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Friends, you must have watched Titanic, James Cameron's $200-million 194-minute feature film, which, many predicted, would be as ill- fated as its subject matter but which became the most successful movie of all times as its US box office takings reached $477,349,092.

All critics have agreed that there has never been an impact like this in movie history. But do you know what real 'Titanic" was? 'lb answer this question we have to go back 83 years back. 15 April, North Atlantic 1912 The world's largest ocean liner, the White Star Line's Titanic sank in the Atlantic, early this morning, with the loss of more than 1500 lives. She was on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York when she struck against an iceberg at 20 minutes before midnight.

Declared unsinkable before, she sailed. The Titanic took just two and a half hours to slip beneath the surface. Her captain, Edward Smith, was an experienced mariner of 62 who had enjoyed an uneventful career. The night of l4lh April 1912 was clear, with a flat, calm sea. At about 9:00 p.m. Smith agreed with the officer of the watch that even if an iceberg should appear, he would have time to avoid it.

In fact, the Titanic had received six messages, warning of a great belt of ice stretching across her path. The liner carried enough lifeboats for about half those on board. even so many boats left the ship only half-filled. The Titanic had never had a boat drill, and few of the crew knew how to handle the davits from which the boats were lowered. But there was no panic.

The survivors related, how the band played on as Titanic began to lilt. The last tune they played was the jaunty hit Autumn, all players perished. Captain Smith went down with his ship and many passengers showed equal gallantry. Colonel John Astar helped his wife into a boat saying: "Goodbye dear, 1 will join you later." He never did. Mrs Isidore Strauss would not leave her husband declaring: "We have lived 40 years together, and we will not part now in old age. " The couple were last seen in each others arms. But the Chairman of White Star Line, Bruce Ismay, did survive, earning criticism from those who believe that he should have gone down, along with his unsinkable ship.



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