Nagesh Kukunoor is ready to undertake a picturesque road journey to Coorg and Munnar and, while at it, he hopes to find the foundation of his new project — a road movie he has been wanting to make for a long time.
The acclaimed filmmaker and screenwriter, known for critically acclaimed movies such as Hyderabad Blues, Rockford and Iqbal, will undertake the journey as part of an adventure driving series, My Endeavour alterrain, by Ford India and National Geographic Channel.
“I want to use this journey as a foundation of a road movie that has been on my mind for a long time. I always wanted to do a road movie and I keep travelling a fair bit because of my work ... you never know how stories get triggered,” Kukunoor said.
Is he going with a set story in mind?
“I have a specific thing, but I won’t tell you,” he said, flashing his dimpled smile.
“Well, I do have a loose story in mind and I want to see places that can work for that story. I want to see if I get something interesting ... the thing with movies is that you plan something, and then something you absolutely didn’t plan takes shape. So you never know,” he added, hinting at a sense of uncertainty.
But excited he definitely is. Starting from Coorg to Coonoor to Palakkad to his final destination Munnar, Kukunoor is totally kicked about driving through scenic green terrains of the Western Ghats, replete with tea and coffee plantations, and waterfalls.
His companion? A camera crew!
“The camera is going to be my buddy.”
Uncomfortable will he be, then?
“It doesn’t make me uncomfortable because all these years, I have worked with the camera and fortunately or unfortunately, I have worked in front of the camera as well. So it doesn’t make me uncomfortable at all,” said Kukunoor, who has acted in some of his own directorials such as Rockford and Hyderabad Blues.
He is more excited about the trip, to start sometime in March, as when he first undertook it in 1995, he couldn’t complete it.
“I had once undertaken an extensive trip to south India, and Munnar and Coorg were on my map, but I gave up halfway to Coorg. That endeavour remains unfinished for me and this time I want to complete the journey,” he said.
Kukunoor, 45, remembers driving long stretches when he was a student in the United States.
“It has been a very long time that I personally drove long stretches. I have undertaken car journeys, but then you end up driving for a small section and hand over the wheels to someone else after a while. This is not going to be that — I am going to drive the entire stretch,” he said.