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Ganges [Blu-ray]

4.3 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Filmed in stunning high definition and coming to DVD and Blu-ray Disc, Ganges is a sumptuous series that tells the story of the most extraordinary river in the world. The Ganges runs through the heart of India. For millions of Hindus it is India's sacred river, but they share its banks and waters with a rich variety of wildlife. In a kaleidoscope of color and energy, this amazing series reveals how the Ganges has shaped the wildlife, culture and beliefs of India. The journey begins at the source of the river, high in the cold peaks of the Himalayas. It heads down past tigers, otters, peacocks and wild herds of elephants before reaching Varanasi, one of the oldest and most sacred cities in the world. Arriving at the delta, where the Ganges meets the sea, modern cities such as Calcutta join with the ancient swamps of the Sunderbans. This amazingly diverse wetland, rarely filmed before, is home to giant lizards, man-eating crocodiles, and forests full of monkeys. Here the tiger is still king, and man is on the menu.

Amazon.com

Watching Ganges, one might be inclined to hit the pause button every now and then so as to ponder and absorb the images that have just passed by, so breathtakingly beautiful is nearly every frame of this extraordinary film. This is the kind of production that was born to be viewed in High Definition, and one that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the groundbreaking Planet Earth. But while both series were made by the BBC, there are notable differences between the two. For one thing, Ganges is considerably shorter (its three parts total about two and a half hours); for another, while its focus is largely on nature and wildlife, it has a much more prominent human presence (no surprise, considering that the river wends its way through India, the world's second most populous nation, and that nearly a tenth of all people on Earth live within the Ganges' basin).

Regarded as a goddess, described as the nexus of the natural and spiritual worlds, and variously known as "The Daughter of the Mountains," "The River of Life," and "Ganga Ma" (Mother Ganges), the river begins in the Himalayas (the exact source is uncertain; four sacred sites are visited by Hindu pilgrims). Fed by numerous streams, snowmelt, glaciers, and rain, it makes its way westward across the plains of the Indian subcontinent, passing through Rishikesh, Varanasi (known as the holiest city on the river), the teeming metropolis of Calcutta, and the forbidding delta forest known as the Sunderbans before emptying into the Bay of Bengal. Along the way, we see an astonishing variety of animals: snow leopards, hawk-like lammergeiers with their ten-foot wingspans, langurs and macaques, mahseer (the world’s largest carp, weighing up to 50 kilograms), peacocks, otters, cranes, tigers, rhinos, and on and on. Meanwhile, the Hindu reverence for nature is constantly apparent--especially in a village where deadly cobras roam freely in the streets, virtually ignored by the residents (who consider themselves virtually immune; bites are frequent, but no one seems to die from them, a strange anomaly in country where twenty thousand people are killed by snakes every year). The cinematography is never less than gorgeous, whether it’s a closeup of a rhododendron or a panoramic mountain vista; frequent use of time-lapse photography only adds to the grandeur (cf. an incredible sequence depicting the arrival of the summer monsoon). Expertly narrated by Sudha Bhuchar, Ganges combines bravura technique and sheer artistry to create a genuinely inspiring viewing experience. Extras include a "making of" mini-doc and deleted scenes. --Sam Graham


Special Features

  • Behind-the-scenes
  • Deleted scenes
  • English, Hindi and Bengali narration

Product Details

  • Actors: Sudha Bhuchar
  • Format: Blu-ray, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: Unknown
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 11, 2011
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0014VPFRM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,053 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
The BBC have another winner on their hands. Starting in the Himalayas and
following the course of the Ganges in 3 episodes they explore the people places and wild life of the regions bordering the river.

The scenery of the mountains is simply amazing on Blu Ray, the full force of the spring melt is captured and conveyed almost as if you were there. Amazing film work and worth watching at least twice I feel.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
We just watched Ganges a few weeks ago and were blown away. We are Indian and the people we invited to see the film were Indian as well, so this was especially relavent to us.

The documentary overall was quite good, it not only focused on the physical aspects of the river (how it effects the environment) but its spiritual significance as well. The photography in this film is amazing.

The Blu-ray presentation was stunning, and the level of detail and color was really heightened. It really made the documentary come to life. And surprisingly for a documentary, the DTS track was quite good, and the narration and music did a good job enhancing the experience. I don't think we would be as involved in the events if we were watching it on DVD.

Anyone interested in India or history in general should check this out!

Technical Specs
* BD-25 Single-Layer Disc
* Region Free
Video Resolution/Codec
* 1080i/VC-1
Aspect Ratio(s)
* 1.78:1
Audio Formats
* English DTS 5.1 Surround
* Hindi Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
* Bengal Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles/Captions
* English SDH
Supplements
* Featurette
* Deleted Scenes
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Format: Blu-ray
I had seen this series on television but the blu-ray release is simply stunning. The premise of the story is simple - follow the Ganges from source to delta - and it is the intermingling of people and wildlife that makes the programmes so compelling. Sometimes the interaction can be uplifting - the fisherman feeding the baby otter - and sometimes quite depressing - the tigers that are forced into smaller and smaller spaces to survive. The high definition format brings every whisker and snowflake into sharp relief as well as providing breathtaking views of the mountains and the river valley. Admittedly, some shots - like those of the snow leopard - were not in high definition but, for me, that just reflected the reality of the rareness of these creatures. Up until a few years ago, there was no film of them at all. The extras are interesting (all in normal definition). The montage of deleted extras was mesmerising and the story of filming the emaciated tiger quite heartbreaking. If you like BBC nature then this disc is one you will enjoy - the narrative is compelling, the wildlife fascinating, and the quality of picture superb.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Excellent footage and commentary at times. I do not know who is the author of commentary on religion though. The producers (and the narrator seems to be a person with Indian accent) are dishing out utter non-sense regarding Hinduism (Sanatna Dharma). These producers and / or script writers are the ones who do not understand Hindu religion and/or Sanatana Dharma. At one point the narration is like this (quoting verbatim): "The animist origins of the religion ensures animals a powerful role in Hindu belief"

At one point trying to praise Muslim invasion of Bharat varsha by bloody Moguls, the narrator, compares Hindus to Muslims and claims that Moguls had better scientific know how (and praises the Moguls heritage) "Their scientific heritage compelled them to understand and master it". Now, to be fair, Moguls might have had better weapons and the desert culture of "kill or conquer", but certainly not scientific mind or achievement. Here is where the biases of the producer (or script writer) sets a negative tone degrading Hindus. And this is unacceptable, to me, because it not a correct interpretation.

It appears to me that these producers or script writers are totally against Hindu beliefs (at least they come across so naive or completely misinformed). To me they are ultra liberals trying to defame Hindu faith. And they (DVD) show this village where the snakes freely roam about and nobody kills it. What is that got to do with Ganga (Ganges)? I feel, the producers are deliberately putting footage to embarrass the average Hindu. If there is any faith / religion (way of life) that values life (not just human life), then it is found in India.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Very beautiful cinematography and great narration makes for a great documentary.
On par qualitywise with the planet earth series, this blu ray is excellent.
If you like nature/travel doc's this is one you will want to add to your collection.
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By Sanjoy on December 11, 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Having been born and raised in India and also being to a few places that have been shown here, it was more like a trip down the memory lane. This is a very well filmed, covered and illustrated documentary about a river that has been revered as sacred in India for ages, but sadly, relegated through the last few decades to almost a drainage for the hundreds of millions for whom it is everything from a washer to a toilet.

Brilliant documentary.....
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