Cities and cinema are the twins of the 20th century. Though in the first half of the century it was primarily the west that developed and produced cinema, since the 1950s Asian cinema has slowly developed a distinct identity. The postcolonial cities, the vast metropolises and the moving people of the region have evolved a certain discipline which is as much about city narratives as about a distinct cinematic convention of representation. Cinema City is a project to document, archive and re-read these cinema-producing cities through images and narratives within cinema and its impacts and manifestations in the lived world; involving inter-disciplinary and collaborative research, pedagogy and art and media productions. Though the project aims to expand into an archive of post-colonial Asian metropolises that produce cinema, currently the work is being concentrated only on Bombay.
Bombay cinema’s city narratives have portrayed and disseminated many cities – city of desire, city of doom, city of migration, city of identity crisis, city of cosmopolitanism, city of economic fury and overall the city of urbanity. Those in turn impacted on the idea of a ‘modern city’, which is both real and fantasized. While the cinema continuously recreates a city through both its myriad narratives and its high scale production processes, it also issues various requirements for access the citizenship of the ‘Cinema City’. With the classification of this citizenship impersonation is termed as duplicate, aspiration is called struggle, migration is veiled as dream, crowd is named extras and icons are referred to as stars.
Madhusree Dutta is a filmmaker, curator, pedagogue, researcher, producer and activist. She is founder and executive director of Majlis, a centre for rights discourse and multicultural art initiatives in Mumbai, India.
The Western Suburb: Installation on Sweatshops of Cinema (Avijit Mukul Kishore, Mamta Murthy, Rikhav Desai & Found Footage Archive of Majlis);
Cinema City Lived: Book of Spatial and Textual Cartography (Design Cell, KRVIA; Text: Hansa Thapliyal, Design: Ankit Bhargav);
Phantom Lady on Light Boxes: Performance Photography (Pushpamala N)
The Cinemas Project: Photo Art on Single Screen Cinemas (Zubin Pastakia, Design: Amruta Sakalkar)
Bioscope: Cinema-City-Modernity Dateline (Kausik Mukhopadhyay)
Calendar Gala: Iconography in 20th Century (Art Works by Multiple Artists, Research: Shikha Pandey)
Pila House: Interactive Computer Archive (Rohan Shivkumar and Design Cell, KRVIA; Software Design: Thatzit)
Certified Universal (Avijit Mukul Kishore, India 2009, SD, 15’); Dark Room (Renu Savant, India 2009, SD, 10’); Have You Dreamt Cinema? (Hansa Thapliyal, India 2009, SD, 16’); Sin City (Srikant Agawane, India 2009, SD, 16’)
Visual Designer Cinema City: Kausik Muklhopadhyay
Creative Director and Curator Cinema City: Madhusree Dutta
The project supported by: HIVOS, Ford Foundation, Goethe-Institut, Max Müller Bhavan, Indien.