Ishan Singh, Nayoneka Shankar, Prthvir Solanki, Sarath P. Raju, Shreya KA
Duration: 22 mins
Language: English, Hindi
Bombay, Bamboo and BMC
The idea of the ‘public’ street is highly contested – who does the street belong to and why? Often, those who literally spend their entire lives on the streets are given no right to public spaces. This is a film, that through the narratives it follows and the documentation of the lives of the people of a street community wishes to raise the question and challenge normative assumptions about the streets, the pavements and accessibility and bring into focus the plight of the inhabitants of the streets and their everyday struggles. The enduring struggle against the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation or the BMC and their eviction strategies and executions, their battle with Mumbai’s erratic weather patterns- heavy rains leading to flooding, and its extreme heat conditions during the summer; their everyday problems- water shortages, lack of toilets, diseases and sicknesses and access to hospitals, road accidents, women’s safety- the film tells about it all. While this forms the main storyline, the film also seeks to change the dominant assumptions about the “homeless”- from middle class assumptions about safety to the precarious nature of the existence of these street people. In the West, homeless people are usually individuals who have ‘failed’ and are treated as outcasts owing to substance abuse, poor family backgrounds and other personal factors; they are quite literally homeless with little or no belongings to their name and wander around in search of food, money and whatever else is needed. Here, in India, while a significant number of homeless people fit within this ambit, there are also the homeless people who have made the streets their homes– they have functional households equipped with basic kitchenware, make-shift beds, roofs under which families live, send the children to schools, go to work and come back, to their homes. This is another key idea the film presents.