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Slumdogs turn photogs

Kids from Dharavi not only pick up cameras for the first time but also display pictures of their surroundings at city gallery.

art and culture Updated: Apr 22, 2012 15:47 IST
Shweta Mehta

Photographers and documentary filmmakers have always lurked around Dharavi, looking to capture the murky interiors of the slum and the lifestyle of its inhabitants. Especially after Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire (2008), they’ve only grown in number.

And that has always aroused the curiosity of the little kids in the area. The more adventurous among these kids have even gone up to the tourists and asked to see the cameras and learn what they’re capable of. Now, not only have they had a chance to hold them and use them, but they are also having their work displayed at a suburban gallery.

“Many of them have shown interest in becoming photographers,” says their teacher, Himanshu S of Bombay Underground. The batch of 15 kids was formed by the NGO Reality Gives, and has been receiving art classes since November. “I would teach them drawing and painting. Then we managed to buy two cameras with the help of donations, so I’d split them into groups of four and five and they would share the cameras,” says Himanshu.

The kids, fascinated by the device, picked up the skill very quickly and were soon clicking everything from their houses to their families and dogs to similar colours that are visually appealing to them. Sixty pictures are now on display and up for sale.

“We hope to raise money to buy more cameras for the kids. Thirty-eight more have joined the class, so we need more supplies. The aim is to be able to have one camera per kid for the ones who are interested in photography,” says Himanshu.

The NGO is also inviting visitors to donate old cameras that they no longer use. “For some of them, it’s a real thrill to be shooting. We’ll teach them for another six months, and if they want to grow up to be photographers, we want to help them figure it out.”

Dharavi: Hum Baccho Ki Nazar Se is on display at False Ceiling Gallery, Bandra (W) till April 24.