Jari Mari

Of cloth and other stories
Director: Surabhi Sharma
English (subtitled), 75 min, 2001, India
This film explores the lives of the people of Jari Mari, and records the many changes in the nature and organisation of Mumbai's workforce over the past two decades.
Jari Mari
A still from Jari Mari

Modern Mumbai was built on the economic foundations laid by its textile mills. Of late the city, seems to be almost seamlessly transformed from a manufacturing centre to being a significant node for finance capital, driven by the service economy. The closure of textile mills and the conversion of their real estate into palatial high-rises or luxurious offices herald the birth of the new global-city. This film seeks to interrogate this public profile of contemporary Mumbai by listening to the experiences of an almost invisible but crucial and expansive labour force.
Jari Mari is a sprawling slum colony adjacent to Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji international airport, whose narrow lanes house hundreds of small sweatshops where women and men work, without the right to organise. Their existence is on the edge – their illegal dwellings could be demolished, at any time, by the airport authorities. Jobs have to be found anew everyday, from workshop to workshop.

Producer: Surabhi Sharma
Director: Surabhi Sharma
Camera: Setu Pande
Editing: Jabeen Merchant
Sound: Gissy Michael
  • Third Best Film: Film South Asia, Nepal
  • Best documentary Film: Karachi Film Festival, Pakistan
  • Special Mention: The Festival of Three Continents, Argentina
About the Director:

Surabhi Sharma studied film direction at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, and made her first film in 2001. She completed a BA in Anthropology and Psychology from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai University. She has worked on seven long documentaries apart from some short films. And video installations. Her key concern has been documenting cities in transition through the lens of labour, music and migration, and most recently reproductive labour. Cinema verite and ethnography are the genres that inform her filmmaking.

Her films have been screened and awarded at international film festivals. Her film has been a part of film series screened at museums and at universities. Surabhi Sharma has directed and scripted fiction telefilms and Science Programming for children. She has worked as an actor with a Mumbai based theatre group.

She has also taught as a guest lecturer at the National Institute of Design and Whistling Woods International. She has received the Majlis Fellowship in 2002. She was awarded the Puma Catalyst Award in 2011 by the Britdoc Foundation.

Posted by Magic Lantern Movies LLP on February 2, 2014
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