What do you do after getting a bachelors in engineering, a masters in biophysics and computational biology and yet another masters in neuroscience from one of the most prestigious universities in the world? You give up your job and go on a solo backpacking adventure around the world. Mauktik Kulkarni did one further. After biking solo through South America and backpacking across 36 countries around the world he went on an adventure trip through the place that matters most to him- India. He collaborated with National award winning director Brahmanand Siingh and they made a film about it.
He and his fellow traveller Samantha Jo Fitzsimons bootstrapped a documentary film – ‘Riding on a Sunbeam’- about their insane adventures through India to inspire and influence people to get out of offices and classrooms and into the big wide world. As Samantha says, “A traveller sees what he sees. A tourist sees what he came to see.”
About the filmmakers
Brahmanand S Siingh is an award-winning filmmaker (producer-director) and writer based out of Mumbai. His films like his National-Award winning feature-length documentary on RD Burman, Pancham Unmixed: Mujhe Chalte Jaana Hai, (113 mins) continues to enjoy an amazing sweeping cult and critical and popular acclaim across viewing platforms.
His recent film Kaagaz Ki Kashti (Paperboat … 127 mins), a biopic on legendary ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh, has just taken-off, interestingly, first digitally, without compromising much on any other platforms.It is also set to release in theaters soon this year.
Siingh often brings out insightful, exploring and reflective dimensions in the subjects that excite him, bringing out its core essence in a soulful and captivating manner. His current feature project, Jhalki … Ek Aur Bachpan (A Different Childhood) … has already received a lot of International buzz in its development stage and has just been shot and is now in its post-production stage.
Mauktik Kulkarni is an Electronics Engineer from University of Pune who went on to get a Masters in Biophysics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and another Masters in Neuroscience from the Johns Hopkins University. An entrepreneur at heart, he was a part of some successful neurotech/IT start-ups (Cognision and PhiSix Fashion Labs) and had a few scientific publications/patents before he began focusing on creative pursuits.
In 2008, he did a solo, 8000 km motorcycle trip in Peru, Chile and Argentina with virtually no plan and no knowledge of Spanish. He lived to write a book about it titled ‘A Ghost of Che – A Motorcycle Ride Through Space, Time, Life and Love’ and is currently being adapted into an international feature film. In 2012, Mauktik quit his start-up job in the United States and did a one-year, round-the-world backpacking trip to 36 countries. He covered all the continents except Antarctica and recently published a book about it titled ‘Packing Up Without Looking Back’.
After the year-long trip Mauktik moved back to India and his passion for travel led him to the film industry. He co-produced and co-anchored in a unique backpacking film based in India titled ‘Riding on a Sunbeam’, which is directed by Brahmanand Siingh and edited by Irene Dhar Malik, both National award winners. The 108-minute film was invited to several Indian film festivals, including the Kolkata International Film Festival, and has had several high profile screenings (Synopsis/media coverage/sample reviews, promo, FB page).
The film discussion will be moderated by Aruna Magier (NYU South Asia Librarian).
National Geographic Traveller India: Revolutionary Road
YourStory: Riding on a Sunbeam
Times of India: Travel Guru
Ghumakkar: Inspiring Travel Stories
Mid-Day: Unique Travel Documentary
Scroll.in: Censor Board Problems – Riding on a Sunbeam
Indiapages: Accidental Inspiration
The New Indian Express: Funding Your Travels
Clamorworld: World Traveler and Film-maker
Ride Till I Die magazine: A Rider is Born
Loksatta (Marathi): Round the World Trip & Film
Discussion will be moderated by Aruna Magier (South Asia Librarian, NYU)
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