H.G. Wells, English author
One of my happiest childhood memories was riding my bicycle up a local bridge, feeling the gush of wind against my face, as I pedaled hard, exhausting every fiber of my calf muscle. After a strenuous uphill effort, what followed was pure bliss as I descended the bridge with my speed unhinged and my feet dangling at the side of my bike. When I used to reach the bottom of the bridge, I had a bright wide smile of satisfaction across the bridge. It's these kinds of small pleasures of life that one looks back with fond nostalgia. Time flies by and for most of us, as adults, life has become too fast and we can no longer enjoy a thrilling ride on our bicycles.
Speaking of age, cycling and the unbridled taste of freedom it brings, we explore a recent homegrown documentary in the making, Going Solo. Directed by the talented Ameya Gore, the film grants the viewers an intimate glimpse into the dual odyssey of two remarkable Indian women. Gareema Shankar, a spirited 44-year-old, and Renu Singhi, a tenacious 58-year-old, fearlessly seized control of their lives and embarked on an extraordinary quest for liberation. With audacity that defies the shackles of societal conventions, they embraced the realm of long-distance endurance cycling long after exchanging their vows. Driven by an irrepressible spirit, they pedaled their way toward breaking the chains of gender conformity.
In the year 2022, both Gareema and Renu undertook the Herculean challenge of London-Edinburgh-London (LEL), a grueling cycling challenge spanning a staggering 1,540 kilometers. This legendary expedition beckoned them, and they answered with an unwavering resolve. It was Renu, a grandmother standing defiantly at the age of 58, who etched her name in the annals of history as the First Indian Woman to triumphantly cross the finish line of LEL within the 125 hours designated by the event's officials.
In a landscape dominated by Western perspectives, Going Solo shines as the first Indian documentary film that delves deep into the riveting world of women long-distance endurance cyclists. It gracefully diverges from the male-centric narratives that have monopolized previous cycling films, such as the renowned Lance, Iron Cowboy, Mamil, Stop At Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story, and countless others. This cinematic gem dares to break the mold, offering an empowering and inspirational tale of resilience and triumph against all odds.
As the mesmerizing tale of Going Solo unfolds, it is brought to life by the craftsmanship of Khan & Kumar Media Pvt Ltd, a Mumbai-based production company, and skillfully presented by Ammi Media, a trailblazing indie film production company hailing from the vibrant streets of New York. Khan & Kumar is a powerful collaboration between childhood friends, actor Vikas Kumar and tech-entrepreneur Sharib Khan. Their debut production, Sonsi, directed and captured by the talented Savita Singh, earned the esteemed National Award for Best Cinematography and secured a spot in the Oscars 2022 consideration for Live Action - Short Film. This success fuels their unwavering passion for storytelling, and they are currently working on post-production for three captivating documentaries and showcasing their poignant short film, Shera, which had an unforgettable international premiere.
Already, the film has reached a remarkable milestone, with 60% of its cinematic narrative already captured on film. However, the team behind this groundbreaking project recognizes the need for additional resources to bring this compelling story to its full fruition. Thus, they have embarked on a bold crowdfunding journey through the KICKSTARTER platform and have also reached out to corporate brands, seeking their invaluable support.
You can contribute to their KICKSTARTER campaign here and make their dream become a reality.