Words Deb C.
A 1936 Rolls Royce car, an eccentric English corporate lawyer and his wife (Rupert and Jan Grey) set out on a road trip through Northern India. As you do. Director/producer Oliver McGarvey persuades Rupert Grey that the journey needs recording and is allowed to film the group’s regal progress.
Footage of the road trip is interspersed with commentary from friends and the Grey’s daughters. All are united in their admiration for the energy and stubbornness of “Rupe”, but all are aware that much of what is accomplished is due to the strength and support of Jan, Rupert’s wife.
Indeed, although the road trip is fascinating in itself, the relationship between Rupert and his wife is equally captivating. The depth of their affection after 35 years of marriage is both affirming and worthy of respect. Rupert himself says “I would have done the trip with nobody else but Jan.”
Rupert, as the central character, is just the sort of buccaneer that one would imagine setting forth on a trip that many would deem foolhardy. However, his adventuring spirit is appealing as he comments that “journeys are about risks” and clearly with his wife, believes that they want to “step outside habitual boundaries.” And they do, yet we are aware that their ‘whiteness’, and thus their privilege, protects them from the true realities of India. Powerful connections ease their path.
A gentle paced music soundtrack supports the slow pace of the road trip and seems to emphasise the very English way of travel. The well- spoken, slightly eccentrically dressed gentleman on his O.E interacting quietly with the natives along the way. Very, jolly good chaps and restrained good manners.
A quietly intriguing movie, one that deliberately allows a thread of unease to run throughout. The Rolls and its British occupants progress through a country of beautiful palaces, temples and poverty and dis-ease.
For this viewer, more in- depth local Hindi interactions could have added to the film’s emotional appeal. A T.V series would be a natural follow up, allowing more of the close up and “in it” view of India and the Grey’s voyage.
In cinemas August 13th