The city is a place of compression and a chaotic, restless force in Mira Nair’s debut, a powerful look at the lower depths in contemporary Mumbai. It follows the story of 10-year-old Krishna, who is forced out of his home by his mother until he can repay the 500 rupees needed to repair a ruined bicycle. Thrust onto the mean streets, he encounters a relentless world of prostitutes, beggars, and con artists, and must confront the constant temptation of crime to survive. Drawing on her documentary roots, Nair presents a vivid and empathetic portrait of the city’s brutal economics that deftly avoids sensationalism.
Directed by Mira Nair, 1988, DVD
Language: Hindi and English, with English subtitles
Runtime: 113 minutes
Part of the urban film series Cinematic Sites, selected by Paul Dallas and presented in conjunction with Participatory City: 100 Urban Trends from the BMW Guggenheim Lab.