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The gateway to Mumbai

A photo series captures the Mumbai's architecture and what went wrong with it

Kala Ghoda's famed synagogue. Pics/ Kuber Shah
Kala Ghoda's famed synagogue. Pics/ Kuber Shah

Few cities in the country have as varied a skyline as Mumbai's. Gothic and Victorian architecture, speckled with Indo-Saracenic structures and Art Deco buildings exist cheek by jowl with clone-like glass facades of malls and office spaces. And space utilisation has become the excuse for constructing matchbox-like residences that let no sunlight in. It was this disregard for Mumbai's historic architecture, with no thought being put into the current constructions, which led photographer and social media consultant Kuber Shah to frame the city's eclectic buildings for a series called Doors of Mumbai. The photo exhibition will be on view from tomorrow.

A Memorial Temple at Worli Naka
A Memorial Temple at Worli Naka

"Urbanisation and haphazard growth have engulfed Mumbai's beautiful architecture, where buildings are cluttered with wires, mobile phone towers and hoardings," says Shah, who studied industrial engineering in Berlin, where he developed a keen interest in urban architecture. "Berlin presented a great example of modern architecture, where all the dilapidated communist structures were rebuilt with a lot of planning. However, in Mumbai, the lack of a governing body that understands the role architecture plays in defining a city's personality is sorely felt," he shares.

Kuber Shah. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Kuber Shah. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Shah points out that even within India, Mumbai has been particularly unfortunate. "After Independence, Nehru paid a lot of attention to modern construction in Delhi, which has now come to define it. But while Mumbai had its picturesque architectural heritage, few additions to its skyline came with any character," laments Shah.

Among the city's iconic constructions, it's the Rajabai Tower that inspires Shah. "Kanchenjunga Apartments on Peddar Road is one of the few examples of modern architecture that Mumbai failed to replicate," he says.

Talking about the series, Shah shares that he uses 'doors' as a metaphor — a gateway to what lies beyond them. "So often, due to lack of upkeep, a building may seem underwhelming, but step inside and the high ceilings and other architectural wonders will sweep you off your feet," he says.

FROM: February 17 to March 3, 9 am to 9 pm (February 17, 6 pm)
AT: Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters, Shakti Mills Lane, Mahalaxmi.
CALL: 9820095887

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