Wel­come to In­dia

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Wed­nes­day, 9.35pm, SBS One In­cred­i­bly, with the world’s pop­u­la­tion at 7 bil­lion, one in six peo­ple lives in In­dia. The idea be­hind this doc­u­men­tary se­ries, de­but­ing tonight, is that we must all learn to live in close prox­im­ity to oth­ers. No coun­try on earth has achieved this as well as In­dia. Yes, ne­ces­sity is the mother of in­ven­tion, but the pro­gram aims to demon­strate that no mat­ter how dense the crowd, you can still carve out a home. In tonight’s de­but episode we fol­low a 23-year-old man who has ven­tured forth from the coun­try to the city of Kolkata. Im­ran lives in a crum­bling house in the heart of the city’s jew­ellery mak­ing district. If you thought con­di­tions in The Best Ex­otic Marigold Ho­tel were chal­leng­ing, you should see the way the real peo­ple live. And yet, just as in that film, there ex­ists a great beauty that is not al­ways im­me­di­ately ac­ces­si­ble to the west­ern eye. Gold, it turns out, is the in­surance pol­icy of In­di­ans. Ac­cord­ing to this doc­u­men­tary, In­dian house­wives hold 11 per cent of the world’s gold stocks. That’s more than the re­serves of the US, Ger­many, Switzer­land and the IMF put to­gether. How­ever, any no­tion of ci­ti­zens there drip­ping in the stuff should be im­me­di­ately dis­pelled. The characters we meet pre­fer to sleep on the hard, rat-in­fested streets than in their crowded, sti­fling rooms. This is a fas­ci­nat­ing ex­cur­sion into one of the globe’s most unique hu­man sit­u­a­tions.

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