Khardung-La Chronicles – Day 2

So what better way to begin a day with yesterdays’s memories? My initiation into the Red Bull family started the night we landed here. Very affable and helping team, and more so focused on job at hand and fire fighting some minor unforeseen issues, the team was all pepped up to make the most of the project at hand, driving an F1 car at Khardung La, some 18300 odd ft above MSL.

This is not a project done in haste yesterday but one which has been planned over a period of over six months and getting approvals and clearance et al, and now we were closer to reality some few days away from history being made.

The morning was warm and the sun was hot, you should expect sun to be closer to you and he could easily tan you to the darkest of the color. And well if you wanna read about the term acclimatization and more importantly about medical advice please read here.

The teams on the production side were divided into two. Before I go further allow me introduce the crew – Case Productions under Selim.

This team has the rare distinction of shooting for over 30 days at Antartica and that too was for Red Bull. A very energetic and an enthusiastic team was already at work. They take their fun at work too seriously I bet.

Getting back I was going to travel with the Helicam team for generic visuals across some of the finest tourist destinations in Leh. The team had a lovely couple in Tomas and Renata hailing from Poland and Berk from Case Production to help them out.

Accompanying us was the ever smiling Mr. Sonam Dorje, the Asst Director of Tourism in J&K.

Our first stop of the day was the Holy Fish Pond Lake adjoining the Shey Palace.  After few minutes of walking around the pond and the road to the palace, the first shot was setup on the helicopter-camera.

The helicam went soaring up in air Red Bull had literally given it the wings. Tomaz took a nice trajectory hovering the monastery almost setting up a shot when accidentally the pigeons flew all at once.

I was training myself with a camera my brother Sashi sent me. Some nice shots of the Palace and the heli-cam in air.

Next we proceeded to the Thiksey Monastery, further on the same road, it was visible from a distance and we took a little road to go to the place. Up on a hillock, the monastery had an imposing structure and a grand design. The F1 car would start from here, and the monks here would bless with their venerable presence.

It was a challenging shot for the team and they took almost two hours in finalizing three shots from three different directions.

It held the young monks in awe when they saw the helicam on air. It was nice capturing them on the camera for me. On the way back sun on top helped to record some of the finest stupas on heli-cam.

It was lunch time at Hotel Grand Dragon.

The Red Bull Racing team – (F1 show car Team) was awaiting the arrival of the car in the mean time and they were the ones  truly acclimatizing to put it in perspective.

Well you know you can’t exert yourself more and thus we had the first day of shoot! A truly successful trip at that and happy awaiting what’s in store for tomorrow. The car would have arrived so too was the driver Neel Jani!

R Senthilkumar