Personal History as a City Portrait

Sabeena Gadihoke, Paromita Vohra and Ayisha Abraham  |  6 March 2016  |  Bengaluru

This conversation looks at urban narratives that get formed out of personal histories, through three distinct image-making practices. Sabeena Gadihoke will present explorations of urban space in Bombay and Delhi in the 1950s and 60s through the work of Homai Vyarawalla – India’s first woman press photographer. Paromita Vohra will talk about her television series ‘Connected Hum Tum’, where Mumbai women discuss their lives and preoccupations by making video-diaries. Ayisha Abraham will discuss found-footage practice where personal, often intimate images acquire significant meaning over time and become a record of culture.


Paromita Vohra is a filmmaker and writer, whose work has been widely screened at festivals and museums worldwide. Her films as director are Morality TV and the Loving Jehad: A Thrilling Tale) a documentary on moral policing and tabloid culture set in Meerut, Q2P, a film about public toilets and the vision of the global city, which was awarded the Best Documentary Award at the IFFLA and Stuttgart festivals, besides being exhibited at the Tate Modern,Where’s Sandra?, a film about sexual and community stereotyping of Christian women, Work In Progress (2004) about the World Social Forum which took place in Bombay in 2004),  Cosmopolis: Two Tales of A City (2004), a film that probes the myth of Bombay’s cosmopolitanism through the politics of land and food,(Award for Best Film Indo-British Digital Film Festival),  Unlimited Girls (2001), an exploration of what feminism means to different people in urban India (Women’s News Award, Seoul Film Festival; Best Film, Aaina Film Festival, Best Documentary, Bollywood and Beyond, 2004), A Woman’s Place (1998), a film about women’s legal strategies in India, South Africa and the USA (for PBS), Annapurna: Goddess of Food (1995) about an organization of women food workers in Bombay’s textile mill area which has been broadcast in 10 countries and A Short Film About Timei (1999) a short fiction about a woman with a broken heart, her therapist and his watch.

Her films as a writer includes the feature films Silent Waters, about a woman whose life is transformed by growing fundamentalism in a Pakistani village (Dir: Sabiha Sumar), (Best Screenplay Award, Kara Film Festival, Best Film, Locarno Film Festival) and Khamoshi:The Musical (Additional Scriptwriting) (dir: Sanjay Leela Bhansali); the documentaries Skin Deep, A Few Things I Know About Her (Silver Conch, MIFF 2002, National Award for Best Documentary, 2002) and If You Pause: In a Museum of Craft.

She writes extensively for print, both fiction and non-fiction, including a fortnightly column for the Mumbai Mirror. She teaches scriptwriting as visiting faculty at various universities and has done considerable work with young people with a focus on radio.

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