Please join us for a screening and discussion with the filmmakers behind Nostalgia for the Future, moderated by Princeton Mellon Fellow Ateya Khorakiwala.
‘Nostalgia for the Future’ is a film on Indian modernity, the making of the citizen and the architecture of the home. It looks at four distinct imaginations of homes and bodies across examples of buildings made over the period of a century. These are Lukhshmi Vilas Palace in Baroda – the gigantic home built by a progressive monarch in the late 19th Century; Villa Shodhan in Ahmedabad – a private residence which represents the idea of domesticity within Nehruvian modernity, designed by Le Corbusier; Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, which epitomizes the Gandhian aspirations of the nation state; and public housing in post-independence Delhi, designed by the Government of India to house refugees from Pakistan and the bureaucrats of the newly independent nation.
The film explores these spaces and imagines the bodies that were meant to inhabit them through the evocation of the cinematic and aural collective memory of a nation. It uses a mix of formats – 16mm film and digital video in both color and black and white, along with archival footage from state propaganda films and mainstream cinema.
The film is a collaboration between film maker Avijit Mukul Kishore and architect Rohan Shivkumar. It emerges from the intersection of their respective disciplines – architecture and documentary film, both of which have been ingrained in the discourse of utilitarianism and certainty. The film opens these disciplines out to self-critique and looks at their role in imagining and constructing a nation and its citizen.
About the Filmmakers
Avijit Mukul Kishore is a filmmaker and cinematographer based in Mumbai, working in documentary and inter-disciplinary moving-image practices. He is involved in cinema pedagogy as a lecturer, and curates film programs for prominent national cultural institutions. His films as director include 'Snapshots from a Family Album', 'Vertical City', 'To Let the World In', 'Electric Shadows: Journeys in Image-making' and 'Nostalgia for the Future'; and as cinematographer: 'Kumar Talkies', 'Kali Salwaar', 'John and Jane', 'Seven Islands and a Metro', 'Bidesia in Bambai', 'I am Micro' and 'An Old Dog’s Diary’. He has been studying the archive of Films Division India for several years, in an attempt to understand the visual languages invented by the state in the project of nation-building.
Rohan Shivkumar is an architect and an urban designer practicing in Mumbai, and Deputy Director at the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies. His work spans architectural and interior design, to urban research and consultancy on issues concerning housing, public space and sanitation. He is interested in exploring the many ways of reading and representing the city, and is co-editor of the publication on a research and art collaboration – 'Project Cinema City'. He also curates film programmes and writes for 'Anarchytect' (blog) on cinema and urban issues. He is working on a book discussing approaches to the design of homes among Indian architectural practices.