My crazy adventure leads me to a village on the outskirts of pune this time. Owing to my job profile of handling Photo & Video shoots for the brand i work for, this trip was planned. This time it was a Commercial Vehicle Loan video shoot. The producer we hired was famous for selecting unique & far away places for his shoots thanks to the production agency they worked with.
The destination was a village called Parinche gaon(Village). The route led us from the end of the Mumbai-Pune expressway to Saswad upriver Phata, then again some 20 kms into Parinche Village, aggregating upto 60-65 kms away from Pune city. I was harrowed by the entire journey; one being it took too long and the other being fear. The driver was drowsy and was falling asleep while driving the car we hired. He apparently didn’t sleep well last night and was giving us shivers every time a car passed by too close. Inspite of the Tea cups and music, it was a surmountable job to keep him awake. So eventually we ended up not resting until we reached our destination. The 5 hour journey ended when we reached the village after a bit of directional challenges. We ended up in a small hut, with a farm having a variety of plants cultivated. From the custard apple tree, to tamarind, to pomegranates, i could see a row of different leaves, testing our aptitude for the plant kingdom.
We meet our model who plays the role of the driver in our commercial, walking and reciting his dialogues while walking through the bushes of the custard apple trees.
The entire setting of the commercial is based on the past & future, where we try to portray that no matter how bleak your past has been (here we show his family in a hut setting, with little food,ailing parents) and then we try to show the transition of how he has grown up in life after taking a loan from our Brand. On the set are two very interesting characters,who i dearly admire; Khan Saab, who takes care of the production unit (The location preferences, selection, Reece, setup etc) and the other – Roy,a 3 year old kid who is absolutely brave, curious & most of all adorable.
Khan Saab led the team & managed to please everyone,some people say it’s his job – never to say no to the client, but he was more than that. On the other hand the kid was playful and engrossed in his own world, full of energy. Credit to his parents who let him be as is, without holding on unnecessarily and being over protective like most parents do. He walked bare foot through the farm, played in the water reserved for the animals and picked up all kinds of different stuff off the farm, without any qualms or fear or feeling dirty.
The Shoot locations
Our film was shot at 7 different locations portraying different phases of his life. From the shot of the life of the driver where he is portrayed as being helpless on his meager earnings, a lake shot-where he is seen repairing his old vehicle which he has hired for work, a warehouse where he goes to deliver the goods to an owner who owns the vehicle, a tea stall where conversations happen between him and the Brand sales person, his new life (a bigger farm, house & better lifestyle), a shot where he drops his kids to a larger school after being a successful person driving and managing his own fleet of commercial vehicles and the last still landscape shot showing his success was shot at a dam. The rest includes road journeys taken with the help of the Go Pro camera.
After half of a day well spent, we proceeded for lunch below a large tamarind tree,just like a village setting. The food was cooked by women in the village (an entrepreneurial idea of a group of women). Post lunch we walked through fields of sugarcane, rice & bajra to reach our second home, the larger place where he stays after he becomes successful. The sunflower fields surrounded us and it felt like walking through heaven. The shoot lasted till about 6.30 by which the cold had already set in and most of us were barely prepared even with sweatshirt. It was like a transition of the sunny days to the cold harsh night as though we were living in a desert. After the shoot we had prepared to stay the night at a fort converted into a hotel. This was another adventure for me.
We passed through large banyan trees on both sides of the roads as we drove to our hotel at night to rest after a 14 hour shift. Wanting to make our one night memorable, we picked up the stress busters – Old Monk. This time i opted to stay out, but eventually gave in and joined the gang but it left me with a terrible hangover in the morning. Maybe it was more to do with little rest than the alcohol.
Our stay at Fort Jadhavgadh was pleasant and memorable. The fort was converted into a hotel, but yet maintained its originality. The layout and decor was done up with modern amenities but retained the charm of living in a fort. There were concrete rooms built but each room has a wall of the original fort. The entrance of the fort was converted into a lobby and the dungeon of the fort was the office.
A notice diverted my attention near the lobby. There was a stone placed on another and the sign mentioned “Free giveaways to anyone who can pick up the stone”. Obviously the game had it terms and conditions. You had to pick up the stone with one hand only & you need to stay with it for 5 seconds. In our greed to win the free goodies, we tried yet could not pick it up. When we gave up the fight, we asked to reveal the trick; the stone was made of lead and could easily slip off from the hand without giving a proper grip.
We retired after a long day into our spacious rooms. It was as if my body needed that rest and all i had to do, was shut my eyes.
Next morning after breakfast, we took off to another day of adventure. The same place (Old hut) house was our first destination, with the shoot getting done at the tea stall. Next on the list was lunch, which wrapped up pretty soon. Mr Khan then told us that he would take us to a place which he promised we’d never forget. He guided us at a well, a little far away from the shoot location. And so it was a sight to remember. The well was full of weaver bird nests, covered as if a colony of these birds lived in it. Next stop was a trek to a small mountain although a little steep. When we reached the top, we saw a hole in that mountain, as if it held a volcano within. The mountain had a beautiful panoramic view of the village, including the fields nearby. Our next stop was a butterfly garden. This was the best of all. Little did i know it would be so beautiful to see small yellow butterflies on Dandelion flowers by hundreds. We tried catching it, but they were so agile, it wouldn’t come into our grasp. But the sight of moving yellow wings along a small bouquet of flowers, was the most beautiful sight ever. We finished our shoot and bid goodbye to Pune & Parinche. But Pune wasn’t going to say goodbye. We yearned for some freshly brewed beer on our way back. We were to reach the expressway, but ended up in Pune city and were very close to The Brew House at the Corinthians’s Resort.
My first experience of tasting freshly brewed beer was a wonderful. We tasted 5 different varieties until we could take no more. Dinner was freshly made Kheema Pav, in a hot wrap. I couldn’t resist my hunger pangs and plunged for the package. Our way back was smoother than expected, with lots of untold stories from the gang.
The trip was fun filled, entertaining, and enriching although it happened over just 2 days.
Ah Hoye Pune, be right back with you soon…..