Bandra, Mumbai

Very very India

Star and Superstar.

2009. The year Indian municipalities discovered the wall.

From Mumbai to Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar to Bangalore, 2009 saw the city authorities giving painters, people and graffiti artists permission to paint the walls.

In Bangalore, it was started as a way to stop film posters from being plastered on the walls. In Mumbai, it was to keep the Tulsi Pipe Road from returning to the stink hole it was. And in all places it was an attempt to showcase the city or the state or spread a message.

In Bangalore and Bhubaneshwar, the wall paintings are straight out of the Govt. Tourism Department brochures but they did manage to get some good artists from the art colleges. Luckily, Mumbai is different. Here people have been allowed the freedom to paint whatever they want. (Pictures of the Tulsi Pipe Road paintings by Surendra Chaurasiya)

The writing on the walls of these cities are clear. All over India, the governments are still stuck in the Pre Berlin Wall days. The days of Government control and censorship. They are afraid to let the people speak their mind out.

Luckily, Mumbai breaks that mould. Even if it is only few privileged ones who went to paint on Tulsi Pipe Road, the style for the paintings came from the poor gallis off D'Monte Street.


And across the border in Lahore. They have discovered the walls too.

NH 3 Chunnabhatti

Meet a couple of Indian Road Romeos and their dream Juliets.

Pazahveedu, Alapuzha

There was a time before when everything, including homes, were built mostly from wood.

And the best wood in the country was supposed to grow in Kerala. From homes to sea faring dhows, the wood from this verdant land was considered the best of the best.

These pictures are from one among millions of ordinary homes built with wood, in Kerala, in the mid 20th Century.

The couple who built this home.

Two generations later, like a piece of driftwood that has found its way back home, a granddaughter visits the old wooden home.

In Kerala, since independence, the first thing youngsters do as soon as they finish their education is leave.

This wooden house is from a time when the people put the picture of the nation's leader on their walls.

In the old days, this was the place where coarse ash from rice bran was hung in a pot, to be used as tooth powder. It's been replaced by tooth paste and brush.

Everything was made from wood. The grills, the window panes, everything. We used up enough wood to eat up most of our forests until wood became an expensive commodity. Today, the wood for our furniture come from Malaysia and South East Asia.

We are eating up their forests now.

Parel, Mumbai

People of Mumbai Series: Face in the crowd.

It's the main characters that make or break a movie or a television programme. But what happens in the background can be equally and sometimes even more interesting. Like the buildings and sets in the background that add to the storytelling becoming the recorded history of the times we live in.

Similarly, the character of the people who work as extras can tell a lot about the times we live in too (Remember the dancers behind Jitendra and Jayaprada in those Telugu movie remakes?).

This kid makes a few extra bucks when he is not at school working as an extra for movies, television programmes and commercials. He's a face in the crowd. He's represents 'us' in a movie by mimicking the motions of our life.


An 'A' Grade or young, good looking extra is paid about Rs. 1000/- a day. Depending on your looks, style, etc. the rates differ. The minimum rate is approximately Rs 300/- a day plus the breakfast, lunch or dinner on the sets (depending on the shift).


A few Mumbai movies to watch for what's in the background:
Jaane bhi do yaaron: For seeing the India of the early 80s. The Osibisa posters, etc.
Chalti ka naam gaadi: For seeing the streets of Bombay.
Bluffmaster (new): Mumbai during the monsoons, in a different light and not the usual angles.

Are there any other movies you like for the same reason?


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