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Bombay: Our City
A Film by Anand Patwardhan
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BOMBAY: OUR CITY tells the story of the daily battle for survival of the 4 million slum dwellers of Bombay who make up half the city's population. Although they are Bombay's workforce - industrial laborers, construction workers, domestic servants - they are denied city utilities like electricity, sanitation, and water. Many slumdwellers must also face the constant threat of eviction as city authorities carry out campaigns to "beautify" Bombay.

BOMBAY: OUR CITY is an indictment of injustice and misery, and a call to action on the side of the slumdwellers.

"Perhaps disturbing to those looking for objective overviews, but especially interesting to viewers considering the problem of the film: What should be done about Bombay's thousands of shanty-dwellers?... BOMBAY is a very powerful film, a documentary with a point of view on people's rights, urban welfare, and other key issues in India's major cities and in cities all over the world." —Joan L. Erdman, American Anthropologist

"Patwardhan gives us this story simply and clearly, with restrained passion, and it becomes, finally, appalling and moving." —Michael Wilmington, Los Angeles Times

"Quite clearly, BOMBAY: OUR CITY is the best documentary ever made in India." —K. Mohamed, The Times of India

"Excellent... Recommended for libraries serving students in courses in urban problems, political science, and anthropology/sociology at the undergraduate and graduate level." —D.L. White, Choice

"An eye-opening film... It helps viewers see the totality of the unjust conditions of the working-class people in urban Bombay, and to empathize with them. It is a low-budget activist film whose main actors are the common slum dwellers revealing themselves to be intelligent and compassionate people." —Development Update

"One of the best documentaries I have ever seen." —Sean Cubitt, City Limits (London)

"This is the story of, in Mike Davis' words, 'surplus humanity,' a swelling mass of urban poor in the Global South, eking out a meager livelihood on the margins of the urban economy. It neatly describes Mumbai as a quintessential 'dual city' and offers a glimpse into both worlds-that of the rich and that of the destitute."— Anthropology Review Database (January, 2011)

First Prize Winner, 1986 Cinema du Reel
1985 Margaret Mead Film Festival
1985 Berlin Film Festival
1985 Leipzig Film Festival
1985 London Film Festival
  

57 minutes / color
Copyright: 1985
Sale: $298

Also available in a 82 minute version

Subject areas:
Anthropology, Asia, Economic Sociology, Economics, India, Labor Studies, Sociology, South Asia, Urban Studies

Related Links:
The Films of Anand Patwardhan

Related Titles:
Father, Son and Holy War: Does the root of India's recent bloodshed - perhaps all bloodshed - lie in male insecurity, itself an inevitable product of the very construction of "manhood?"

In the Name Of God: The violent campaign waged by the militant Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to destroy the 16th century Ayodhya mosque.

A Narmada Diary: Investigates the Sardar Sarover Dam project in western India which may displace 200,000 residents of the Narmada valley.

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Last Updated March 28, 2013
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