A Portrait of Mumbai

Mumbai, India – September 2011

Mumbai means great food, like tikli (a cripsy potato basket filled with yogurt, chick peas, sweet chutney and various other vegetables and spices):

Mumbai also means terrible traffic – the worst I’ve ever experienced. You can spend hours in taxis going from one part of the city to another. I asked someone when rush hour ends. The answer? It doesn’t.

Traffic jams are the ideal opportunity to take pictures from the car. There’s not really much else to do when you’re stuck on the road

The Navratri Festival (a festival of dance) was going on while I was in Mumbai. It’s one of the major events in the Hindu calendar

The dancing is amazing.  Apparently people start practicing months in advance

I don’t know how people can wear these outfits in the heat.. the dances take place outdoors and although it’s at night, the temperature is still at least 25C. Combine this with close to 100% humidity and we’re talking about some very uncomfortable conditions!

Juhu Beach

Man selling roses in the street:

I still can’t believe that kids sit on bikes like this:

Mumbai is a city of contrast – wherever you look:

Ganesh Hegde, an awesome choreographer (although it is fair to say I am slightly biased!), was directing a shoot for Hrithik Roshan (a Bollywood actor) for a reality dance show called Just Dance.

Shoots are laborious affairs – the tiniest scene can be shot over and over, and Ganesh being meticulous wants no less than perfection.

The costumes were made by the best costume designer in India, if not the world – Bipin Tanna (again I am biased but it’s the truth!)

I left soon after I took the above shot of Hrithik.  Filming finished at 7am the following morning.  You can see the end result here:

It’s interesting how it’s made to look like a live performance when it was shot a day before in the studio without an audience.

I saw her from a distance in the street playing with what looked like a doll. She was spinning it around and throwing and catching it, laughing the whole time. It’s only when I looked back on the pics I took that I realised it was a real baby!

I went on a bike ride which is basically a death wish. The concept of helmets is uncommon, but in the spirit of ‘when in Rome’, I decided to go with the flow, and take pictures – just to add to the danger.

I love how the driver is protected with a helmet, but not the kids

A games arcade – Indian style:

There’s a picture of a Hindu god in the middle, and the  Om sign on the left. The equivalent in the UK would be a games arcade with Jesus and the cross in the windows. Very bizarre, but then, this is India : )

Bigg Boss is the Indian version of Big Brother:

It’s hugely popular and adverts were all over the place.

A bunch of 20 roses cost around 50 rupees which is around 70p.. so basically less than a £1 or $1. Madness.

Dusshera is a religious day and is also a national holiday in India.  Cars were decorated with flowers:

On this day, people tend to bring statues of the goddess Durga to the sea to be immersed

They kept asking to be photographed : )

I also shot a couple of rolls of film.  I’ll save them for another post, but here’s one that represents the Indian railways:

More from India:

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