Starting July, Mumbai enthusiasts can re-explore the city through a unique course, City Narratives in Literature and Cinema.
The multimedia course conceptualised by filmmaker Madhusree Dutta, will employ films, interactive maps, installations and panel discussions to map the production of cinema in the city and reflect on the reception and experience of this cinema.
“One of the attempts in this project will be to look at the spaces and people one would never associate with this industry and yet are integral cogs in it. We want to create a portrait of cinema citizens who aren’t stars and yet heavily contribute to and consume this industry,” said Dutta, co-founder of Majlis, an inter-disciplinary rights and arts forum.
Dutta put together Cinema City, a multimedia practice to look at the city, which produces cinema.
After a year of archive building, Cinema City is introducing the certificate course in an attempt to take cinema studies outside the classroom.
“We waited to get to a point when we could use the research for the course. The archives now have more material than we can accommodate,” said Dutta.
Cinema City also looks at how cinema creates an imaginary city. “The city we inhabit is often the one peddled in films. The project aims to look at the overlapping in the city we consume through films (the imagined city) and the one we actually live in,” said Dutta.
The project curators hope that in time Cinema City will become an archive of the post-colonial, cinema-soaked, contemporary Asian metropolis.
“Mumbai will serve as a comparative frame for other important Asian cinema cities such as Chennai, Hong Kong and Tehran. We’re making an assumption that the urban experience in these Asian cities is very different from that of Europe and America. Both Hong Kong and Tehran have wonderful cinematic imaginations, be an action film or the role of the child actor. We’re hoping to understand the DNA of these Asian cities, through their cinema,” said George Jose, programme director of Asia Society India Centre.