By Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas
Winner 2012 – Best Documentary
Dilli weaves the untold story of mass exodus of thousands of Delhi slum dwellers who were bulldozed from their homes and transferred to a makeshift façade, Bawana, without water, shelter or drainage. The relocation was a direct result of the city being rebuilt for the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
About the directors
Directors Ghosh and Thomas documented the evacuation of the thousands who, in a matter of minutes, lost their homes, and were left in a sea of rubble with nowhere to go and no ray of hope. Bawana represents a micro level reflection of the life of the slum dwellers around the world. According to a United Nations report, about a sixth of the world’s population — nearly 1 billion people — live in slums, and that number could double by 2030, if developed nations don’t reverse course and start giving the issue serious attention. Asia has the largest number of slum dwellers overall, with 554 million, while sub-Saharan Africa has the largest percentage of its urban population living in slums — about 71%. The report says that the worldwide number of slum dwellers increased by 36% in the 1990s to 923 million people. Dilli simply holds a mirror in front of all nations to bring awareness. Awareness is the first step to action.
Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh are award-winning filmmakers based in New Delhi, India. They run an independent media company, Black Ticket Films, under which they have produced and directed documentaries, ad-films, multimedia projects and corporate films. Documentaries produced under the Black Ticket Films banner have explored issues of gender and sexuality, HIV AIDS, human rights and climate change. These multiple award-winning films have been screened in film festivals across six continents and are also being used as advocacy and resource mobilization tools by governments, development sector organizations and educational institutions. Recently, their film on climate change was selected from a global call of films to be screened at the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Cancún, Mexico.
In their spare time, Rintu and Sushmit conduct film appreciation classes for young adults and also teach photography to underprivileged children.
This is a fantastically assured example of documentary filming. The use of colour and the framing of shots to both emphasize and counterpoint the narration is hugely effective. The love of the subject matter going hand in hand with the love of the form shows how effective documentary can be. When something so terrible is shot with such beauty it only serves to make the message even more powerful. Both shocking and shockingly beautiful. – Tim McInnerny
Lovingly made documentary that is occasionally very moving and thoroughly watchable, quite aside from being a great piece of record for this outrageous displacement of people and culture. Complemented by beautiful cinematography and unusually thoughtful subtitle design. – Jim Field Smith
Superb look at aspects of poverty in Delhi. This was so elegant and treated its subjects with a real respect and warmth, those people who live amongst the millions that have nothing on the fringes of this ever growing city. I could have watched these dignified people for hours. I loved the message and their desire to educate their children to get out of the trap of poverty. – Steve Furst