Bangalore is being refashioned as a 'world-class' metropolis. Livelihoods and homes make way for flyovers, glitzy malls and a shiny Metro. Threatened with violent transformation of their city, residents confront the authorities. Beneath the State's ideal of a'global' city lurks the intent to clear a pasture for big business. The film captures the city from 2008-2013, a period of dramatic transformation: the building of the Metro; mushrooming of swanky malls and gated communities; destruction of homes, livelihoods and shrinking green cover. Many felt that the State had ignored social justice, environmental concerns and basic principles of democratic governance in its haste to build a global city. Consequently, this period witnessed escalated conflict between authorities and city residents. A range of city residents – environmentalists, activists, academics, community workers, and those affected by 'development' challenged the State's ideal of the global city.
Gautam Sonti’s earlier series of short films, Coding Culture (www.codingculture.wordpress.com), is a critical examination of the experience of globalisation within the microcosm of a hi-tech workplace in Bangalore. Our Metropolis, his first feature-length documentary film, extends this theme to the entire city.
Usha Rao is a cultural anthropologist with an interest in the anthropology of cities. She has been studying the transformation of Bangalore over the past decade. In particular, she is interested in understanding the effects of the ‘global city’ discourse on the lives of people and the cityscape.