Monday, August 15, 2005

Needed a Project Swades for Cities too

Swades premiered today afternoon on STAR Gold. Swades is inspired by a real life story of a hydel power project in a village in Maharashtra. Director Ashutosh Gowariker used the story in his film showing the effort of a dedicated individual who gets the villagers of Charanpur to help themselves by starting a hydel power generation project to provide electricity to their village. It is a lovely, simple movie fired with idealism. Watch it, if you haven't.

As a part of India's Independence Day celebrations, STAR Gold joined hands with director Ashutosh Gowariker to come up with Project Swades — “generation of electricity through integrated community development”. Through Project Swades, viewers were encouraged to chip in with Rs 10 each (by sending an SMS) to help light up a village. STAR Gold is to make an equal contribution for every SMS. Reality apes the film to help light up rural India.

My friends and me were looking forward to a good afternoon today. The "gang" had planned to watch the film together at a friend's place. We all had watched it earlier but liked it enough to watch it again. And as our contribution to Project Swades, we had all decided that each one of us would chip in with the Rs 10 SMS during every ad break.

Things proceeded excellently for over an hour. The movie was as spell binding as the first time we had watched it. Then it happened. The TV suddenly went blank. A few frantic minutes later we got through to our cable TV operator. "Sorry," he said, and sounded genuinely apologetic about it. "2.30 PM to 6.30 PM is load shedding in my area. I thought that the MSEB had suspended load shedding in the past few weeks and I thought they wouldn't do it especially today. It being 15th August and. . . But. . ."

We hung around desultorily for some time in the hope that power to the cable lines would be restored. After nearly 40 minutes I got up, "I am going. And writing a post about this," I told my friends.

"Do that," one called out, "and while you are at it, see if there's a project Swades for suburbs and cities. We need one too."

Or we can find our own river and start our own hydel power project.


solzaire said...

oops. sorry you all (amby gang?) couldn't watch it.
by the way - i really don't think project swades is any right way of doing things. noble aim and all, and i'll gladly part with my 10 bucks and more, but this kind of thing is exactly the recipe for disaster don't you think? in the movie itself there is talk of doing things via the govt. however inefficient that may be. anyway, more later.

Mandar said...

hi mandar!

what is the number to which the SMS is to be sent? and what is the text of the SMS supposed to contain?

mandar talvekar said...

Hi Mandar,
You have to SMS "Swades" to 7827. Try it -- i am not sure how long the project is open.

Shantanu (aka Solizaire),
Project Swades has an NGO that is implementing the project. Sure it means much good publicity for the tv channel -- but i would support it for two reasons -- it is a good initiative and i am sure project swades, like the movie, would help increase the awareness of the situation in our rural areas.
One project swades though might not solve all the problems (and i admit that there are many sides to these problems) but nevertheless it is a start.
Looking forwrd to hear your thoughts.

Kapil said...

Another kick on our butts.