Skip to main content

of a dead golden city

I saw two Mumbais this weekend.One through the movie- 'Dhobi Ghaat' and another through 'City of gold'; two completely different mumbais but all the same. Completely different narratives, but still gave the same stale smell of mumbai's stifling sea of humanity. While one movie had its politic about mumbai, the other was completely personal and intimate. Both talked about classes, but while one made me glad that I am from the privileged class the other once again filled me with nostalgia.

I found 'City of Gold' to be very dark and over powering. I couldn't help but identify with the narrator's constant disgust, this sense of suffocation throughout the film. Even the scenes of happiness were quickly curtailed with the knife of cynicism laced violence. The movie laid out its politics, its helplessness, its accusations bare. The rich mill owner's disgust of the workers ("Bhikari" he keeps on barking, even before his imminent death) and his total lack of empathy is something I saw in many of my colleagues, class mates & generally the people of mumbai. (How else do you explain one my classmate's exclamation of 'wow' accompanied by a question as to where did you get this 'shot' to a friend's photograph of a baby sleeping on the footpath, when living in mumbai means to fill up one's senses with all that means poverty to the hilt. The smells, the sight, the utter debasement of human existence.. how can one possibly not notice it?) (and what does it mean to take poverty's photographs? the click is too easy and cheap.)
Though the story is of mumbai mill workers and how their right to livelihood was snatched away from them, it essentially is a story of mumbai's death itself, not just of a community but of an entire city. The death of faith and unity. The death of morality. The capitulation and fall from grace. The break up and death of life's joys.
I had to leave mumbai just like amir had to leave his place in Dhobi Ghaat - cuz of the death that haunts this place. (and I never ceases to wonder how can people go on with their lives in mumbai. Can't they see? how strong can denial be?)

Dhobi Ghaat was something else. For one, so many of its shot are so eerily similar to what I shot for a personal video of mine. Besides, the places its shot in filled me with nostalgia. sitting with non-mumbaiites in the theatre, i would jump and point out to them the places i had been at, my haunts, the place where I stayed for a while. :) Complete nostalgia.
But the movie is much more than just its locale. Its not a story per se (as emphatically complained by my neighbor in the cinema hall), but an intimately voyeuristic peek in lives of 4 mumbaikars.(well 3 really, and a tourist with a bad accent) I loved the movie for personal reasons. and it can be loved for personal reasons alone. Everything about the movie; its stillness, its actions, the painting, the brilliant brilliant background score, the happenings.. all were so intimately real. The movie was a kind of a hug to me from my past.

P.S. - Monica Dogra (Shaair) is so totally alive and supremely lovely and so so hot when she performs on stage (she is part of the group Shaair and Func, one of my favourite bands). But in the movie she didn't seem hot at all. neither lively. just a tourist with a bad accent. though she did act well. damn, miss her gigs.


Midhun Krishna said…
Hi dude,
read this post. I did not see both the movies, but i could sense the feeling you had while watching them. will get back to you once i see them.

Neha said…
Despite being non-mumbaiite, I was totally able to relate to your nostalgia Jinxie. You see, we all are travelling in same boat. :)

Yaa, it wasn't a story as such, but yes nice and very true depiction of how fucked up our lives are!
Ajinkya said…
damn right they are. :P
Neha said…
Despite being non-mumbaiite, I was totally able to relate to your nostalgia Jinxie. You see, we all are travelling in same boat. :)

Yaa, it wasn't a story as such, but yes nice and very true depiction of how fucked up our lives are!

Popular posts from this blog

I am a salmon

I am a salmon. It's been a decade away from my hometown, and yet my dreams refuse to relocate along with me. When sleep hasn't claimed me yet, but neither am I awake, you may find me in Nasik.
My senses fall back into their default states of Nasik when in-between. The space is of my home in Nasik, the sight is of the things around it. I might be hungry and thinking of eating a laddoo and my hands reach out for the steel dabba stacked on an elevated wooden cupboard stuck on the left wall of kitchen. In my mind's eye, I grope for the dabba momentarily as the search yields nothing - poof. the image disintegrates. I am snapped back to reality with a mild jolt. My mind reminds me of the layout in my own kitchen. There is no airborne shelf, there is no steel container, there is no laddoo. It says, go back to sleep. and I do.


I shifted 3.5k km for a less polluted and less dangerous city a year ago.
And all was good. I get to walk and how I love to walk. I am truly happi…

Exercises for a smarter nation

We, the people, are gullible idiots. C'mon, admit it. We have all been bullied into bad deals by powerful charlatans at some point or another. Governments are no different. The current one is getting away with our personal data and going about distributing our public resources and monies to its favourite cronies.This is no exceptional government. This happens all the time, in all the countries - to varying degrees. The varying part is important. I would much rather be in Norway where the leeway for such giveaways against the interest of public is small, compared to Angola and Nigeria where the oil bonanza instead has become oil curse.

One of the important ways for moving towards Norway and away from Nigeria is for the public to become aware and educated about power. Education is a bad word now - what India creates in not educated people, it creates literate minions. By educated, i mean people who can reason, who can think critically, who can see the world from different perspecti…

Withdrawal symptoms

Scroll Scroll Scoll..
Catch yourself slipping away.

Deep  breath. 

Close the browser. silence the mobile and turn it away.

Open an offline-real-paper diary. Stop your thighs from lolling impatiently. Stay still. 

Pick up a pen awkwardly. ahh, the fingers are stiff. It will take a  while for them to get used to holding a pen. Quick finger exercise - open the palm, stretch finger outwards, close into a fist, dig the fingers in. Repeat.
Ok now.. about to pick up the pen again, but eyes dart towards the screen. Tempted to check email.

Shut up. The last consequential email came two months ago. Nothing of consequence is online.

Pick up the pen. Don't fetishize the object now. Get on with it. Put it on paper, write a word and start it already. If I get to a sentence, perhaps I will get into a flow and won't have to look up from the paper at all. 

One sentence later.

Ahh. That was good. I am feeling good about myself. The sentence makes sense. …