Director: Richa Hushing
Duration: 00:38:57; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 44.893; Saturation: 0.033; Lightness: 0.366; Volume: 0.178; Cuts per Minute: 0.924
Summary: Ila is a 23 year old 2nd generation Tamil living in Dharavi. Ila’s contagious laughter and happy-go-lucky attitude make this a fun encounter. She speaks freely about her inhibitions, aspirations, values, family, and home. When talking about her parents or friends, she imitates them, animatedly, and helps us to understand her life as a Tamilian in Dharavi, and as a Dharavi resident outside the settlement, in the prejudiced city of Bombay.
As the real estate price of Bombay is only comparable to that of Tokyo and New York, a person’s worth in the city is primarily measured by the address he or she lives in. Real estate, construction, property price, evaluation of a neighbourhood etc. are social conversation in Bombay. Even children grow up hearing stories related to real estate. The newly migrants’ dream is to afford a tenement on rent. The rented places are available only for 11 months. In order to avoid any tenancy rights that the tenants may assert in the future, landlords make contract only for 11 months. Hence large numbers of people shift homes every 11 months. As the rent also go up periodically they are automatically pushed more and more to the fringe. Then some of them manage to secure bank loan and purchase a flat of their own. Then the anxiety turns into paying the monthly installments to the bank. Simultaneously some other areas get gentrified displacing the old residents. That too creates another exodus from the centre of the city. While a whole lot of people are constantly pushed towards the fringe (fringe itself shifts to more far flung areas) another set desperately make attempts to come to the centre. In the midst of this heavy traffic of internal movements of people, come in shopping malls and business districts. Bombay forever remains under construction and a honeycomb for the builders lobby. This phenomena plays havoc to the psyche of the people and make them vulnerable to all sorts of political maneuvering and economic exploitation.
In the eve of much trumpeted Dharavi redevelopment, we talk to Ila as a representative of the younger generation in the settlement and gather her opinion about growing up in a place which is stigmatized by the rest of the city and the country. Ila has seen much of the dark side of Dharavi in her growing up years. But she chooses to evade those issues and concentrate only on her aspiration. The interview is taken in the tiny residence of her family. Contrary to her appearance and talk her home indicates a status much below that of the middle class.