Life in a metro: Rediscover your city via a film festival | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Life in a metro: Rediscover your city via a film festival

The Urban Lens Festival is debuting in Mumbai this weekend, with its previous editions held in Delhi and Bangalore. Catch short films, documentaries and feature films exploring what it means to live in a city.

mumbai Updated: Dec 02, 2017 12:44 IST
Rachel Lopez
Rachel Lopez
Hindustan Times
The Urban Lens Festival is a good place to catch movies you couldn’t find, or didn’t know about — like Hardik Mehta’s heartwarming documentary, Amdavad ma Famous (above), which unfolds against the backdrop of the annual Uttarayan kite festival.
The Urban Lens Festival is a good place to catch movies you couldn’t find, or didn’t know about — like Hardik Mehta’s heartwarming documentary, Amdavad ma Famous (above), which unfolds against the backdrop of the annual Uttarayan kite festival.
URBAN LENS FESTIVAL
  • WHEN: Saturday, December 2 and Sunday, December 3
  • WHERE: Godrej India Culture Lab, Vikhroli
  • ENTRY IS FREE. To register, email indiaculturelab@godrejinds.com

Even in Mumbai, where slums flourish at the feet of skyscrapers, it’s possible to exist in a bubble. It’s possible to go from home to Uber to office to swanky mall or trendy restaurant and believe this everyone’s life. Or that city experiences everywhere are the same.

See metros in a new light at the Urban Lens Film Festival. It’s held three editions before, in Delhi and Bangalore, and the Mumbai debut brings a kind of highlights reel: short films, documentaries and feature length fiction films that explore what it means to live in a city in India.

“We live in cities but don’t see so many aspects of it,” says Subasri Krishnan who heads the media lab of the Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Human Settlements which is organising the festival. “Here’s a change to understand them through documentation, humour and poetry.”

South African filmmaker Pablo Pineda’s Noma will also be screened. It follows a young, single mother of two as she looks for a home after being evicted from a settlement.

The films include Mira Nair’s India Cabaret, which focuses on bar dancers and Hardik Mehta’s Amdavad ma Famous, about the Gujarat city’s kite festival. There’s also South African filmmaker Pablo Pineda’s Amnesty Human award-winning Noma, which follows a young, single mother of two as she looks for a home after being evicted from a settlement.

The theme of displacement echoes in Avijit Mukul Kishore’s Vertical City, which focuses on slum rehabilitation in Mumbai during the 1990s. “Slums were semi-legalised and then moved out,” says Kishore. But what was intended to be a step up has made life worse for residents. Scenes from a 1971 newsreel about rehabilitation cut through the scenes, showcasing the idea’s genesis. “I wanted to see what changed and what hasn’t,” he says.

The festival, Kishore says is a great platform to watch films “you didn’t know where to find or didn’t even know existed”. There are conversations with directors, panel discussions and exhibitions. “Cities are where cosmopolitanism trumps hierarchies like caste, where you find not just employment but also home.” It’s also events unfolding outside your bubble will ultimately affect you.