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At first glance, the Kathputli Colony looks like any other Indian slum. Flies swarm its putrid canals. Children climb on drooping electrical wires. Construction cranes and an ever-expanding Metro line loom on the horizon.
But Kathputli is a place of fading traditions. For half a century 2,800 artist families have called its narrow alleyways home; there are jugglers and acrobats, puppeteers and painters, folk singers and magicians, many of whom are well-respected artists in India and abroad.
In 2009 the New Delhi government sold Kathputli to developers for a fraction of its worth. The land is to be bulldozed to make room for the city’s first-ever skyscraper, The Raheja Phoenix.
We follow three of Kathputli’s most-talented performers as they wrangle with the reality of their approaching eviction.
“Beautiful, sad and stunning, the film lovingly but unflinchingly documents the destructive collision between tradition and modernization, between ramshackle artistry and regimented bureaucracy. At times it has the vibrant spirit of a real-life “Beasts of the Southern Wild”; at other times it is imbued with a profound sense of loss summed up by the words of gifted puppeteer Puran Bhat: “I wish I could stop the world for a moment.” The Wrap
The Variety film review.
Learn more at the film’s official website here.