Bombay our City

Hamara Shahar (1985, 75 minutes)

BOMBAY OUR CITY tells the story of the daily battle for survival of the 4 million slum dwellers of Bombay who make up half the city’s population. Although they are Bombay’s workforce – industrial laborers, construction workers, domestic servants – they are often denied city utilities like electricity, sanitation, and water.

Many slumdwellers must also face the constant threat of eviction as city authorities carry out campaigns to “beautify” the city.

BOMBAY OUR CITY is an indictment of injustice and misery, and a call to action on the side of the slumdwellers.


Bombay Our City on the daily battle for survival of slumdwellers

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DVD includes English subtitles. Other versions available on request: English (60 mins), Hindi, French, Spanish


Best Non-Fiction National Award, India,1986
Special Jury Award  Cinema du Reel, Paris, 1986
Filmfare Award  Best Documentary, India, 1986

Slumdweller to receive award for ‘Bombay Our City’ Press release, 1986


“This writer considers it perhaps Patwardhan’s most mature and hard hitting film which exposes not only the ugly face of Bombay but the hypocrisy of some of its top authorities as well as the unbroken spirit of its slumdwellers.”
Amita Malik – Statesman

“Simply one of the best documentaries I have ever seen.”
Sean Cubitt – City Limits, London, UK

“Quite clearly, BOMBAY: OUR CITY is the best documentary ever made in India.”
Khalid Mohamed – The Times of India

“Patwardhan gives us this story simply and clearly, with restrained passion, and it becomes, finally, appalling and moving.”
Michael Wilmington – The Los Angeles Times

“A member of the U.P.M.C. (Upper Middle Class) with guilt becomes a sentimental socialist. A sentimental socialist with an excess of guilt, becomes a proto-Marxist and is dangerous. A sentimental socialist with talent becomes excessively dangerous. Anand Patwardhan’s film on demolition of slums in Bombay ‘Hamara Shaher’ showed and discussed at the British Council on 3rd July ’85 can perhaps best be understood against this background.”
Shankar Menon – Financial Express

“Anand Patwardhan’s HAMARA SHAHER about the unauthorized hutments demolitions in Bombay during these last few years, was the best viewing not only of last week but of this year — and that includes feature films. The approach is multi-faceted and analytical. The case against demolitions comes out of the mouth of its staunchest supporters — vigilance groups, municipal officials, police officials leading industrialists, advertizing clubs and highrise apartments’ ladies clubs …. (The logic of the situation is driving the demolition supporters to Fascist attitudes.) I have often heard such talk at cocktail parties but never has the ruling class been caught with its pants down on film.”
Iqbal Masud – Indian Express

“Does Patwardhan honestly feel that he is giving the “privileged” class a fair hearing, or is fairness not the purpose of the film? Whereas I had gone to see the film with an open mind ready to sympathize with the problems and tragedy of hutment dwellers, I suddenly found myself on the defensive — or perhaps that was the intention of the director.”
Meenakshi Raja – The Afternoon


Production, Direction, Editing: Anand Patwardhan
Camera: Ranjan Palit, Anand Patwardhan, Pervez Merwanji
Sound: Indrajit Neogy
Editing Assistance: Ramesh Asher, Sanjiv Shah

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