Accidental love

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Bollywood movie, Chalte Chalte, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukherji features a Ashok Leyland truck. Released in 2003, the movie is a romantic drama with Shahrukh Khan playing the role of a small truck fleet owner, and Mukherji playing the role of an aspiring fashion designer. From Greece, Mukherji stays with her aunt in India, and has her life well organised. In comparison, Khan’s character is of a person who lives a happy, albeit carefree life. Living life on his own terms, Khan and Mukherji meet quite by accident in the movie. Mukherji nearly crashes her car into Khan’s truck, a Ashok Leyland Comet Gold truck. The two get off to a rocky start. Shahrukh tows Mukherji’s car as it lands in a ditch. As she gets down to shout at Khan, she forgets to pull the parking brake! Past many twists and turns, and a bit of romance and a ride in the truck, the two get married. They don’t stay happily ever after however. Instead, they get into a habit of arguing. Things get bad as Khan sees his business suffer. A happy ending is eventually arrived at, but not without reflecting upon the ups and downs in the life of a truck fleet operator.

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The Ashok Leyland Comet Gold truck that features in the movie was launched in 2001. A 4×2 haulage truck in the 16-tonne GVW segment, the truck is powered by a six-cylinder, 6.5-litre AL 402 H series turbo diesel engine. The engine produces a maximum power of 136 PS at 2400 rpm, and is mated to a five-speed synchromesh manual transmission. Employing pressed steel G45 FES without reinforcement, which helped to keep the kerb weight low, the Comet Gold came to be known for the higher payload it could offer. The suspension of the truck consisted of semi elliptical multi leaf springs all round. Power steering was offered as an option. Equipped with a fully floating single-speed hypoid gear at the rear axle, the front axle of the truck was made up of a forged ‘I’ section reverse elliot type beam. Built robust, the Comet Gold found use in cement and road construction segments.

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