The SlumGods of Dharavi
This short documentary tells the story of Vikram, a young underprivileged boy who lives in Dharavi, in Mumbai. Dharavi is the biggest slum in India and it’s located right in the center of the financial district. Some people believe it’s an eyesore and it’s even called ‘Mumbai’s Shadow City’.
Some of the families that live in Dharavi have been there for three or more generations. Until the late 19th century, that area of Mumbai was a mangrove swamp where Koli fishermen lived. Eventually the fishermen turned to bootlegging and other ethnic groups joined them to create one of India’s most diverse neighborhoods in its most diverse city.
Vikram lives in Dharavi with his parents. Both of them work hard to give him a better future. Vikram’s mother recalls how her own parents weren’t able to offer her an education, so she’s willing to do whatever it takes so her son won’t have to repeat poverty and lack in his own life. Vikram agrees with her and he has even taken measures to start building a better future for himself; he spends a few afternoons every week week in a stuffy, hot makeshift studio with other boys. They are there to learn to dance hip hop and the classes are free.
Akash, the instructor is facing some controversy at home. His parents believe that it’s time for him to get married and start acting like an adult. Akash knows that getting married and finding a job will not make him happy. He is convinced that his future is tied to dancing hip hop and wants to continue to do so for as long as he can. But sometimes traditions can prove to be much stronger than dreams.
The boys hold a competition to choose the best dancer. It’s impressive how they don’t allow their obvious lack of resources to stop them from acting on their dreams. The truth is that poverty has never stopped anyone from succeeding if he or she really wanted to succeed. Watch this beautiful short film now.