I cringed when I was asked to take a look at these two travel documentaries by Gaurav Jani done from motorcycles. They simply didn’t sound particularly appealing—and all the buildup I was given about Jani’s do-it-yourself filmmaking wasn’t helping matters. What a pleasant surprise the films turned out to be! Jani’s approach may be do-it-yourself, but what he does himself is more often than not visually stunning—even breathtaking.
Both films are, as noted, travel documentaries. One Crazy Ride involves Jani and a small group of other motorcyclists as they make their way across uncharted roads in the Himalayan state of Arunachal Pradesh in northeast India. Riding Solo to the Top of the World features Jani doing a kind of Survivorman shtick as he travels from Mumbai to the remote Changthang Plateau in Ladakh, bordering China. The films are both visual treats and offer some interesting insights into the people of those far-flung regions—and Jani himself is an agreeable host. The only downside to it all is whether or not you personally have sufficient interest in what’s being shown—no matter how well done—to undertake the 90-plus minutes of each film. If you do, however, you’re in for a treat.