Presenters Ashique Thahir, Deepak Narendran and Freddie Hunt during the shoot in Scotland
Kozhikode: To explore beyond the limits is what drove Ashique Thahir and Deepak Narendran to travel and rediscover their passion for cars in uncharted territories across Europe. They have hit the trail from the European continent and are raring to stamp their footprints across the world. Their luxury cars have darted past silhouetted mountains and the well-trimmed hedges in the picturesque countryside of Europe to raise the heat and dust of power-packed machine brilliance.
In just one and half months, the two car lovers from Kerala became a household name through their show ‘Car and Country Rush', which showcases stunning cars as they travel from one extraordinary location to another. So far, the Amazon Prime UK OTT platform has aired four episodes of the show.
After hurtling through the by-lanes of England, France, and Scotland, these two Keralites are right in the midst of this ‘rush’, while Freddie Hunt, a professional racing driver and son of legendary James Hunt -- the 1976 F1 World Champion -- makes up the third to scorch the tracks.
"It's not your average car show that offers an insight into the world of automobiles. Here, the audience is engaged in a complete travel experience, and the cars we showcase are a part of it. We create a complete experience, enjoying the life as we explore location," says Ashique Thahir, a businessman from Kozhikode who owns a fleet of sports cars, including Porsche, Lamborghini and Ferrari. At the same time, the latest episode featured Freddie Hunt as they make their way through the Scottish countryside, exploring nature and embracing the quiet countryside life and the culture.
“We not only drive into the inner alleys but have a feel of charming European rural communities, cultures and cuisine from the window of our supercars. It is more about the experience as well as travel through these places in rare and expensive cars. The idea for such a show was first conceived by Deepak when we were studying in Manipal. I became a part of the show after watching the episode shot in France. I became the producer for the last episode set in Scotland,” remembers Ashique Thahir.
The show is informative, adventurous and entertaining, and their stunning journey has been captured by DN Exotics & Tracc Films, London, who are presenting the show on Amazon Prime UK. Ashique and co brought a production house in the UK to contribute to the show.
“We have now changed gear to an all-brand new format from a travel show into adventure travel with Freddie Hunt throwing his passion and speed into the ring,” says Ashique. The new format was launched at a glittering function at The Soho Hotel, London, on October 21, and it fetched a massive positive response there. “The latest episode has seen the UK viewership shooting up four-fold, which shows that the European crowd accepts it as an entertaining programme,” said Ashique.
Deepak Narendran, a native of Muvattupuzha who is settled in the UK now, launched the show in 2014, and Ashique teamed up with him in the later episodes. It emerged from the pangs of the pandemic after a two-year break last month.
"I joined the crew as the producer. Initially, it was a tough decision to take the leap and attempt an ambitious project. However, I became a producer, and we started filming," he said. Ashique added that the most challenging aspect of the show is the hard work put in beforehand to plan how each episode should be conceived before it is shot.
“The shoot of the latest episode itself was challenging. We had to sleep over in tents in snowy mountains in extreme weather. We had to do wild river rafting in adverse climate conditions and did off-roading with the car. Most notably, we went for deer stalking, and James Hunt persuaded us to enjoy the Scottish way of life,” said Ashique.
In its first edition, Car and Country was aired on Fox International, and the sponsors of the show were Emirates, Star TV, National Geographic and Star Health. Realizing the potential of the show on the online platform, the duo moved the show to Amazon Prime UK in the later episodes. TV and radio presenter and model Danni Menzies and Lucia Coward, British actor and TV presenter, were part of the first season which was streamed as four episodes exploring the charming English countryside in four iconic supercars, McLaren MP4, Mercedes SLS AMG, Lamborghini Aventador LP640 and the Ferrari Italia.
The French leg, sponsored by French Tourism, covered the French Riviera and Alsace. It also zoomed in on an automobile museum with a classic collection of Bugatti cars from across the world at Mulhouse in France. The vintage cars that propelled this round were the 1959 Chevrolet C1, 1989 Ferrari Mondial, 1956 Porsche Speedster and MGA Roadster.