They have been travelling from the Pakistan Peshawar to the Indian Calcutta on a bike and with a freight rickshaw for three months now down the Grand Trunk Road – the ancient trade route connecting Kabul and Calcutta. Whenever possible, they unpack their nomad cinema for the screenings of fairytales for little kids and Bollywood hits or action blockbusters for the adults.
The dirt roads, the horns of the overtaking trucks, the fog, the cold, the rain. Buttocks stuck to the seats, the speed limited by the state of the road and the remaining strength. The attention of the natives wherever they go, facing the countless technical problems with their bikes or their projectors. This expedition truly isn’t a vacation, it is rather an intense introduction into the mysterious Asian world.
After three months they crossed from Pakistan to India, after hundreds of kilometers in their bicycle saddles, dozens of screenings and thousands of more or less happy spectators. The initial idea was, however, a little more romantic but “not even the cinema is a big attraction for slum children living in huts made of plastic bags equipped with massive satellites and hundreds of channels, and new iPhones ringing in their pockets.”
And so there is no other choice but to adapt to the local conditions, choose a good screening spot and a good film, and eventually open one’s heart to the gods.
“We pedal, sweat blood or on the contrary, freeze our fingers as the temperature only hits 8°C, break chains, curse the Pakistani bicycles… At around four in the afternoon we start searching for tents, huts or even flat spots where kids play cricket. Ideally with a large wall. Even though the children here are nice indeed, they don’t hesitate to pick our bikes apart, as we have encountered multiple times before. The place also has to be reachable on our tricycle but we have developed an eye for that already and see exactly how one spot is flawed, while the other one is perfect. Still, the verdict is in the hands of God,” report both impresarios.
After 2500km of cycling, they reached their original final destination in Puri in January, looking worse for wear. “Still better to cycle through India, constantly answer the question “which country?” every day than to be stuck in an open space somewhere in Central Europe,” they both agree.
Only thing left in front of them is the crossing to Varanesi and then the planned journey home. Understandably, both nomads refuse to give up their Sohrab rickshaw tricycle. That’s why they are currently organising a fundraising for the transport to Europe. For more information about the fundraising, please visit www.roadcinema.com.