Ranjani Mazumdar is professor of Cinema Studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her publications focus on urban cultures, popular cinema, gender and the cinematic city.
She is the author of Bombay Cinema: An Archive of the City (2007) and coeditor with Neepa Majumdar of the forthcoming Wiley Blackwell’s A Companion to Indian Cinema. She has also worked as a documentary filmmaker and her productions include Delhi Diary 2001 and The Power of the Image (codirected).
Her current research focuses on globalization and film culture, the visual culture of film posters and the intersection of technology, travel, design and color in the 1960s’ Bombay Cinema.
This presentation looks at the refractions of contemporary city of Bombay, India, through three unusual films of the recent past. It is part of the Global Issues Symposium.
In Ritesh Batra’s, Lunchbox (2013), the return and delivery system of lunch to large numbers of office going people, becomes the setting for an odd romantic encounter. Vikramaditya Motwane’s Trapped (2016) showcases the slow breakdown of a man who inadvertently gets locked into an apartment on the 35th floor of an empty, half constructed, high-rise building with no electricity, food and water. In Anurag Kashyap’s, Ugly (2014), the hunt for a kidnapped child unveils a gritty urban terrain and the failed dreams of its damaged protagonists.
In these films, we see a conscious foregrounding of everyday networks that shape the horizontal and vertical urbanism of contemporary Bombay. The contingent erupts from the assemblage of intangible rhythms, living bodies, inanimate life and the architectural imagination of the city.