Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai organised its 10th edition of the film festival, Cut.in. Apart from the 24 films shortlisted by the faculty from various media institutes across the country, the students of the School of Media and Cultural Studies (SMCS), TISS focused on the stories of marginalised section on Mumbai’s streets. Behind The Bazaar, A Street (in four senses), Canvas On The Fence, Still City and Bombay Bamboo and BMC explore different facets of the streets of Mumbai. These five films weren’t a part of the festival but were premiered under the non-competition section.
Behind The Bazaar, directed by Nikhita Singh, Sankuraj Kunwar, Satyam Sai, Nikhil and Shrishti Malhotra, showcases the famous Chor Bazaar and Bhendi Bazaar area of Mumbai. InUth spoke to one of the directors of the film, Shrishti Malhotra. She said:
The film explores Chor Bazaar, which is really popular among young crowd for its good quality inexpensive items, and at the same time, tries to debunk the myth around Bhendi Bazaar being a notorious place. It also looks at how the residents and shopkeepers of Bhendi Bazaar view the Bhendi Bazaar Redevelopment Project. It took us about four months to complete the entire film.”
Canvas On The Fence centres around the life of six artists, who sell their paintings outside the Jehangir Art Gallery. The film explores the relationships among these local artists and their idea of art. It is directed by Andres Ramirez, Bursenla, Dheeraj Dubey, Malavika, and Ruchira Petkar. Speaking to InUth, Malavika said:
Initially, we thought about making a film on one of these artists but over a period of three months and numerous visits, we realised that every artist has a different story. We decided to document their stories and their idea about art and streets. Most of the artists we spoke to are from Mumbai only.”
Directed by Ketan Krishna, Archana Kaware, Srishti Raj, Kamesh Shekar, A Street (in four senses) talks about how the visually-impaired people of Mumbai navigate the streets using only four senses. Ketan told us:
We wanted to focus on the access to streets and how streets of our cities aren’t planned considering the differently-abled. We narrowed down our topic to visually-impaired people and how they manoeuvre the streets of the city.”
Bombay, Bamboo and BMC takes a look at the ‘Jogi community’ of Mumbai, which has been weaving and selling bamboo baskets for several years outside the Mahim railway station. The film is directed by Ishan Singh, Nayoneka Shankar, Prthvir Solanki, Sarath P Raju and Shreya KA. Speaking about his documentary, Ishan said:
We wanted to explore the concept of home through our documentary. Before zeroing-in on this community, we considered other options as well during our research. Jogis, who belong to a denotified tribe of Rajasthan, came to the city around 30 years back but they are constantly hounded by the authorities.”
The fifth and the last, Still City is directed by Madhumoy Satpathy, Mrudula Ravi, Sayan Bhattacharjee, Sukrita Baruah, Vilo Awomi. The film explores how the Mumbai streets look through the lens of the photographers documenting them.
“Cut.in is one of the longest running students’ film festivals in India. This national festival invites entries from the students of various media and film institutes all over the country. The faculty curates and shortlists a few of them for screening under two categories — Fiction and Non-Fiction. But these five films by the SMCS students were screened under the non-competitive category and are a part of their regular semester work” said Prof K P Jayashankar, Dean, SMCS.
According to the TISS website, apart from these five films, two more films were premiered at the festival, which were funded under SCMS Early Career Fellowship : Kahan Ka Raasta and A Foreigner In My Own Land. Kahan Ka Raasta talks about the changes that come with development, with special focus on opening of the motorable road to Kalap, a small village in Uttarakhand. A Foreigner In My Own Land explores how Asameli Nepali or Gorkhas, who have been living in Assam for decades now, are still treated as an outsider in Assam.