Sunday, February 17, 2013

BOMBAY OUR CITY (Documentary) (1985)

‘The reality punch harder to conscience if you have closed your eyes and ears for long and suddenly you face it close to close as it is…uncovered in its striking and shocking side of life questioning itself.’

No, this is not some quote but exactly my state of mind after watching this documentary. The documentary hit me so hard that all those Italian Neorealist tearjerkers that I’ve watched till day seem too mild. The reason is quite genuine- it’s authentic, direct, striking and features the everyday survival reality of underprivileged citizens of enigma named India. The film was made on India’s business metro- Bombay, where behind all those rising modern skyline & archives of Victorian gothic buildings of the city, almost half of its population survives under striking reality and plight of being a slum dweller. It shows us the ratlike life pulping in ugliness of those large shanty slums full of squalor and sadness and a story to move your conscience. These are your everyday helpers in form of construction workers, roadside thelawala, domestic servants, industrial laborers and many things more devoid of all sorts of daily utilities from water, sanitation or electricity.   

The film portrays the demolition drive of slums backed by cops and municipal corporation based on SC’s order. The rehabilitation or legitimate shelter of the underprivileged remains an infinite illusion when nexus between politicians, municipal corporation & builder lobby concern only for one another’s interests. With forced eviction drive the dispossessed slum dwellers surviving on pavements and footpath. The footage of interviews with many of this slum dwellers made us realized their everyday horror and tragedy of life. Contrast to slum dwellers, the film also captures the high society’s views about the underprivileged. It also shows Government’s rigid and ridiculous census & population policy for the city that remained the hub of India’s urbanization. Patwardhan’s moving camera captures punching irony and hypocrisy through images juxtaposed with what those glorious officers stating as rule of law. In private air conditioned halls of business class of Indian Merchants Chamber, we witness the felicitation of the members who successfully manage to remove the encroachment of public places. As shanty squalor of slums which from long tarnishing the image of the city to the world, there were two men who became poster boys of media, business houses and progress. Then Police Comiisioner J F Ribeiro and Municipal Comissioner D M Sukthankar’s eviction drive mission that made multiple headlines in its time.

The film managed to capture the humane side of the whole unlikely reality of Bombay’s poverty and slum  dwelling. The images speak volume of irony here on the face of world’s largest democracy where the engraved equality of constitution rocks are just another filthy joke played on injustice and misery of the children of lesser Gods.

No comments: