Cowboys in India
About IDFA
Cowboys in India
IDFA 2009

Cowboys in India

Simon Chambers
79 min
World Premiere
Festival history
British journalist Simon Chambers, director of this gently self-mocking travelogue, journeys to India in the hope of finding the answer to an honorable journalistic question: is it possible for a large industrial company to help a local community through corporate social responsibility? But the local community of Orissa will surely regret the day that Chambers drove into their town. First off, he recruits guides whose competence turns out to be questionable: on a mountain climb, they are unable to locate the promised river water, the chauffeur takes off, and the remaining guides come up with all kinds of excuses -- from leg pains to toothaches -- to avoid working. But Chambers's amusing lament (accompanied by a spaghetti Western-style soundtrack) changes tone when he discovers the real reason for his guides' reluctance. Vedanta, the British mining company that he is investigating, holds the entire community in its grip. Unsubstantiated rumors surrounding the murder of a resistance leader feed fears of reprisals by the company, which is suspected of dubious practices. Chambers stumbles upon a hospital built by Vedanta with no doctors, allegations of factory waste dumped into the local river, and stories of trucks running people over, but he seldom uncovers the truth. In the end, Chambers has to change his opinion of the guides. He realizes that far from being wimps, they are heroes for daring to accompany the foolish foreigner despite threats from Vedanta.
Screening copy
    Rise Films
    Rise Films
Involved TV Channel
    Channel 4
    Channel 4