Bottle Masala in Moile

Director: Vaidehi Chitre 38’/2013/ Marathi and English

As owners of ancestral land in a city developing at an accelerated pace, the East Indian community of Bombay has found itself rapidly losing land to government and corporate forces that see their property as prime real estate.
For the community as a whole, especially in the urban areas, this has meant losing a valuable connection with the soil to which their culture is tied- the ‘story of us’. But for many, especially those in the rural areas like Dharavi Island this has also meant a threat to livelihood and customs, and consequently, as a small community, a threat to their very existence.

‘Bottle Masala in Moile’ focuses on some of this ‘story of us’. The film is divided into two thematically interconnected but dramatically discrete chapters. The first chapter, ‘Belly of the Whale,’ based in mainland Bombay, is a collection of individual stories loosely held together by a common thread- that of the experience of loss. The second chapter, ‘Eye of the Storm,’ is set in Dharavi Island, and is driven by the narrative of the community’s resistance movement against land acquisition.

Although it is the second chapter in the film, in a sense, ‘Eye of the Storm’ is also a prequel to ‘Belly of the Whale,’ in that the people of the island are still struggling to maintain the vital connection with their land that the urban community has already lost.

JURY CITATION (Jeevika Asia Livelihood Documentary Festival, 2013)

‘Bottle Masala in Moile’ works at two levels – firstly, by telling the story of a community that is no longer significant to the modern, homogenising narrative of a metropolis; secondly, by painting the tensions between traditional livelihoods that depend on terrain and geography, and the advance of urban infrastructure, which values concrete above mangroves, time above space, and access above all. A significant contribution to our understanding of Mumbai in particular, and urbanization in general.”

  • Madurai International Documentary and Short Film Festival, 2013 (Upcoming).
  • Flashpoint Human Rights Film Festival (Upcoming).
  • Delhi International Film Festival (Upcoming).
  • Best Short Documentary, 10th Jeevika Asia Livelihood Documentary Festival, 2013.
  • Bronze Remi, Houston International Film Festival, 2013 .
  • Rios – Festival Internacional de Cinema Documental e Transmedia, 2013.
  • Ladakh International Film Festival, 2013, Competition Section .
  • International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala, 2013, Competition Section (World Premiere)

Vaidehi Chitre is a filmmaker and writer. She has produced, written, directed and edited a number of films that have showcased at international festivals. One of her films was selected as part of a package of films on immigration and human rights taught in Toronto-area schools in 2010-2011. Her writing has been selected for various festivals including the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Original Short Play Festival, New York.

Vaidehi has an MFA in Cinema from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, an MA in English Literature from the University of Mumbai, a PG Diploma (Social Communications Media) from Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai and a BA in English Literature from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.

Her interests are nonfiction and narrative filmmaking, film and video editing, sound design, fiction writing, screenwriting, postcolonial feminist theory, and oral history.