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    History TV18’s latest show will see Bollywood stars turn lorry drivers for a fortnight

    ACTRESS Mandira Bedi is probably at her busiest right now—what with an upcoming Tamil comedy, Adangathey, a couple’s reality show, Date to Remember, and even a quiz show. To top it all, the Shanti fame actress even drives a fully-loaded commercial truck along the Himalayas delivering supplies to the remote towns for the show, India’s Deadliest Roads (IDR). An Indian version of the popular Canadian TV show, Ice Road Truckers, IDR premiered this week. Bedi will be joined by Varun Sharma (Fukrey fame) and Sangram Singh (who gained popularity on Survivor India) on the show, which will see the trio drive 12-tonne Bharat Benz trucks from Manali to Turtuk—a distance of over 1,500 kilometres in subzero temperatures and at an altitude of 18,380 feet above sea level.

    Trial run
    “For starters, I am not even going to claim I was all gutsy. I didn’t even want to watch the Canadian show as I didn’t wanted to freak out. But when an opportunity to drive a commercial truck came to me, I knew I wouldn’t back out,” begins Bedi, who was also encouraged by her five-year-old son Vir, who was thrilled that his mother could drive trucks, whose miniature models he plays with. The Mandira-Varun-Sangram trio underwent training in Chennai and conducted mock drives on the Yelagiri hills to recreate the Himalayan driving experience. “I usually drive a Nano for commute and you can imagine how it would be driving these mega trucks through narrow Himalayan ranges, whose road width sometimes accommodate just one vehicle,” adds the 44-year-old actress, who had a near death experience in Chamba Valley, when a part of her truck was left dangling in the air after trying to negotiate a hair pin bend.

    Valley tales
    “Due to its remoteness, the trucks are the life line of Leh, which brings all the essentials to the community. I felt privileged to be part of this supply chain as I transported rice, flour and rajma, but my biggest satisfaction came when I transported a large Buddha statue to a monastery in Leh,” says Bedi, who claims, more than the driving skills, one must be thick-skinned for the abuses one faces on these roads. Sangram Singh expresses that the experience has humbled him. “These life-threatening experiences help put trivial day-to day-issues in context and give a better perspective on life,” concludes Singh.

    Watch India’s Deadliest Roads, tonight at 9 pm, on History TV18

    — P Peter

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