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Bidesia in Bambai

86 mins/2013/Bhojpuri & Hindi with English subtitles/INDIA (coming soon to the US for select screenings)


Bidesia is Bhojpuri for ‘the one who leaves home’. One in four migrants in Mumbai is Bhojpuria, a people from the north Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Bambai is their name for Mumbai/Bombay. The bidesia in Bambai, like most migrants in this ‘global city’, inhabits the precarious edges of Mumbai. Along with his meager belongings though, the migrant brings with him a vibrant musical culture. Bhojpuri pop music is produced, circulated and performed in the crumbling sites that are home to the bidesia in the big city. Migration is the predominant theme in the music, and the mobile phone is a recurring motif in the songs. Frequently sexually charged, at times religious, often lyrical and occasionally political, the migrant is both the subject of, and the audience for this music. The musical landscape he inhabits mobilizes notions of masculinity; gives form to his identity; makes tangible his desire for a place in the city; and evokes his longing for home. Bidesia in Bambai charts the travails of two ambitious singers – Ramanuj Pathak, a one-time taxi-driver chasing his first record deal; and Kalpana Patowary, one of the stars of the Bhojpuri music industry. The lives of these singers are punctuated by the changing landscape of the city, where, much like their lives, structures are built and torn down regularly. This feature-length film attempts to make the migrant visible by celebrating the musical sphere that he inhabits, in a city that renders him illegal and unwanted.   

Directed and Produced by Surabhi Sharma



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