Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  57 minutes
Date:  1985
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English; Marathi; Hindi; Marathi / English subtitles
Grade level: 10-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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Bombay, Our City

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4 million slum dwellers - half of Bombay's population - must battle daily just to survive.

Bombay, Our City

BOMBAY: OUR CITY tells the story of the daily battle for survival of the 4 million slum dwellers of Bombay who make up half the city's population. Although they are Bombay's workforce - industrial laborers, construction workers, domestic servants - they are denied city utilities like electricity, sanitation, and water. Many slumdwellers must also face the constant threat of eviction as city authorities carry out campaigns to 'beautify' Bombay.

BOMBAY: OUR CITY is an indictment of injustice and misery, and a call to action on the side of the slumdwellers.

Also available in a 82 minute version

'Perhaps disturbing to those looking for objective overviews, but especially interesting to viewers considering the problem of the film: What should be done about Bombay's thousands of shanty-dwellers?... BOMBAY is a very powerful film, a documentary with a point of view on people's rights, urban welfare, and other key issues in India's major cities and in cities all over the world.'-Joan L. Erdman, American Anthropologist

'Patwardhan gives us this story simply and clearly, with restrained passion, and it becomes, finally, appalling and moving.'-Michael Wilmington, Los Angeles Times

'Quite clearly, BOMBAY: OUR CITY is the best documentary ever made in India.'-K. Mohamed, The Times of India

'Excellent... Recommended for libraries serving students in courses in urban problems, political science, and anthropology/sociology at the undergraduate and graduate level.'-D.L. White, Choice

'An eye-opening film... It helps viewers see the totality of the unjust conditions of the working-class people in urban Bombay, and to empathize with them. It is a low-budget activist film whose main actors are the common slum dwellers revealing themselves to be intelligent and compassionate people.'-Development Update

'One of the best documentaries I have ever seen.'-Sean Cubitt, City Limits (London)

'This is the story of, in Mike Davis' words, 'surplus humanity,' a swelling mass of urban poor in the Global South, eking out a meager livelihood on the margins of the urban economy. It neatly describes Mumbai as a quintessential 'dual city' and offers a glimpse into both worlds-that of the rich and that of the destitute.'- Anthropology Review Database (January, 2011)


** First Prize Winner, 1986 Cinema du Reel
** 1985 Margaret Mead Film Festival
** 1985 Berlin Film Festival
** 1985 Leipzig Film Festival
** 1985 London Film Festival


Main credits

Palit, Ranjan (cinematographer)
Patwardhan, Anand (film producer)
Patwardhan, Anand (film director)
Patwardhan, Anand (film editor)
Patwardhan, Anand (cinematographer)

Other credits

Camera, Ranjan Palit, Anand Patwardhan.

Distributor credits

A Film by Anand Patwardhan

Docuseek2 subjects

Urban Studies
Housing and Homelessness
Local Economies
Labor Studies

Distributor subjects

Economic Sociology
Labor Studies
South Asia
Urban Studies


Bombay; Anand Patwardhan; "Bombay: Our City"; Icarus Films;

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