ of the TV show, was spontaneous,” says Thakur. For the 28-year-old filmmaker-musician of Himachali origin, the project started as a trip of self-discovery. Bahrani, a friend of Thakur’s and a script supervisor for major Bollywood production houses with an insatiable wanderlust, joined in.
Thakur says the travelogue was a medium through which he could tell his “family and extended family’s stories”. “It features tales of people who have retired and are living this perfect life in the mountains that we, from the cities, long for,” says Thakur.