October 04, 2015



Produced by National Geographic Society, this six part series celebrates six of the world's most iconic rivers and the manner in which they have impact the lives, the culture and the history of the people who inhabit their banks since the beginning of recorded history. As we journey from their source to the point where they drain into the ocean, a special focus is made on educating the viewer regarding the problems that plague these massive water bodies and what would happen if the disappear, a scary thought for one. Each episode, lasting for about an hour is narrated by John Morgan and tells the saga of one river. The rivers covered in the series include the Amazon, the Ganga, the Mississippi, the Nile, the Rhine and the Yangtze.

Like most documentaries produced by the NGS, the camera work is splendid. Be it the shots of the Amazonian rain forests or that of the aarti to the Ganga along the ghats of Varanasi, the entire series is for sure a visual treat. The information is concise and is presently in a nice manner; the journey begins from the source and as we flow towards the mouth, there are stop overs at villages, towns and cities that are situated along its bank where we are told of the cultural and historical importance of the river and its association with the lives of the people who live along it. Rather than being a plain narrative, we are also told about the people whose very existence is dependent on the river and their side of the story is also recounted; this helps in understanding the importance of the river and the ways in which it has touched people's lives socially, historically and culturally. The threats to the existence of these rivers in the form of global warming, dam construction, discharge of pollutants and over exploitation is also talked about.

Perhaps, adding more rivers to the list, for example, the Indus or the Danube and the Euphrates would make it all the more comprehensive. I hope the makers are listening and that we soon have a second season of this otherwise brilliant series. This was the first time that I was watching a documentary on topics other than history or wildlife and I did enjoy it.