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The Cinemas Project

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This series visually traces the lives of Bombay’s disappearing single-screen cinema halls.

Once symbols of modernity, the relationship that many of these halls share with the city has changed significantly as colonial Bombay metamorphoses into “post-industrial” Mumbai.

On the one hand, this collection of images is a repository of the architectural form and interior detail of these buildings that range from the classic to the idiosyncratic. These buildings seem to exist today in defiance of the generic aesthetic and cultural experience of the city’s new multiplexes.

However, to view these halls merely nostalgically—and to cast them off to history—would be to deny them a place in the present; our lived present that is in constant play with time past and pending.

As I explored these cinemas, which are simultaneously spaces of dwelling, labour and spectatorship, they revealed themselves to be sites of deep affective investment, traces of which are evident in every nook and corner.

(More info at the end of the page)

[2006-2010]

Corridor, Capitol Cinema, Mumbai

Corridor, Capitol Cinema, Mumbai

Auditorium, Capitol Cinema, Mumbai

Auditorium, Capitol Cinema, Mumbai

Projection Room, Dreamland Talkies, Mumbai

Projection Room, Dreamland Talkies, Mumbai

Auditorium, Bharat Mata, Mumbai

Auditorium, Bharat Mata, Mumbai

Auditorium, Dreamland Talkies, Mumbai

Auditorium, Dreamland Talkies, Mumbai

Lobby, Dreamland Talkies, Mumbai

Lobby, Dreamland Talkies, Mumbai

Auditorium, Maratha Mandir, Mumbai

Auditorium, Maratha Mandir, Mumbai

Basement, Edward Talkies, Mumbai

Basement, Edward Talkies, Mumbai

Corridor, Regal Cinema, Mumbai

Corridor, Regal Cinema, Mumbai

 

Lobby, Kalpana-King's-Kamran, Mumbai

Lobby, Kalpana-King’s-Kamran, Mumbai

Storage Room, New Empire Cinema, Mumbai

Storage Room, New Empire Cinema, Mumbai

Projection Room, Liberty Cinema, Mumbai

Projection Room, Liberty Cinema, Mumbai

Projection Room, Mayur Talkies, Mumbai

Projection Room, Mayur Talkies, Mumbai

Canteen, New Empire Cinema, Mumbai

Canteen, New Empire Cinema, Mumbai

Projection Room, New Empire Cinema, Mumbai

Projection Room, New Empire Cinema, Mumbai

Projection Room, Palace Talkies, Mumbai

Projection Room, Palace Talkies, Mumbai

Logbook, Palace Talkies, Mumbai

Logbook, Palace Talkies, Mumbai

Stairway, New Excelsior, Mumbai

Stairway, New Excelsior, Mumbai

Sahakar Plaza, Mumbai

Sahakar Plaza, Mumbai

Auditorium, Regal Cinema, Mumbai

Auditorium, Regal Cinema, Mumbai

Auditorium, Akash Talkies, Mumbai

Auditorium, Akash Talkies, Mumbai

Storage Room, Edward Talkies, Mumbai

Storage Room, Edward Talkies, Mumbai

 

More info:
The project was initially supported by a SARAI-CSDS Independent Fellowship, 2007.
TOTO Funds the Arts Award for Photography, 2008.
Lens Culture International Exposure Awards (Honorable Mention) 2009.
Here’s a talk I gave about it at TEDx Mumbai, 2010.

Exhibitions:
Cinema City, Group show at the Berlinale, Berlin, Germany, 2010.
This is Not That, Group show at Gallery Duboys, Paris, France, 2011.
Of Blind Men and Elephants, Group Show at the Empty Quarter Gallery, Dubai, 2011.

Published in:
Outllook Magazine, Featured Artist, China, 2011
Public Journal, “Screens” Issue, Featured Artist, 2011
Marg magazine, “Mumbai’s Cinemas” Photo Feature with text by Erika Balsom, 2010
Lens Culture, “The Cinemas Project” Photo Feature, 2010
Indian Horizons, “Photographs from Bombay’s Cinema Halls” Photo Feature, 2008

 

 
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