Urban-Living Film Festival

Call to All Co-Creators

What are our experiences in living in cities in India today? Why do you choose to live where you do? Are we as city-dwellers part of the problem or part of the solution? What visions of the future do we hold of urban life?

The face of urban India has undergone a dramatic shift over the last 15 years. Multiplexes, shopping malls and huge infrastructure like flyovers dot the landscape. Fast life, seemingly infinite job opportunities, better living standards, cultural glamour all serve to define the cities as ‘developed’ in direct comparison to their rural counterparts. But the question remains as to whether this model of urban development is really beneficial for India? What are its implications for those living in urban areas – and those living in rural areas? Congested dwelling space, dense and erratic traffic, violence and crime, stratification and frustration, pollution of every possible kind, doesn’t augur well for human life in the 21st century. Devoid of community life the urban dweller is pressurized into living a lonely and anonymous existence. Do all the towns and smaller cities in India have to follow the path of the Metros? What are viable alternatives to make urban living a meaningful, just and sustainable endeavor? What do the diverse people who live in cities think about their future?  What kinds of innovative experiments are people doing to transform and humanize the urban living experience in India and elsewhere?

Many more questions related to governance, economy, media, families, aesthetics, ecology, communal violence, etc. emerge from the rich and complex tapestry of urban living and require sensitive and urgent consideration. We have been trying to explore these in various ways over the past few years in our work on learning cities. In order to dialogue and reflect on such issues more deeply, we are thinking of organizing a week-long festival of cinema which thematically deals with questions of urban existence and its impact on humanity and the planet. We would like to screen meaningful films alongside a series of deep dialogue with artists, planners, environmentalists, politicians and civil society members to understand the complexities and problems on one hand and, on the other, to highlight creative possibilities that are present for pursuing fulfilling and healthy urban lifestyles.

We are in the very initial stages of planning for this festival and would like to invite you to share your ideas for possible themes, films, filmmakers, methodologies, venues and forms of collaboration and partnership.

We look forward to your response.

 Best wishes,

Nitin Paranjape


Manish Jain