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Monsoon Railway (2005)

TV Movie  -   -  Documentary  -  12 May 2005 (UK)
6.0
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A look at three typical employees on Indian Railways as they fight the annual battle to keep the railway service running during the monsoon season.

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A look at three typical employees on Indian Railways as they fight the annual battle to keep the railway service running during the monsoon season.

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railway | monsoon | train | india | See All (4) »

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Documentary

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12 May 2005 (UK)  »

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The Title Says It All
24 March 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

What you expected is what you get.. Here's the BBC summary of the two-part mini-series:

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Monsoon Railway traces the amazing stories of some of the 1.5 million people who work for the world's greatest railway.

For the last 150 years the railway in India has driven social and economic development in the country, and it is a railway on which the billion-strong population depends.

Focusing on an area in the North East of India - Assam and Bengal - Monsoon Railway captures a rare snapshot of the lives of those who work on the network, and follows three workers from July to September 2004 during the unforgiving rains of the summer monsoon.

The programmes track the monsoon through the eyes of Steve D'Cruz, a train guard from Kharagpur; Tapas Bagchi, a trouble-shooting traffic inspector from Kolkata; and Subash Kumar Rain, a young Darjeeling wannabe rock star and assistant driver in the wilds of Assam. We also meet Bombaya, a free-wheeling 11-year-old orphan who lives on platforms, and Mukteshwar, a religious coolie. ------------------------------------------------------------------

I couldn't have summarised it better myself - you almost feel like you're there, can almost experience the bustle, the voices, the smells. Railways in India are not what they are in the so-called "civilised" west. The lives and aspirations of the managers, workers, passengers, and all who live close to the railway are tied to it. It's their life-blood, and that comes over strongly in the two episodes. There's not a great deal about the engineering or technology here, but even if that's what you're interested in, watch "Monsoon Railway". It'll change your view of railways and what they're all about, and your distant myopic view of ordinary working people in India for ever. You'll realise just how important the life-giving monsoon rains and what we consider just to be a transport system are to these people. At the end I wanted to see more - it's excellent.

I watched this after enjoying the recent BBC series "Indian Hill Railways" about three of the smaller and historical local railways that grind up into the misty wooded hills. No review on IMDb yet, but perhaps I'll just have to write my own - it's another not to miss.


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