Behind the scenes: The kindness of strangers
Distance travelled ~ 590'993'600 km: Day 230
(Arif is a Producer for 23 Degrees, currently in edit, but no stranger to the world's severe weather. He has directed films for 23 Degrees in the US, Mexico, Egypt and lastly India to name a few)
We're in Udaipur, in the Indian state of Rajasthan, to film the monsoon. Only it's not raining.
While we wait for a downpour, there's plenty of other stuff we can do. I need a driving sequence through the city's streets, so Toby the cameraman mounts a minicam on the bonnet of our car. Toby's done a lot of work for Top Gear so he's rigged this particular shot hundreds of times.
The minicam mounts on the hood with a specially designed suction cup. Normally it sticks on like a limpet... Normally, though, it doesn't have to cope with India's potholes.
After about 10 minutes driving, we notice the camera is no longer with us. Cue rapid fire expletives. We think it must have fallen off in the last kilometre or so. While Sam the sound recordist stays behind in the car, Toby and I jump out and head back down the street. I run ahead, Toby's maybe 30 meters behind. We're at full pelt; both of us realise we've just seconds to retrace our route and find the camera before it is run over or vanishes. Some of the people we run past get the wrong idea; what was this white guy doing chasing an Indian looking man (me) down the road? Has the white guy been robbed? I suddenly find a couple of locals on my tail, and slow down in confusion. A couple more bystanders stop Toby to find out what I'd done. By the time Toby clears up the misunderstanding, a crowd has gathered, and one of them reveals our camera has already been found. In fact, as we'd been running around headlessly, the finder was on his moped looking for our car.
What's great is that the minicam was on all the time, and filmed everything. It's all there: the camera's initial bump and tumble, the finder's determination to track us down, and the delighted, slightly incredulous look on sound recordist Sam's face when the camera is returned.
This accidentally shot footage is testimony to the wonderful generosity of spirit of ordinary Indians. It absolutely made our day.