Lovely Villa - Architecture as Autobiography

Every house is haunted by the spirits of those are yet to come, and of those that came before. We are all marked by the architecture of the homes we live in.

‘Lovely Villa’ is the name of the apartment building where the filmmaker grew up in as he studied to become an architect. It is in LIC colony designed by Charles Correa and represents an imagination of the ideal community for a modern India. The masterplan and architecture see an articulation of the ideal environment to live as imagined for the new Indian middle classes, with its focus on creating the possibility for housing different communities and classes within one building. It included a hierarchy of open spaces where different kinds of interaction could take place. The apartment buildings had unusual floor plans and open to sky terraces where kitchen gardens could be grown.

The filmmaker’s parents moved into this colony in the early 1970s and lived there for over 40 years. The film explores the architecture of the colony through a personal narrative. Using found materials, like old photographs and drawings, and stories that range from family histories and other narratives, both semi-fictional and documentary, the film highlights some of the specific architectural gestures of the project.

This is a film about the relationship between architecture, everyday life, family, coming of age, desire, and the memory of ‘home’.

Rohan Shivkumar is an architect, urban designer and filmmaker practicing in Mumbai. He is the Dean of Research and Academic Development at the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture, Mumbai. His work ranges from architecture, urban research and consultancy projects to works in film and visual art. He is interested in issues concerning housing, public space and in exploring the many ways of reading and representing the city. He is the co-editor of the publication ‘Project Cinema City’, an interdisciplinary research and art project. He curates film programmes and writes on cinema, architecture and urban issues. Shivkumar has written and co-directed two films – ‘Nostalgia for the future’ (2017) and ‘Squeeze Lime in Your Eye’ (2018). ‘Lovely Villa – Architecture as Autobiography’ is his first film as director.