Friday, April 16, 2010

The Story Of India.

Saw a wonderful 6 hour documentary, on the history of India. Presented and conceptualized by an Englishman called Michael Wood. This is an ambitious undertaking, trying to distill the entire history of India in a manner that is cohesive and comprehensive. He and his team do quite a good job of it. Shot on actual historical locales like Turkmenistan , Madurai, Khyber Pass, Harappa, Kurukshetra etc. The documentary offers a good panoramic view of different aspects of Indian history.

Starts with the pre-Aryan Dravidian history, Indus civilization, Vedic era. Then it describes the birth of religions like Buddhism and Jainism. The prominence of the Silk route and the Spice route. The Golden Ages of India under the Mauryan,Chola and Gupta empires. Followed by the Mughal era, ending with the British and the Partition. The narrator travels in trains by 2nd class or by road giving a very earthy feel to it, he is effusive and enthusiastic throughout, and seems to be an ardent Indophile. The documentary also borrows footage generously from various historical dramas on TV or Movies .

It was like the NCERT history books I had read at school had come alive. If I had seen this in school, it would have been so fascinating to co-relate all this information with the written stuff. I found the books for history in school well-written and exhaustive, but did not get the feel or involvement as with the visual and aural medium.

I would definitely recommend this documentary to anyone who is even remotely interested in Indian history.


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