Tomorrow We Disappear: New Dehli’s Kathputli Slum
Al Jazeera (2016)
This is one of the saddest and most beautifully made documentaries I’ve ever seen. It concerns a 60-year-old artist colony in a New Dehli slum called Kathputli. The film follows the artists’ futile struggle to block government plans to evict them to make way for a shopping mall and high rise commercial and residential buildings.
The 1500 artists who have learned their craft from parents and grandparents, consist of magicians, puppeteers, musicians, carvers, acrobats, fire eater, dancers and jugglers. Most earn a meager living as street performers in the crowded streets of New Dehli. The documentary follows their fruitless negotiations with government officials and property developers.
In the end they organize a series of colorful protests featuringde giant puppets, stilt walkers, jugglers, acrobats and magicians in brilliantly colored costumes. Their goal is to call public attention to what is being lost.
Their colony was bulldozed in late 2017, and they were all moved to temporary “transit” camps (they look more like concentration camps) at considerable distance from Dehli.
Asshole definition of progress
Perfect, Kelly. You clearly have a way with words.
Thanks for sharing, Dr. Bramhall. A sad story, indeed. As so often happens to our poor communities, the government officials didn’t ask the people what they needed to enjoy better lives.
I guess what really got me, Rosaliene, was the joy in all the ghetto children’s faces when they performed – and the clear joy and connection the artists felt in their community. As far as I can see, this joy of community has gone out of all our lives. I would happily due without electricity and indoor plumbing to get that back again.
I blame this all on India’s caste system.
Too true, Shelby. One of the things that angered (and saddened) me most about this film was the extremely patronizing way developers talked to these artists as they herded them off to resettlement camps.
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