“India with Sanheev Bhaskar” is one of a series of programmes to celebrate the fact that it is 60 years since India and Pakistan gained independence from the British Empire. For his series of 4 programmes, he was asked to do something different – so he talks of a programme where an Indian visits India. His first stop is Bombay (now known as Mumbai) where every taxi driver wants to be a film star or actor.
Sanjeev visits the set of the most popular soap opera in India and is offered a part on another programme by the star’s show.
Mumbai is the financial heart of India with lots of investments and developments. Sanjeev meets the manager of the Raymond clothing line, Gautam Singhaniawho is one of India’s richest men owning many cars and his own private helicopter. This showed that it was possible to make it big. The downside of developments in Mumbai is that shacks are being torn down and the poor are getting poorer.
On his second day in Mumbai, Sanjeev went to the outer suburbs and saw a prospering trade in the recycling business. Householders were paid for their old newspapers, plastics, clothing etc which they then sold on to recycling markets. In the afternoon , Sanjeev was asked to be a judge on a beauty pageant – Mrs India. Unlike more traditional pageants where contestants declare an interest in children, animals and world peace, the potential Mrs. Indias were question about their views on marital rape.
The programme also focussed on Sanjeev’s visit to Infosys, 15km from Bangalore. They employ around 6,500 on their bright and modern campus – like a hi-tech University – all pyramids and glass. The employees spoke of the fact that they were able to afford to have mortgages and buy a house (something their parents had not managed until retirement).
We were then taken to the coastal town of Cochin renowned for its spices particularly cardamom, pepper and cinnamon. This is an area of natural beauty and a popular destination for Indian holiday makers, in stark contrast to the built up cities. This is an interesting series giving an opportunity to view different sides of India.