However, Bachchan’s scriptwriter had a novel take on the crisis: he blamed the poor for preventing India from realizing its true potential. As he potters around the 5.6-kilometer bridge, Bachchan says, “One India is straining at the leash, eager to spring forth and live up to all the adjectives that the world has been recently showering upon us. The other India is the leash.”

At the end of the long spot (which runs two minutes, thirteen seconds), Bachchan declares, “The ride has brought us to the edge of time’s great precipice. And one India—a tiny little voice at the back of the head—is looking down at the bottom of the ravine and hesitating. The other India is looking up at the sky and saying, ‘It’s time to fly.’” Bachchan then strides off purposefully across the bridge, even though the middle span hasn’t been constructed yet. But the camera, as is often the case these days, doesn’t follow him to his logical end. 


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Naresh Fernandes is editor in chief of Time Out India.