Travel-based shows have always been popular with Malayali audiences. Joining the bandwagon are the shows, ‘Weekend Destinations’ on Safari TV and ‘The Travel Guide’ on Rosebowl, both produced by Vijay Nair. He also cranks the camera for these shows. Vijay, a travel buff, talks about helming the shows and his experiences. Excerpts:

As a producer

The shows just happened. I started out as an assistant producer at Amrita TV and later worked as the associate producer and producer of a few shows. Later, I left for Mumbai to study cinematography and assisted cinematographers such as Santhosh Thundiyil and Vishwamangal Kitsu. When I came back, I started a production house. Our first venture was ‘The Travel Guide’ on Rosebowl. It is very rare that a cameraman is allowed to produce a show. Though my ambition is to work on the big screen, I am enjoying what I am doing now.

‘The Travel Guide’

The show, which is in English, is about tourist spots across Kerala. We have completed nearly 50 episodes and have covered different parts of the state. We also did an episode on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, exploring places along the Thiruvananthapuram – Nagercoil route. We are planning adventure trips in the forthcoming episodes.

The experience

We have a limited crew. In fact, there have been instances where it was just myself and the anchor. For example, we did an episode on Kolukkumalai near Kambam, Theni district, Tamil Nadu. Climbing the peak carrying the camera was extremely tough, not to mention, dangerous. Our anchor Girish and I had a terrible time battling strong winds and the heavy mist to reach the top. But the risk was worth it and the episode was widely appreciated.

Weekend Destinations’

The show presents low-budget weekend getaways for families. We identify a location, along with details such as how to reach there, where to stay and the cost, bus/train fare, best places to eat, tourist spots… We started with Idukki district and then explored a few spots in Ernakulam district. Up next is Kanyakumari. In some cases, we take the help of the District Tourism Promotion Council offices in respective districts. Our anchor is Sijo John.

On travel-based shows

There is a devoted audience for such shows. The fact that we now have a channel, Safari TV, dedicated for travel, is proof for this. And as a producer, there is always a challenge to bring variety in content.

‘The Travel Guide’ airs on Rosebowl on Sundays at 7.30 p.m. and ‘Weekend Destinations’ airs on Safari TV on Saturdays at 10 p.m.