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Aditi Shetty : Cars, for me, meant freedom and independence

Actress Aditi Shetty loves cars and they mean more to her than just mere means to travel to places. The actress, who has been part of Car Gi...

Actress Aditi Shetty loves cars and they mean more to her than just mere means to travel to places. The actress, who has been part of Car Girls India as well, says that cars have always been very significant for her and she has always been interested in the automobile industry.

“Cars, for me, meant freedom and independence to go wherever I want without depending on anyone and also safety. When I got my first salary from my anchoring job at 9xm, I decided to invest in a car. That was the time I20 had launched its new model and I loved the color and all the features, so I got that car for myself. It was my first big purchase and gift to myself. I didn’t know how to drive when I purchased the car so the journey of learning and realising how much I enjoyed it was with my i20 and I still drive this baby,” she says.

She adds, “I love the Mercedes AMG GLC 43 because that was the first car I drove while filming Car Girls India. Mercedes is known for its safety, luxury and quality and this one is a crossover on steroids. One of the best-looking sport-back SUVs out there. It’s a powerful beast and I loved driving it.’

She also has a YouTube show on cars. “There are so many shows and channels where men talk about their love and interest for cars and review them. There are so many women who love cars and are interested in everything about cars. I am one of them. So, when my producer Vivek Ganapathy approached me with this concept, I jumped right in. It has been a great ride with Car Girls India, alongside my TV shows Dharampatni and Bhagyalaxmi,” she says.

She says the automobile industry has grown a lot in the past. “If you look at the last century and if there has been one industry that has had the maximum impact on human evolution, it is the automobile industry. Every country's economy in some form or fashion has been directly impacted positively by the automotive industry and cars have become icons of art, culture and science. Some of the biggest technological breakthroughs have come from the auto industry. Some of the best designs have been seen in cars. Cars and motorbikes are not just about mobility; they are equally about the confluence of science and art and with it, human evolution in the industrial age,” he says.

Talking about her experience with car-shows, she says, “My most favourite experience was when we filmed in the sand dunes in the Thar desert with Mahindra Thar. It was my first ever time dune bashing, it was truly a challenge. My coach from Mahindra Adventure was really impressed by my excitement and quick learning skills, it was an awesome feeling driving on the dunes. I performed some stunts and the off- roading gave me such an adrenaline rush. I loved every bit of it from the sunsets, the food, the people, the culture and tradition of Jaisalmer. I can’t wait to go back.”

Ask her what advice she has for people who are interested in getting involved in car culture, but don't know where to start, and she says, “I am going to be a bit selfish here and tell you to come check out my work at Car Girls India. I am happy to have been part of this first of its kind all-women automotive and travel show from day one of its inception. In fact, the very first shot of Car Girls India was of mine wearing a saree and driving a supercar. Subsequently I have myself been featured in some super exclusive episodes which are informative. Apart from that, there are many other international YouTube channels, books, movies etc for you to discover your love for cars, bikes and all things automotive. One of the best ways to get involved in car culture is to join a local car club, nothing beats talking about cars with friends who have a similar passion.”

Car technology will only develop more in the future, says Aditi, adding, “We are in a transition phase right now from ICE (internal combustion engines) to electric vehicles. While this is considered as a move for a better environment, the long-term results will only be known at a much later stage. However, one cannot deny that the enthusiasts don't like this shift to electric as it is not the same raw feeling as we have with ICE cars. The sound of an exhaust is something every true auto enthusiast loves and this is an integral part of car culture; however, with transition to EVs, we need to wait and watch how the car culture will evolve without this important piece.”

However, the car industry is considered to be a male-dominated industry, but this needs to change, says Aditi, adding, “First things first, we are here to break that notion. The only way a ‘male-dominated’ industry will change is simply by more women taking to the steering wheel. I am glad we are making a small but significant contribution in that direction through means of informative yet fun automotive content. In a country like India, we still hear things like ‘Dekho, ladki gaadi chala rahi hai’, but what many people don't realise is that the first step is to encourage women and give them the confidence that they can do it too. Of course, we can! There are so many women pilots, train locomotive drivers, bus drivers, auto drivers, etc. As the country progresses and there is a shift from patriarchal mindsets, this will also change; more and more women will hit the road and I am confident we will also have a Motorsports lady superstar from India in the near future.”

Talking about her upcoming projects or episodes for her YouTube show, she says, “Yes! We have super exciting projects coming up and I am going to be featured in automotive content like you have never seen before. You can expect some crazy drives in the Himalayas, cross-country expeditions, most exclusive supercars and hypercars and it gives me great excitement that I am going to be part of such upcoming projects. Great times ahead!”

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