Thursday, April 29, 2010

arch i and Goethe Institut invite you to the three-part film screening and discussion series,


Architectural Discourses on Cinema

About the event

CITIES, real or imaginary, have always been integral to cinema, as the stage where its stories play out. The urban spaces are not just a backdrop to the narrative, but form an integral part of cinematic storytelling. Films understand and capture these spaces in a manner more intense and perceptible than architects and urban planners.

Through three evenings of feature film screenings, we will journey across diverse urban spaces and a progression of time periods. In this process we will be guided by film experts, who will engage with the audience, by raising critical questions and presenting new perspectives. CU is not just a film festival but an attempt to put architecture and cinema in dialogue.

THE FORMAT of the session will be a discussion or an open dialogue between the expert and the audience. Through various film clips, the experts will discuss a particular aspect of cities and architecture in cinema.

All three experts for the three evening have varying fields of study and interest. They include a film maker, a cinema studies scholar and an architect. Consequently, the audience will also be eclectic, ranging from architects to photographers, film makers, or simply film enthusiasts.


Three sessions on Friday evenings (30 Apr, 7 May and 14 May) 7pm at Sidhartha Hall in Max Mueller Bhawan

Session ONE

Date: 30 April

Time: 7 p.m.

Speaker : Ms. Ranjani Mazumdar

Title : Cinematic City - An introduction to understanding cities in cinema

About the speaker

Associate Professor of Cinema Studies at the School of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University. She is also an independent film maker and author of the book "Bombay Cinema, An Archive of the City.

About the session

The session will focus on the particular ways in which cinema emerges as an archive of 20th century urban life. Journeying through iconic film clips of world cinema, the session will foreground the architectural, psychological and kinetic imagination of the cinematic city.

Session TWO

Date: 7 May

Time: 7 p.m.

Speaker : Mr. Aftab Jalia

Title : Nothing comes out of Nothing – Fantasy, Utopia and Dystopia

About the speaker

An alumnus of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Beyond his interests in contemporary architecture, he is an ardent observer of parallel graphic expression – including comics, movies and architecture.

About the session

Film and architecture are similar in many ways. Both promise us the discovery of the unknown; both are products of intense design; both can be read and presented through multiple interpretations; they are both stories that visually unfold. The session will look at the camaraderie of these two formidable companions as they work together to create enchanting visual poetry.

Session THREE

Date: 14 May

Time: 7 p.m.

Speaker : Ms. Ein Lall

Title : Rural Virgin, Urban Whore - The Great Indian Divide

About the speaker

A film maker who uses video documentary to celebrate the unique strength and creativity of women. She has directed several films which have participated in various international film festivals.

About the session

The session will look at the dichotomy between the urban and the rural in the Indian context. Excerpts from various films will illustrate this great Indian divide, and its cinematic interpretation through time and places.

For more information contact :

Goethe-Institut : 011-23471292/112

arch i : 011-41060083, 9999321976

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

On Friday the 2nd of April 2010 “Friends of Garli” successfully launched the first ever map of Garli, the first heritage village of India.

Mapping Garli is an idea the arch i team has been working on for about 3 months now. It all started from a drawing room conversation with the Lal’s (one of the prominent families of Garli) about their native village, and a few snapshots of their ancestral home in their family album.

The sheer beauty of the place impressed at first glance. In the early 19th century, the hill Soods, an enterprising merchant community started settling in Garli. Along with their grand mansions, they built hospitals, schools, sarais and various infrastructures that still bear testimony to their vision over 100 years ago. It’s no wonder then that Garli continued to be the educational and medical hub of Kangra valley in the first half of the 20th century. The waterworks of the village were laid down in the early 1920’s by the timber merchant and lawyer Rai Bahadur Mohan Lal (patriarch of the above-mentioned Lal Family) for which copper pipes were brought from England, many of which still survive to this day.

It was because its beauty and wealth that up until the 1930’s Garli was called the “Switzerland of India”.

By the 1950’s, most of the Soods moved out into the cities for better prospects, leaving behind their grand mansions and havelis in disrepair. On the other hand this continued move also ensured that the village itself remained unspoilt, authentic and well preserved.

One would be tempted to don a conservationist’s hat, and start restoring the beautiful mansions that are falling apart. But one visit to the place turned our minds around. We discovered that a newly painted and repaired haveli may not actually make a difference to Garli and its people. We got down to designing a whole new development model for Garli, the key element of which was “slow but steady!” Take it step by step, and maintain continuity.

Garli was literally NOT on the map, with so many people just driving through without giving a second glance to some of its gems. The map launch was the first step in the effort to give the village its long overdue recognition, and stimulate some interest in an undiscovered gem of India.

Garli with its grand and colonial past has many myths and legends, facts and hearsay. There are stories of viceroys and Rai Bahadurs, of the bloody partition days, and of ghosts of the past. The society “Friends of Garli” and arch i will bring out some of these stories, through periodic story telling sessions later this year.

For those interested in visiting this place almost suspended in time, and unlocking its mysteries, more information can be found on Garli website

Article in the newspaper "The Asian Age" about Garli.