The global city erases everything in its path. As we move from metro to mall, there is nothing to remind us of those who lived and worked where we now stand. This film is our attempt to let their stories live on.
Bangalore, a major city in South India, grew into prominence in the 1990s as an IT hub after liberalization of the Indian economy. Over the past decade, spurred on by corporate houses, the State is pushing to develop Bangalore into a 'world class metropolis'. This 'reinvention of Bangalore' has meant the initiation of large infrastructural projects, and creation of a 'global look' for the city. The city and its transformation is the subject of our narrative. The film comments on the ways in which the 'global city' ideal is used to transform the city to benefit global business players, leaving little space for residents to shape its future.
A range of city residents – environmentalists, activists, academics, community workers, and those affected by 'development,' challenged the State's ideal of the global city. Among them are Malini, whose heritage home lies in the path of the Metro; Girija, who is forced to camp amongst the ruins of her home after it was bulldozed with no prior notice or compensation; Professor Nuthan, who fights the city government to stop the construction of a 100 ft wide road that cuts through the Agricultural University campus, destroying trees and experimental plots critical for research on food security . The need to 'beautify' the city has meant loss of livelihood for Zameer and other street vendors who have been cleared from pavements where they have earned their livelihood for over two decades. There has been a systematic attempt to clear slums that have housed workers like Hanumantha, who's home is a stone’s throw from the shiny Tech Park that he and other members of the community built. For Vanaja and street cleaners, being part of a global city means clearing its waste at lower than minimum wage. With the adoption of a market-driven economy, they were displaced from their secure government jobs and thrown to the mercy of private contractors who don't pay them even a minimum wage.
Leo, Katyayani, Vinay and Vijay are critical of the State's plan to create a 'global city.' They have contested the State's undemocratic implementation of development projects (such as road widening and the Metro) and are concerned about the impact on people and the environment.