For years, Darjeeling Tours' groups have experienced a ride on board a Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) Tram in West Bengal, India. Enjoying the ride inside the tram, little do the passengers realise the chaos going on up front. So for the first time, instead of seeing the city pass by as a passenger we can see the view from the Driver's viewpoint.
Travelling through the teeming streets of Kolkata amidst traffic of all sorts coming at us from all angles from pedal carts, to Tuk Tuks, to yellow Ambassador taxis (based on the 1956 Morris Oxford) to lorries and buses of every shape size and colour, this turns out to be not just of interest for tram and train enthusiasts but for anyone who travels the world.
What we see is an Indian city in the raw, with traders, workers and pedestrians going about their every day activities right in front of our eyes completely unaware that they are being filmed. It was just an everyday tram that nobody took any notice of. The footage will almost certainly be viewed in years to come as a snapshot of candid Indian city life, totally fascinating and totally absorbing.
Even in the production process, every time we viewed the footage, we saw something different. For this very reason, when our tram reaches its destination at Gariahat tram depot, we then see the return journey to the original starting point at the Esplanade terminus. To see our tram threading its way through a one way street in the wrong direction is in itself remarkable how everything and everybody manages to get out of the way, but that's India for you.
Because this was made by Video 125, they've added a commentary by the much regarded Jonathan Kydd, their 'man in India' so to speak, having narrated the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Driver's eye views. His commentary is purposely not wall to wall, nor intrusive, because the smooth high definition pictures filmed from state of the art cameras tell the whole story in pictures. This is a must see.
Kolkata Tram Driver's eye view was filmed in 2023 and runs for 80 minutes.
Filmed by Writer and Producer Peter Middleton to live up to the company's exacting standards.
It's also available to download online from Video125.com.
The retail price is £18, and the postage is UK £1.20, EU £3.25, RoW £4.00