Video

COSMOPOLIS: TWO TALES OF A CITY

Paromita Vohra

2004, 14:00 minutes, colour, English, Hindi, Marathi with English subtitles

TAPECODE 659.05

In two discrete but associated shorts, this film looks at divisions of language, class, memory and food and queries the myths of Bombay as a great cosmopolitanism city.

TALE 1: THE FORGOTTEN CITY (1:17)
A poem called Mumbai, about a city built by workers. A skyline where mill chimneys are replaced by glinting, cylindrical highrises, that mimic their shape, but do not hold their memory. A singer who recites the names of train stations, a map in song. In the eye of change,a forgotten city.
the eye of change, a forgotten city.

TALE 2: DEFEAT OF A MINOR GODDESS (12:00)
This is a film about food and faith. Anapurna, the goddess of food, a gorgeous meal of fish. Pleased, she blesses the city with gastronomic abundance and even reigns as its (very popular) patron deity. However, very soon she faces competition with the arrival her sister, Laxmi, the goddess of wealth. The rivalry between the goddesses manages to divide the city with all the classical intrigue, insecurity and jealousy that make up a good old fashioned battle. The city spirals into an escalating war over food and property, livelihood and living. Vegetarians don’t want to live with non-vegetarians, Saraswat Brahmins don’t want Jain neighbours and fishmongers don’t want people of other communities to sell fish. Interweaving the fictional war between the goddesses with a documentary exploration of Bombay’s food politics, the film interrogates the divisive politics that characterizes contemporary Bombay under its cosmopolitan costume.

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