16 January 2013
The city of Mumbai unfurls a new page each day in its constant pursuit to achieve developmental excellence. As an ardent resident, I believe it’s a city for the fickle. It almost feels like this city is trying to amuse it’s melancholic habitants everyday with something new. A city that always holds up the ‘work in progress’ board, as seen in Image 1. As a documentary photographer & freelance photojournalist, I’ve tried to capture this persuasive city in action for over three years now.
In 2012, I was one of four grantees to have been selected for the prestigious Fulbright-mtvU Fellowship. The Fulbright-mtvU program awards individuals with projects that explore the use of music as a base of mutual understanding between cultures. I proposed to develop a documentary about how music and dance within Mumbai’s LGBTQ communities help to empower and strengthen their individual and collective voices. The project was given its stamp of approval by music idols Foster the People, B.o.B, J.Cole and Diplo, as well as the Presidentially-appointed J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. And now, on July 19th, 2013, at the Godrej India Culture Lab, I have the wonderful opportunity of being able to present some of the fruits of my labor in the first public presentation of my documentary-in-progress following a year-long production stint:Continue Reading
In this blog post, I want to revisit our Museum of Memories that we organized in December 2012. This was a one-day only event with live art, videos, dance, music, theater, fashion, technology, alternate reality games and more, all located within a 60,000 square feet empty Godrej warehouse that was scheduled to berazed the very next day. When I first stumbled across the warehouse in early November, I felt a strange connect. Appearances often conceal the true nature of things. What seemed like an ugly godown tostore agricultural feed from the outside, called out to me, telling me: look at me properly, see the beauty in my broken glass panes, my high ceiling dripping with shards of metal, my gnarled trees, my pocked walls, my soaring pillars. Recognize me for who I am. I am more than the sum of my parts. I am beauty.Continue Reading
I begin typing out this blog post in Mumbai airport as the police are lathi-charging young students in Delhi; Indian citizens who have stepped out to protest the violation of one of their own. My Twitter feed is scrolling rapidly as I'm following the action on the ground, full of rage and despair, like so many others in our country. A lot is to happen still. Manmohan is yet to ask "theek hai"? The girl (braveheart / Damini / Nirbhayi / Amanat / Jyoti) is yet to die. Several feet are yet to be inserted in several mouths by ourpoliticians and spiritual gurus. Dented-painted is yet to go viral. Ten-panel-talking heads neatly boxed and all talking the same time simultaneously on every channel (is the nightly newshour the new Ravan?) endlessly debating every second of the 'tragedy' - before, during, after, whether an award in her name is an honour or not and oh now for some 'breaking news', an 'exclusive' interview with the girl's father, savior, doctors, and what have you. The real 'breaking' takes place every five minutes, into commercials cleverly inserted by astute media-buyers, given that news is the new entertainment. (In contrast, what happens on Bigg Boss daily is news. How the boundaries blur, and how easily we forget... Urvashi Dholakia, anyone? Exactly.)Continue Reading