One of the greatest challenges in making Indian School was choosing where to shoot it. We wanted to confine the series to just one city and not run the risk of trying to give an overview of every aspect of education throughout the whole country. However, in a country of well over a billion people and hundreds of thousands of schools we were in danger of having too much choice. But we knew we wanted to reflect a side of Indian life that is rarely seen on our screens; the burgeoning middle classes — ambitious, interesting, and erudite people who seem constantly on the move as they ride the IT boom. Looking for that sector of society quickly narrowed our scope down to a few of the fastest growing high-tech cities and Pune seemed an ideal candidate; close to Mumbai with rapidly expanding economy and a large, highly skilled middle-class population.
We had a fascinating time visiting around 20 schools in Pune before selecting two that really stood out: Kalmadi Shamarao High School, a private school proud of its solid discipline and high academic achievements, and Rewachand Bhojwani Academy, another private school but with a rather more liberal environment and relaxed approach to education. Both schools proved to be perfect for the series, with contrasting styles, lively and talkative pupils who put most westerners to shame, compelling head-teachers with genuine insight and a remarkable willingness to throw open their doors and let the rest of the world see just what it’s like to be part of the future of this extraordinary country. As one of the pupils says, “who could fail to be amazed by India.”
— Bill Locke
Bill Locke, Executive Producer
Bill Locke specializes in history projects, as well as the developing world and observational series. Recent productions include: Ape to Man, a special film for the History Channel, telling the story of the discovery of human evolution (recent winner of an Emmy for best documentary script and the U.S. Academy of Science’s best television program award); African School, a series following life in the Ugandan town of Masindi for the BBC’s Africa Lives season (the series recently won two One World Awards); The Queen’s Cavalry, a behind-the-scenes series about the Household Cavalry for BBC1; The First Emperor, for Discovery and Channel 4 about Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor; and Prince Eddy, The King We Never Had, a program revealing the truth about Queen Victoria’s oldest grandson. For Five he recently made The Secret Life of Queen Elizabeth. Bill also directed Helen of Troy, presented by Bettany Hughes, for Channel 4/PBS.
Emma De'Ath, Executive Producer