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Saturday, July 10, 2010


Sudarshan Varadhan
Express News Service
First Published : 07 Jun 2010 12:12:25 AM IST
Last Updated :

Half past two, a hot Saturday afternoon and I was typically bored, not knowing what to do. It was World Environment Day and I thought it was time to keep myself updated. Thankfully, the British Council helped me do something relevant and constructive.

I attended the UKEFF special preview of five short films organised by Nat Geo and the British Council, all of which shared a common plot — climate change.

The first film to be screened was Notes From A Green City, a film about the various measures employed by the city of Surat to mitigate the impact of climate change at the municipal corporation level, which can serve as a prototype model to the other cities.

The second film, Wheeling In Change, glorified the blistering comeback of the least expensive, yet long forgotten green vehicle, the bicycle. The film forayed into the lives of a group of motivated professionals who’re doing their bit to bring climate change to a standstill by cycling their way to their respective offices.

Next in line was Blocks Of Green, which ventured into the relatively unexplored arenas of green buildings in Mumbai and Kolkata.

It stressed on the importance of rainwater harvesting and made the idea of power conservation and control of carbon emissions look ridiculously easy. It provided a refreshing insight into the world of an architect and the obstacles, costs and benefits that he encounters while planning a green agenda. The penultimate film was a piece of cinematographic brilliance pertinently titled Melting Paradise, which layered on the sensitive issue of disappearing glaciers in India’s own Kashmir. The Miracle Water Village, a documentary about the remote village of Hilware Bazaar that receives a scanty supply of rain every year, proved to be a fitting finale. The village that lies on the right side of the Konkan coast receives a meagre 40 cm of rain every year but still manages to reap a fortune year after year, thanks to their unity coupled with a steely resolve to keep things afloat.

Noted celebrity couple Nagarjuna and Amala Akkineni gave voiceovers in the brief interims between the films. The programme came to a close after the audience had a brief interaction with Ajay Bedi, maker of Melting Paradise. The evening left me thinking about a lot of things. I was inspired and motivated like never before. After all, no one wants to see polar bears under palm trees.

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