We show a short clip of the history of Chobi Mela in the eve of Chobi Mela VII. Appropriately linking the present to the past is a 1936 Rolls Royce which has made it’s way from the UK to participate in the festival rally.
Following on from Tom Hatlestad?s epic journey from Oslo to Dhaka in a Land Rover, Rupert Grey and the Grey family, roll into town in a Rolls. It?s not just any old Rolls Royce. Rupert, a lawyer with a passion for photography, is the great grandson of the former British? prime minister Earl Grey (whom the tea is named after), whose statue adorned Westminster Abbey. A regular visitor to Chobi Mela, Rupert decided to bring his 1936 Rolls Royce to Dhaka for the festival. The antique Rolls had travelled through the Rajasthan deserts and gone along the foothills of the Himalayas and followed the Brahmaputra to Bangladesh, but was stopped at the Tamabil border, when bureaucracy kicked in.
The traditional method of temporary entry for cars, the carnet, had been stopped in Bangladesh and there was no law that would allow the car to make it?s final let. But as Rupert himself quotes, ?Bangladesh is also a country where everything is possible? ?and after a very long and protracted process where all the right people had to be convinced of the genuineness of the venture, and with much help from many different quarters, the car finally made it?s way into Bangladesh. Only to be stopped enroute to Dhaka because of a petrol strike.
The car arrives in Dhaka today and will be joining the traditional Chobi Mela rally in front of the National Museum tomorrow (the 25th January) at 3:00 pm. It is here at Chobi Mela where the rickshaw meets the Rolls.
Arshad Jamal, Khushi Kabir, Gitiara Chowdhury, Kamran Chowdhury and especially Saleh Ahmed all worked behind the scenes to make this happen. In the end though it was the Chairman of NBR who found the way to get through the legal hoops.
Following in the tradition of explorers and adventurers who’ve travelled to Chobi Mela, the celebrated festival of photography in Asia, a 1936 Rolls Royce has made it’s way to Dhaka. Only, it lies stranded at the Tamabil border.
Tom Hatlestad began his journey in Oslo on the 24th November 2008. Travelling alone in his Defender Land Rover, he drove through Sweden, Western Europe, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan India and Nepal to arriving in Dhaka on the morning of the 17th January 2009. Photographs taken along the way to Dhaka and on the way back have formed the basis of a major international touring exhibition. The story of the Rolls turns out to be slightly different.
Intrepid explorer, photographer and high-flying lawyer Rupert Grey is an old friend of Chobi Mela, the incomparable festival of photography that takes place in Dhaka, Bangladesh. A regular visitor, Rupert and his wife Jan are this time making their way across in their 1937 Rolls Royce. Here is a clip from their journey:
A Letter From India from Rover Films on Vimeo.
For car fanatics, here is detailed informtion on the Rolls:
Chassis no ? GUN 7
Engine number – N 25 R
Date of manufacture – 1937
Engine size – 4330 cc
Registration no – DXX 123
Colour – Black/grey
UK Registration no – AJ 0542247
They are expected in Sylhet towards the end of December. With Youtube still difficult to access in Bangladesh, we are thankful the film is in Vimeo (Please Retweet #openyoutubenow) Welcome to Bangladesh!