Throughout the weekend, since it was mainly about Independence Day, most governmental institutions and venues were closed except museums and other tourist sights. Considering filming and shooting without permission in Mumbai is against the law, due to the 2008 terrorist attacks, getting footage for the project has been quite a challenge. Most of the footage I’ve been aiming to get while not working with Mewsic and the children is from the city, the traditions and cultures one can experience in urban settings, traveling by auto rickshaw, train and taxi cabs, and through common day-to-day activities. In some of the temples, people are OK with tourist taking pictures and watching their prayers. Here’s a photo from the popular Jain Temple in the city. Particularly, policemen can be found in every single train station, and they will make you delete any snapshots you’ve taken with your camera, let alone any semi-professional DSLR’s or similar.
After a week staying in Mumbai, I’ve gotten the hang of the train system. Quite different than New York’s complex yet efficient system, Mumbai’s railway system is a bit more tough to handle and manage. Orientation in the city is not that hard; trains go from north to south and have both western and central railways. The first couple of rides tested my ability to fight for a spot within the 1st (100 INR or more) and 2nd class (5-10 INR) cars. Clearly, the 2nd class cabins are packed most of the time. Men are the common customers in 2nd class since it is too packed for women to travel (given the circumstances in gender violence cases). Train travel is a great option to check out the city and get away from the hustle bustle of constant honking in the streets and chaotic pedestrian walking. One thing to admire is the great railway system implemented by the British more than 100 years ago. Unfortunately, most of the architecture of train stations as well as buildings and classic British houses have been left without any restoration, making most of Mumbai’s views and urban scenery old and grey. Mumbai’s main train station, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus – CST (Victoria Terminal) is a beautiful building, also designed while the British empire ruled Mumbai. Major local, express, and city-to-city trains leave and arrive from this station, making it one of the busiest around town. I’ve been able to get great footage if Mumbai’s citizens, seeing how they live, how they relate to one another, and how they are part of a huge dynamic metropolis. The city of the 7 islands, or how the Portugues used to call it, Bom-Bahia… Bombay.