India | 2018 | 121 min | Hindi | Director Attending
This love letter to the syncretic culture of Old Delhi, or Shahjahanabad, is based on interviews with 75 migrant workers. The film follows the lives and aspirations of a pickpocket and a sweetmeat vendor from Uttar Pradesh, and a loader from Kerala, who all live on an abandoned rooftop. Inspired by Akash, a local Jain who conducts heritage walks through Old Delhi, the pickpocket devises his own ‘alternative walks’ which reveal the city’s underbelly but land him in trouble with small-factory owners and the police. Changing tack, he conducts a final ‘dream walk’ that takes us deep into the migrant communities’ subconscious. Light and humorous in its approach, Ghode ko Jalebi is notable for its portrayal of the mix of languages spoken in Old Delhi, including Urdu, Hindi, English, Malayalam and Bhojpuri, together with street versions of the same.
Born in 1959, eminent theatre director Anamika Haksar trained under Badal Sarcar and BV Karanth at the National School of drama, Delhi, and later attended the State Institute of Theatrical Art, Moscow. In 1995, she was awarded the Sanskruti award for developing a new theatre language in India. In 2016 she exhibited a highly acclaimed theatre installation at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Anamika’s last play was 2008’s Uchakka, based on Marathi novelist Laxman Gaikwad’s autobiography. Explaining the motivation behind Ghode ko Jalebi, Anamika says, “My country, India, is full of stories and dreams, retained mostly by its illiterate population. During my walks through old Delhi, I noticed that, with the changing landscape of the city, memories were fading away. Anyone below 30 was in a state amnesia, history and stories wiped out of their minds by an urban smog.”