Filmmaker Gaurav Jani, famous for adventure riding movies set in the Himalayas, has died.
Through his company Dirt Track Productions, Jani was involved with motorcycle tours through India and other projects, but he’s best-known for two films showing epic adventures in the mountains of northern India. The first, Riding Solo To The Top Of The World, showed Jani’s self-filmed adventure in the territory of Ladakh, riding an overloaded Royal Enfield Bullet 350. Partly a story of self-discovery, partly a showcase of the region and the people living there, it was a fresh take on ADV filmmaking and got lots of attention on the show circuit after its 2006 release.
Then, in 2009, Jani released a follow-up film, titled One Crazy Ride. This film followed a group adventure, with Jani and four other friends from the 60 KPH Motorcycle Travel Club India (a riding group founded by Jani) as they tried to piece together a new route through the Himalayas. The plan behind this adventure was to run west-to-east, from Tawang, to Dong. Having other riders along allowed Jani to change the format a bit, but it was self-filmed by a self-sufficient expedition, not a chase crew in a truck. The authenticity once again proved popular on the show circuit, and more than 10 years later, you can still find the DVD in ADV-catering retail outlets everywhere.
Although Jani hadn’t produced anything as high-profile in recent years, his documentaries had a similar effect as Austin Vince’s Mondo Enduro and Terra Circa, inspiring a generation of DIY filmmakers. The films also exposed many riders to the gorgeous scenery available in the Himalayas, drawing in adventure bikers from all over the world.
Gaurav Jani died on May 24, from organ failure. Reports say he suffered from an infection, but his death was not due to COVID-19.