A Story Worth Watching
The Story of India is an informative and visually beautiful document from one of the UK's most popular historians. Comprised of six one-hour chapters, it is not the whole story of India, nor is it perhaps the best story of India. But anyone coming to this series wanting to learn something about the world's most ancient culture will find many treasures here.
Michael Wood attempts to cover the major events and trends of Indian history beginning with the migration of Africans into India 70,000 years ago, and ending with Independence in 1947. He impresses as someone deeply knowledgeable and passionate about his subject, and erudite in explaining it. Unfortunately the story often unwinds as Wood chases down bits of arcania of interest only to amateur historians and archaeologists, and on occasion the production wanders far afield for what Wood and his producer may have supposed might be attractive footage, such as the presenter riding in a tank in Iraq.
Some of the most interesting moments of the series are in the bonus material, unscripted footage of interactions between the camera crew and Indians that give an immediate sense of life on the subcontinent. It's too bad more such scenes could not have been included, and a lot of the historical trivia left out.