Lecture 5. Bombay/Mumbai in Cinema (part 1)

created by:

Vandana Baweja

from the module:

Global Cities in Cinema

The first part of this lecture investigates how Bombay was built and imagined as a cosmopolitan city through Hindi cinema, through the use of urban sites and architectural icons that are nodes within global architectural and urban histories. Bombay’s public spaces such as—Marine Drive, the Gateway of India, Maidans, bazaars, and parks— are landmarks that have come to represent the cosmopolitanism of the city. These landmarks are rendered cosmopolitan due to their complex urban historical trajectories that have been enmeshed in global cultural and capital flows. Mumbai’s architectural icons such as the Victoria Terminus Train Station, the High Court, University Building, the Bombay Flat, the High rise condominium, and the Art Deco district are cultural chronotopes that symbolize nineteenth and twentieth century high-end globalization processes. These high-end architect-designed icons and public spaces were built with collaborations between European architects, Bombay-based architects, contractors, and construction labor. To accommodate the vast numbers of working classes in the city, including construction labor who built these icons, low-end global building types such as squatters settlements and chawls emerged to accommodate living spaces for the working class. These are spaces of low-end globalization, which are as cosmopolitan and innovative as their high-end counterparts. The first part ends with examples of films that show how these spaces of high-end and low-end globalization intersect and represent social life in the city.

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