IndoGerman Filmweek: Powai, IND 2022, R.: Kuldip Patel mit Urmila Mahanta, Smriti Mishra, Shruti Pandey, 120 Min., OmeU (Hindi mit englischen UT)
Powai is a triptych of stories about three women from diverse socio-economic backgrounds living in the titular developing suburb of Mumbai - a domestic worker, a govt preschool teacher and a software professional.
As they struggle to realise their aspirations and claim their autonomy in a fast-changing, male-dominated, chaotic and often unforgiving urban landscape, their lives intersect in small, unexpected ways.
In Mumbai, I always lived in Powai being a software professional. I was fascinated by its diversity where you meet migrants from all corners of the country working in different domains living starkly different lives in this closely knit neighbourhood. It is like a microcosm of India in a way. It is a very intriguing place where exorbitantly priced high-rise apartments are surrounded by slums that are going through redevelopment. Powai is also Mumbai’s start-up hub, with young tech entrepreneurs starting off from the incubation of IIT Bombay causing the area to be referred to as Powai Valley. The suburb’s geographical range is quite cinematic with hills, lakes, parks, office complexes and underbelly lanes. The film took birth from my personal research around slum dwellers, working class people and techies around me, over the years. While the subjects are universal, I wanted to entirely treat them as personal struggles keeping the stories and characters rooted and faithful to their space, culture and social milieus.