Bazaar: Pydhonie the Day Before Id
Duration: 00:14:12; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 46.802; Saturation: 0.090; Lightness: 0.328; Volume: 0.170; Cuts per Minute: 6.969
Summary: Pydhonie is an area between Mazgaon and the island of Mumbai. Some believe that the name is derived from the Marathi word ‘py’ means feet and ‘dhone’ which means to wash – in reference to a small creek that formed during the high tide. This was probably the first land permanently reclaimed from the sea in Bombay. Pydhonie separates the predominantly Muslim population of the eastern part of the inner city from the mainly Hindu part to the west. The main landmark is the Mumbadevi Temple. There are many famous markets close by such as Mohmad Ali road, Crawford market, Null bazaar (hardware market), Chor Bazaar (thieves’ market) etc.
This video was shot extensively in the bazaars of Pydhonie during ramzan on the day before the Id. The market was specially busy with transaction in preparation of the id. The market was shot as an exercise to study the visual cultures on the streets and bazaars of India.
The camera tilts down from the old building to the road side display of the Jainamaz – Mislim prayer mats. The colourful rolls of prayer mats against the backdrop of the setting sun and the old architecture create a surreal image. But the shrill sound of the off frame passing vehicles bring the scene back to the reality. The shop tends to spill out of the confined space. It could be due to the extra load during ramzan. The roll of prayer mats (Jainamaz) are for collective public namaaz mainly used in Masjids and public places. The month of Ramzan, when the devout Muslims fast for the whole day for a month leading to the day of Id, is also observed by sessions of public prayers. Obviously for the A K Chataiwals this is the peak of business season.
The camera then moves inside that 'chatai' shop which sells all sorts of prayer mats, door mats, straw mats, nylon mats, the nylon ones being most popular. The salesman is busy attending some customer. A huge yellow and white mat is opened and displayed for the camera. The next scene sees the shop keeper displaying smaller prayer mats, meant for one person to pray on, of different colours with images of historical mosques woven in, to his customers. One woman customer, a Bohra Muslim in traditional attire looks on. The nylon mats are a recent invention after synthetic fibers were mass produced in India. They are mostly mass produced at factories, machine made and hence cheaper than its straw counterparts. These are also aesthetically more appealing as they are glossy and are available in various colours which isn't the case in straw mats. For Jainamaz, prayer mats, fabrics are also popular. But for mass consumptions and also from the point of view of maintainace, the synthetic mats are far more convenient. Prayer mats made of silk, cotton or wool have become a thing for the riches.
In Indian culture, people sit on floor for their meals, for studying, for praying etc. and as floor may either be too hot or cold or dirty, there was a trend of using mats. Though our style of living has altered a lot, the mats are still widely used.
Shot moves back to the busy street outside the shop, with constant noises of horns in the background. On one side of the street there are hawkers selling chikoos and water chestnuts. The focus gradually shifts back to the pattern on the mats rolled and kept outside the shop, on the road. In the dull light of early evening and in the background of the dark ageing walls of the old buildings the bright blue, green, pink and orange of the mats glow. The religious motifs of star & moon and the tombs of the mosques look abstract.
An elderly Muslim man obliges the crew by unrolling a long mat on the road itself. As he slowly unrolls yards of mats with images of religious motifs woven in, a thin ray of light from the dying sun falls on the mat and then on his cheek. The delicate moment almost got lost in the middle of the noise cacophony from the road.
display on street
road side vendors
Next is yet another shop selling 'chatais' of various sizes. The shop keeper is constantly keeps cribbing while showing different mats to his female customers, as they find out a fault in each one. They finally seem to decide on a green mat which they had initially chosen. This shop sells all kinds of utility mats too
Shot from a window of a four storied residential building. The shot looks down on the busy main road outlined by some shops. The evening rush hour traffic can be seen. It is It is a busy street, with linear motion of vehicles. Pedestrians seem to be constantly flowing out from the by lanes onto the main road. Corners of two old colonial buildings frame the shot. The buildings have commercial shops at the ground floor and residential units in the upper floors. A typical visual of the old South Bombay.
Shot from another window looking down onto the market roof. It is a Municipality market with a formal structure and asbestos roof. The boundary of the street is redefined by the shops and hawkers that have nibbled their way into the sides of the road. Pedestrians are seen moving to and fro stopping at places randomly to make their purchase. The shot zooms in and out giving a better perspective of the entire long curvy market.
top angle shot
Focus is first on the shop selling aluminum utensils. In the top angle shot the piles of glistening alumium vessels in the weakening daylight appear like an art installation. Then the cart of the 'bhajiya wala' who seems to be running out of bhajiya by the end of evening. The predominantly Muslim customers make casual purchases.
The setting sun glares over the dusty asbestos roof of the market. Camera pans from the roof to the busy main road. A long shot of the main road with home going traffic and pedestrians while a few birds too fly back to their nests over the smokey city. Over the pitched roofed buildings from British time where as silhouettes of new upcoming high rises are seen at the horizon.
Basket vendors are seen on the edge of the road. The entire process of making baskets from bamboos is done on the roads itself. Such a set up for an enterprise gives it a typically Indian trait. The sight of a group of people making the road their shop as well as their production place and temporary living space is a characteristics of overlapping usage of public space in India. The bamboos rest against shutters of closed shops. It is a Sunday. So the shops are closed giving these people an opportunity to spread their wares in the otherwise busy road. Splitting the bamboo, sanding them and weaving then into baskets is all simultaneously being done by this small group of migrant artisans. The camera zooms in where weaving of bamboo curtain is taking place and captures the repetitive motion of moving each thread front and back. Shot from the opposite side. The shadow image of the woman artisan behind the bamboo curtain, weaving and instructing the other on household matters. The pedestrians pass by, also in silhouettes.
indian street culture