Conversations and the city

Still from ‘True Love Story’   | Photo Credit: mail

In an urbanite’s life, cities occupy a singular role. How citizens engage with it and how the city responds become experiences and moments in our thoughts and actions.

The upcoming Urban Lens Film Festival in Bengaluru and Delhi deals with this aspect of our lives. Organised by the Indian Institute of Human Settlement, the festival through a set of non-fiction films employs an urban prism to understand the city.

“What is the image and idea of the city that cinema has produced and explored? This is what the festival explores,” says Subasri Krishnan, curator of the festival which is in its third edition.

Subasri has turned in an eccelctic bouquet of films, which includes works by the likes of Rahul Roy, Mira Nair, Harun Farocki and other celebrated and upcoming filmmakers.

If Farocki in Videograms of a Revolution, is looking at the idea of gaze and its responsibility in creating a certain kind of an image of a city, Nair’s India Cabaret is more direct in its engagement with the city through its subject of bar girls’ lives in Mumbai.

Paromita Vohra’s Where’s Sandra? is a fun film, which captures the city through the prism of working women in Mumbai. Rajesh Thakare and Troy Vasanth’s animation film, Good Morning Mumbai doesn’t have a direct city link but makes the connect as it deals with sanitation.

“For a certain class of people performing their morning ablutions, sanitation is also a struggle,” Subasri says insisting a multi-layered city needs multiple lenses.

“Filmmakers have dealt with the city through different narratives and formats. Bombay is a character in Good Morning Mumbai. The documentary Our Metropolis questions Bangalore’s emergence as a world-class city.”

Besides this mix of Indian, international and students films, another integral component of the festival are panel discussions.

Going beyond screenings, the discussions get filmmakers to discuss the politics and aesthetics of their works.

Curated by filmmaker Avijit Mukul Kishore, the underlying theme of these panel discussions is the city in visual culture.

“The focus is on film practitioners, academics and many of us who perform multiple roles in the production and dissemination of film (mainly non-fiction) and discussing threadbare the concerns related to our practice,” says Avijit.

This year the festival is travelling to Delhi where it has tied up with Goethe Institut, Max Mueller Bhavan. “As an academic institution, we are committed to open conversations about varied topics be it politics, economy, desire, violence etc. Why should these conversations be restricted to Bangalore? says Subasri.

The festival is on from March 4 to 6 at IIHS Bangalore Campus, No.197/36, 2nd Main Road, Sadashivanagar. Entry is free. For more details visit

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 3:10:57 AM |

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