Driving a retro revolution - The Daily Guardian
Connect with us

Lifestyle & Entertainment

Driving a retro revolution

Tarun Thakral, founder of the Heritage Transport Museum, talks about his fervent passion for collecting vintage, classic, rare and much sought-after automobiles.

Published

on

An entity representing a bygone era defines the term “vintage”, taking us back at least 100 years into time. The birth year of the modern vehicle was 1886 when the Benz Patent-Motorwagen was introduced. In the early 1920s, the car, something not visible in a world of horse-driven carriages, was a refreshing novelty for the wonderstruck moneybags. With an American revolution endorsed by Chevy & Ford, these babe magnets heralded the descent of the posh and splashy set of wheels like never seen before. The ageless all-time favourites with their out-of-reach listed prices indicated that only the upper class flush with money could afford to buy these vintage beauties. Taking these badass wheels for a spin was decidedly the ultimate in uber exhibitionism, for the alpha male.

Transitioning to the 1950s where automobile mass production was hailed as the progressive new normal, gone were the days of looking for a coach or bogie for local conveyance. Becoming universally recognised then as the acceptable mode for transport, automated cars helped people to traverse easily, to homes, marketplaces and ports of call. Many commercial economies got escalated by the motorcar industry, with eager enthusiasts sitting tight, waiting for the next automaton beauty to be launched.

With a pressing desire to expose to the maverick a glimpse of the graceful life, Tarun Thakral established the Heritage Transport Museum Trust in 2006. With ample financial aid from the Government of India and donations from corpus funds, the museum was launched in 2013. The intricacies involved in enthusiastic acquisition along with preserving the transport collections is an art mastered by the museum, while helping restore some of the most valued modes of transport on the global landscape. The museum has showcased varying assemblages of add-on collectibles, like rare original lithographs by Thomas Daniel & Solvyns, a Flemish artist who had visited India in 1797.

Selections and alternatives of over 3,500 objects depict spellbinding chronicles revolving around antiquated machine control technology, heavy transport carriages, streetcars, aeronautics and seafaring vessels, exposing the culturati and the car geek to a bevy of memorabilia associated with transport. One of the prized classics is a wood bodied tram from 1940 and a rail bus!

Taking time out from his daily hectic life as the Executive Director, Le Meridien Hotel, New Delhi, Tarun chats with The Daily Guardian about his fervent passion for collecting vintage, classic, rare and much sought after automobiles.

Q. What propelled you to invest in the museum?

A. I was travelling a lot and was fascinated by the museums across the globe, specifically the Berlin Transport Museum, London Transport Museum, the Glasgow Museum. The exhibits were rather impressive, with uber chic designs and innovative spatial décor.

India has a lot of exclusive museums: the Rail Museum, which is quite diminutive. Hindustan Aeronautics in Bengaluru has a museum assigned to aircrafts and aviation. The only other transport museum was the Pranlal Bhogilal Collection in Ahmedabad, and its mainstay pivot was cars. I wanted to create something totally different and contemporary, competing with the world’s finest and nothing less. Pondering upon the fact that India did not have any museum specific to transport, I decided to go head. The journey from start to finish has been marvelous.

Q. What has been the driving force behind this singularly exciting passion?

 A. After completing my masters in Hotel Management in Paris in the early 1990s, I returned to India and got busy with my job at Hotel Le Meridien, Delhi. On one of my masti trips to Churu, Rajasthan, I came across my first ever antique car… a 1932 Chevrolet convertible, kept in a state of total disrepair. It was love at first sight and I bought the car for Rs 5,000, which was quite a princely sum at the time. The next couple of years were spent restoring it, with the mechanics working on every single part, to make it drive worthy. The car was a remnant of Partition, with only a gleaming badge of the owner’s name. For me, bringing the car back to life fuelled my passion and over the last 30 years, I have been collecting classics, with extensive research going in.

Q. On the Indian terra firma, do you see the nouveau riche aspiring to covet vintage automobiles, as must-have prized assets, in their already burgeoning repositories?

A. In my eyes, there are two types of collectors. The newly rich that are aspirational, trying to keep up with the Joneses, spending a fortune just to possess a vintage classic automobile, without knowing the real value. And then there is the genuine collector, spending years to find that antique motor car which could hold pride of place in his home. Collecting antique automobiles is an interest exclusive only to those who are passionate about cars.

Q. Which are the five leading cars that have been catalogued as iconic, exceptional, classic and listed as vintage machines, in your private collection?

A. The museum’s Vintage Top Of The Pops Car Collection:

1934 Buick Series 90 Limousine: A rear wheel drive automobile sold by Buick, the limo is a part of Buick’s 90 model series. It’s the only Buick that has been recognised by the Classic Car Club in America. These were the optimum luxury beauties manufactured by Buick, from the years 1931 through to 1942. These glistening vintage classics were furnished with swanky details, making them superior to other cars in their league.

1932 Chevrolet Phaeton: Introduced in 1932, at a time when America was suffering from the Great Depression, the Confederate was at the highest ranking position for car sales. Only 419 cars of this series were manufactured in that year. The car has been in the museum for many years and has been kept in a moisturecontrolled space.

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible: The 1955 Chevrolet was launched in 1954, for the 1955 model year. One of the most desirable Chevys, the Bel Air Convertible appears in the high class models’ categories of automobiles, much in demand and sought after by automaton enthusiasts and speedsters, with its twodoor hardtop.

1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner: The Ford Skyliner Retractable dazzled American citizens with its flamboyant styling and stunning engineering design, back in the 1950s. With its attributes of being the only verifiable hardtop coupé convertible, the 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner was the second retractable hardtop car in automobile history to be mass produced ever, attracting attention worldwide, with its highly up-scaled pricing.

1938 Ford Convertible: This vintage classic is a top of the line rust-free soft top with all the original parts, and a unique design distinctive with its updated front-end styling from the American car company, Ford. Launched in 1938, this deluxe model has been well restored and is beautifully maintained, with minimal wear and tear.

Q. Are any of the cars at the museum ever hired for movies, advertisements, events?

A. On principle, we don’t send our valuable cars or any other item out. Recently, Mohanlal & Sons, the clothing company, had done a shoot with the models using the cars as a backdrop. When we built the museum, we created conference spaces, so that multinational companies could hire our museum for their training off-sites, especially as we have a lot of outdoor spaces and gardens available. We have even had weddings held in the lawns. Our only condition being that the hosts must encourage the guests to visit the museum, in batches.

Q. Do describe a day at the museum. What can a layperson like me find that is different and considered offbeat and cutting edge?

A. The museum is designed in such a way that the visitor can look in from any angle, with its multiple glass atriums. The galleries have an open design module, with many art installations for the culturati to enjoy, for example, Natraj Sharma, an artist from Baroda, has done a thematic installation called “Air Show”, with multiple aircrafts made in copper and encased in a grid. This installation has been sent to Paris, Tokyo and New York.

Then we have a miniature truck designed by Pooja Iranna, and it’s made purely out of staple pins. For children, we have designed pedal cars for them to spin around in the outdoor areas. The non-ticketing space at the entrance has a souvenir shop and a lovely cafeteria.

The Daily Guardian is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@thedailyguardian) and stay updated with the latest headlines.

For the latest news Download The Daily Guardian App.

Lifestyle & Entertainment

ACTOR VIKAS KALANTRI RELEASES A SHORT FILM ON LOCKDOWN

Published

on

MUMBAI: Vikas Kalantri is an actor, producer, director has done films such as Dil Bechara Pyaar Ka Mara, where he appeared alongside actor Mallika Kapoor. Vikas has made a short film on lockdown and how the entertainment industry has been hit.

Vikas spoke to The Daily Guardian about his short film. How did the idea came to you about short film ‘Work From Home’? Well I am not such a fan of work from home, but the situation is such that we have to abide by this. Hence I thought of putting my frustration and of a lot of people I spoke to out there for all to see and relate. Any specific challenge that you faced while shooting the film? Not actually as we had the equipments and everyone was shooting from their homes so no such challenge. Everyone has been dealing with the pandemic, how is it treating you? Well it’s a bit mentally exhausting, I believe in normal life, and seeing people go through what they are going through is not a good thing. Its getting exhausting & to be honest a bit tiring fatigue is setting in.

Continue Reading

Lifestyle & Entertainment

CYCLONE TAUKTAE: KARTIK AARYAN URGES PEOPLE TO STAY INDOORS

Published

on

MUMBAI: Sending out a social message to spread awareness with a hint of humour, Kartik Aaryan, who frequently treats his fans with amusing social media posts, on Monday gave another reason to stay at home: Cyclone Tauktae. The star took to Instagram and posted an intriguing throwback picture from his teenage days. The picture sees a younger Aaryan dressed in a black T-shirt and matching wayfarers. The actor shared the picture and connected it with Cyclone Tauktae that has claimed the lives of many.

The actor wrote in the caption that the cyclone has given us one more reason to stay indoors amid the coronavirus pandemic. With cyclone Tauktae advancing over Mumbai, the ‘Pati Patni Aur Woh’ star captioned the post, “#Tauktae One more reason to stay inside.” Celebrity followers including Kiara Advani and more than 3.1 lakh followers liked the post within 53 minutes of it being posted.

Scores of fans chimed into the comments section as they left red heart and laughing with teary eyes emoticons in appreciation of the post. The cyclone storm that originated over the east-central Arabian Sea has turned into an extremely severe cyclonic storm, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) stated. Time and again, Kartik has used his social media platforms to create awareness about public service announcements.

Continue Reading

Lifestyle & Entertainment

5 ACTRESSES WHO STOLE THE SHOW WITH THEIR KNOCKOUT PERFORMANCES

Published

on

Over the last couple of years, a significant shift has been witnessed in the Indian cinema. While once it was believed that only a male star can turn a movie into a blockbuster, today this formula doesn’t exist anymore. Being at the forefront now, Bollywood actresses are taking up strong and meaty roles in order to be ultimate voice of change. Celebrating these powerful women, we list down 5 top actresses who stole the show with their knockout performances over the years.

1. YAMI GAUTAM

Ever since her dreamy Bollywood debut with ‘Vicky Donor’ in 2012, Yami Gautam has managed to strike the right chord with the audiences. In her career spanning over eight years, Yami has successfully established herself as one of the most versatile and talented actors in the industry today. The diva is being credited for various potent performances including ‘Kaabil (2017)’, ‘Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019)’, ‘Bala (2019)’ and her recent release ‘Ginny Weds Sunny (2020)’. Meanwhile, ready to take box-office by storm, Yami Gautam has 8 releases lined up this year. Taking a note of her recent performances, the diva seems to be in no mood to stop and continue surprising cinelovers with her breakthrough performances. Yami’s upcoming projects include spooky adventure comedy ‘Bhoot Police’, ‘Lapata’, ‘A Thursday’ and ‘Dasvi’.

2. PRIYANKA CHOPRA JONAS

Destiny’s favourite child and a celebrated name globally, Priyanka Chopra Jonas has been breaking glass ceilings for the longest of time. Her global superstardom is proof that she’s unstoppable and why she enjoys a massive fanbase. In her two-decade long Bollywood career, Chopra has delivered several pathbreaking performances including ‘Aitraaz (2004)’, ‘Fashion (2008)’, ‘Kaminey (2009)’, ‘7 Khoon Maaf (2011)’, ‘Agneepath (2012)’, ‘Barfi! (2012)’, ‘Mary Kom (2014)’, ‘Dil Dhadakne Do (2015)’, ‘Bajirao Mastani (2015)’, ‘The Sky Is Pink (2019)’ and latest global release ‘The White Tiger (2021). The National and Filmfare Award winning actress will be next seen in ‘Matrix 4’, ‘Text For You’ and ‘Citadel’.

3. ALIA BHATT

Hailed as one of the most bankable new age actors in the industry today, Alia Bhatt is known to be a directors favourite. Over the years, Alia has delivered some extraordinary performances in her career. Right from Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Highway (2014), ‘Udta Punjab (2016)’ to Gauri Shinde’s ‘Dear Zindagi (2016), Meghna Gulzar’s ‘Raazi (2018) and Zoya Akhtar’s ‘Gully Boy (2019)’ – Bhatt has surprised both, the critics and the audiences with her every performance. After making her debut with ‘Student of the Year’ in 2012, the multi-talented actress has grown to become a household name in a span of just eight years. Her upcoming releases include Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’, ‘Brahmastra’, S. S. Rajamouli’s ‘RRR’ and Karan Johar’s ambitious project ‘Takht’.

4. ANUSHKA SHARMA

Known for always giving something new to the audiences, Anushka Sharma has time and again won hearts with author-backed roles. The actress who turned producer with ‘NH 10 (2015)’, one of her most impactful on-screen characters, has delivered various powerful performances including ‘Sultan (2016)’, ‘Sui Dhaaga (2018)’ and ‘Zero (2018)’.  Anushka  will be next seen in the biopic of the former captain of the Indian women’s cricket team, Jhulam Goswami.

5. TAAPSEE PANNU

Think Taapsee Pannu and you know we are talking about a stellar performer. The Filmfare Award winning actress made a lot of noise with her 2020 release ‘Thappad’  which undoubtedly is her most potent performance. She is also known for her performance in films like ‘Saand Ki Aankh (2019)’, ‘Manmarziyaan (2018)’, ‘Mulk (2018)’ and ‘Pink (2016)’.

Continue Reading

Lifestyle & Entertainment

SCARLETT JOHANSSON GETS SLIMED BY HUSBAND

Published

on

WASHINGTON: American actor Scarlett Johansson’s husband Colin Jost interrupted the actor’s acceptance speech by dumping green slime on her head. The actor received ‘Generation Award’ honour’ at the ‘MTV Movie & TV Awards’ on Sunday as she commemorated her almost three-decade-long career in the film industry.

According to People magazine, midway through the ‘Black Widow’ star’s acceptance speech, husband Jost dumped green slime on her head — a prank that happened to be inspired by the wrong award show. She tells her fans while appearing virtually from home, “This award is made possible by all of you, in fact. And it’s because of that that it’s so meaningful to me.”

Johansson goes on to introduce a clip from ‘Black Widow’ when the goo falls on her head. “What the f***!” she shouts, as Jost says with a smile, “MTV! ‘You got slimed!’

Continue Reading

Lifestyle & Entertainment

HUMA QURESHI SHARES BTS THROWBACK PICTURE FROM ‘ARMY OF THE DEAD’ SETS

Published

on

WASHINGTON: Huma Qureshi on Monday treated fans to a BTS throwback picture from the sets of her Hollywood debut in zombie heist film from Zack Snyder titled ‘Army of The Dead’. The star hopped on to Instagram and posted a picture as she posed in a haphazard and distorted hotel room. In the picture, Qureshi is seen seated cross-legged as she observed the hugely destroyed room. The star is seen donning an all-black ensemble – a black shirt and black denim, and a pair of brown shoes. By having a look at the room one can reckon that a couple of zombies wreaked havoc at the place. Showcasing what she terms the ‘Hollywood Glamour,’ Qureshi captioned the post as, “Me just hanging out on the set of #ArmyOfTheDead waiting to check-in at the Zombie Hotel surrounded by zombie entrails.. You know just regular on set Hollywood Glamour.” She added, “#glam #hollywood #hollywoodglamour#bts #throwback .. And that is @ella_purnell aka Kate hidden behind my giant shoe..This spectacular film is playing on the BIG Screen (select theatres) in the US right NOW!! So everyone in the US watch it now ..and rest of us get to see it on @netflix @netflix_in on the 21st of May #netflix #zombie #zombies.”

Continue Reading

Lifestyle & Entertainment

GAUTAM GULATI GETS CANDID ON NAILING THE MENACING LOOK TO PLAY GIRGIT IN RADHE

Uday Pratap Singh

Published

on

There are characters that come to you once in a lifetime, and Girgit from Radhe is just that for actor Gautam Gulati. Ever since the movie released, his phone has been ringing off the hook on what a good job he has done when it comes to playing the villain. Incidentally, all of Gautam’s favorite characters till date have been the ones that are either all out negative or have negative shades. So, when the dream role of Girgit came his way, he knew exactly what nuances to add in order to enhance the character further such as the smile, something that can be so genuine but in the case of a negative role, it must give you chills down your spine and that is exactly what Girgit succeeds in doing.

Gautam affirms, “I watched several shows on OTT platforms to just gauge and see how to nail the negative character shades right from the look to the expressions and more. And then I added my own shades to Girgit along with Salman sir’s conviction and that is how the character was brought to life. The tattoo and haircut was also conceptualised and decided by Salman sir. The action scenes did require a lot of training, and it has surely paid off.” the transformation was tough, time consuming and mentally draining, but when you see the results that are now visible, we know it was totally worth it!

Continue Reading

Trending