Tuesday, January 25, 2011

dhobi ghat . naked space . hatim tai . chitchor

in dhobi ghat i was taken in by a nostalgia for the city as it is- spectacular, lonely, gorgeous. where strangers meet and fall in love and ghosts haunt apartment buildings. its unashemdly in love with the city and the characters are all warm and gentle. prateik babbar is terrific and so is his love interest. aamir khan acts too hard and the video diaries are a little tiresome and predictable. but thaose are small niggles when some of the images stay with you long after the film. the jia zhangke like images of construction activities above the inner city or the marine drive opening sequence or that climactic rush through saat rasta.

trinh t minh ha's 'naked space- living is round' also makes for some unforgettable images. an architecture without architects journey through the homes of rural africa- phenomenology of dwelling is woven with myth and metaphor. men women wombs. entering and leaving and light and shadow play as the everyday life of a tribe is connected to universal cycles through geometry and structure. the circle. the round. the voice over that played with self reflexive ruminations about looking and voyeurism was intercut with information and some philosophical rambling.

the 'hatim tai' of 1956 is a fable about a fairy who turns into stone over a sultans lustful touch. hatim tai must solve 7 riddles to set her free. each test along his journey is story within a story. characters include a animal/human princess, bodyless heads of women hanging from a tree and many more. its great fun non stop and the special effects and set design are fantastic.

for a nostalgia trip into my childhood nothing worked better than chitchor which i remember half watching when i was in school. it is relentlessly feel-good, sweetened characters and storyline with music that i will always remember. most of the film takes place in a verandah- appropriate for a film about the encounter between the city engineer and the village belle.

Monday, January 17, 2011

vikhroli saturday

the godrej compound in vikhroli is a strange surreal landscape of horizons on all sides and a swanky new auditorium in the middle of mangroves and salt pans, industrial leftovers on the creek, the hills of ghatkopar with the slums that climb them. naresh told me a story of the plane crash there with american foreign correspondents. the dutch might have been to blame.:) later he spoke of the history of jazz in bombay. and there were more- gyan on the writing of history, namita devidayal on the music room of her childhood and now her sons journey into the same streets. she spoke of dhondutai and it reminded me of padmatai who also grew up on the same street in kolhapur. kabi came from los angeles- an ex-taxi driver who told migration stories of the bombay taxi guys and spoke of authenticity and presence. i was part of the post lunch session that started with rahul and matias who spoke of the 'natural city' - not quite an organic city. nature as a metaphor. joi barua sang assamese rock and spoke of making it big in mumbai, while tanisshta chatterjee of her new film 'bombay summer'. post tea was neatly divided into debates about cyber space and public protest by nishant along with rajni bakshi speaking of global public licences; and neera and shaeen speaking of education and ngos very earnestly. and between all of that was some terrific ani difranco and melissa etheridge cover by alisha. homi bhabha did the best he could by making ideas of space/ time - transactional and transitional as themes that tied us all together. that was saturday.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sunday, January 09, 2011

vasai fort- a walk near the sea gate

streets shots

mohammedali road
grant road parsi baug
highway transit camp
highway slum mitra mandal
estate agent
the future of the mill lands
sleepinng on the pavement
andheri metro construction

shirish ki shaadi