What inspired you to
make the programme Sancharam?
When I began my world tour for Sancharam
way back in 1997, the aim was at
making a programme with a difference
in the field of visual media. I
had directed telefilms and documentaries
earlier for various television channels.
However, in those days what I had
in mind was a television programme
that none else had ever attempted
There was a time when people of
Kerala used to read the travelogues
of S.K. Pottakkadu and other writers
avidly. Nevertheless, in this new
era, people may be interested in
viewing places rather than knowing
them from books. The technology
provides the people of Kerala with
an opportunity to see places for
themselves thus bringing the whole
world into their drawing rooms.
This is the first visual travelogue
Which country was your first travel
destination? What were your experiences
My first solo journey with a camera
was to the neighbouring country,
Nepal. I boarded the train at Kochi
and reached Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh.
From there I reached Nepal crossing
the border. From the border town
I took a bus and reached Pokhara,
a tourist spot in Nepal. From there
I travelled to Kathmandu in a small
plane. Though I had all the anxieties
of a maiden journey the Nepal tour
was thrilling. From Pokhara I travelled
in the cockpit of the plane, rubbing
shoulders with the pilots. When
they came to know that my objective
was shooting the sights for a television
programme, the pilot Mr. Rathan
Lama offered me a seat in there.
There was no strangeness in my journey
in Kathmandu. It was similar to
a journey through any of the North
Does any language problem arise
in a new place?
used to worry about this in the
early days of my travel. Now, in
the light of my travelling experience
in fifty countries I can assert
with conviction that language is
no barrier to world travel. With
a little knowledge to communicate
in English, there is no difficulty
in obtaining information in any
city in any country. At same time,
it is not necessary that people
should understand English wherever
you go. I had seen many people in
many parts of China, Japan and Korea
who did not have the least knowledge
of English language.
There were instances of conveying
messages to the cab drivers through
sign languages and sketches in many
cities. All these are funny experiences
of my journey.
How many camera crews do accompany
you, when you travel abroad?
This is a question raised by many.
In fact, I travel alone to the foreign
countries and shoot the sights myself.
I travelled in all these fifty countries
all by myself. It will be the same
in future too. I never carry too
many shooting gadgets. I just take
a good video camera along.
Among the countries you travelled,
which one did you like the most?
Each country has its own specialities.
In some countries we are attracted
by its natural beauty. In some other
places the modern transportation
facilities make the journey memorable.
Whereas in some places it may be
the historical sights that enchant
us. My journey into each country
has lent me distinct and marvellous
experiences and it is difficult
to name just one country for that
As regards the palatal tastes each
country differs from the other.
Can you say some thing about any
one cuisine that you had found very
Each country has distinct tastes
regarding food. However, in all
these countries you can see restaurants
that offer Indian and Chinese cuisines.
While talking about unique food
items what strikes me first are
Taiwan and Cambodia. There is a
market in Taipei in Taiwan - Huanshi
Market. Snake is the main food item
we get there. We can see people
devouring fried snake meat and milk
shakes with snake’s blood and so
In Phnom Penh in Cambodia, there
are people who eat cockroaches and
beatles. The fried spiders, small
flies, beatles, cockroaches, etc.
kept for sales and people buying
them and eating away are in fact
sights in themselves, Things that
are detested in one country may
be tasty food for another one. There
are several other gourmet facts
that I had come across during my