Dilli Dur Ast (Delhi is still far)

The film attempts to archive India's capital city, Delhi during the period 2013-2015. Shot in more than 200 locations within the state of Delhi, it endeavours to capture the essence of the city. From monuments, religious places, life on the streets, life of the working-class, art, culture and wildlife to political campaigns and protest rallies, the film is aimed to be a collage of nonlinear events, which looks at the issues relating to class divide and socio-cultural pluralism in Delhi.

The interactions between races and religions have always been a feature of this city. It has always been an influential nucleus for progressive inter-community/ religious exchanges. The history of migration into the city has also contributed towards adding more heterogeneity into the socioeconomic and culturescape of Delhi.

Given a slew of corruption charges against the then Congress government at Center and in the state of Delhi, a mass movement against corruption, headed by activist Anna Hazare was launched in 2011. It demanded the constitution of the Lokpal (an ombudsman). While the Lokpal remains to be constituted, the movement saw the formation of The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the rise of the Bhartiya Janata Party(BJP). Correspondingly, since 2011, the city saw the rise of intolerance and a uni-polar politics.

The left parties and the cultural organisations along with other civil society groups staged various protest marches and public meetings. The film attempts to archive the various kinds of protests that were organized by different organisations before the 2014 general elections opposing the rise of the Right Wing in India.

While the AAP was initially seen to be an alternative, after coming to power in the state even they failed to match up to the expectations of their voters. BJP, the populist Right-wing party which came to power at the Center in 2014, soon created a totalitarian political environment through anti-poor and anti-farmer policies and shoving controversial Hindutva (Hindu Nationalism) propaganda onto its citizens, ignoring the covid stricken economic crises that the state and the country would go on to face just a few years later. Infighting within and among these two parties, some major wrong decisions from both of these parties in power have earned them the wrath of the people. The two parties that organised support and started the movement against the corrupt politics of the then Congress government in 2011, and promised a new alternative gradually began to seem like a lie.

The film attempts to capture evidence of these events through vivid montages in a non-linear frame. The film covers the political turmoil that the city has seen in recent years. It also attempts to profile and provide evidence of many artistic, communist and intellectual forms of dissent that the city has experienced in the last 3 to 5 years (reference footage used as timelines go beyond 60 years.) in a non-narrative style, using the structure of a city symphony.

  • Goirick Brahmachari
    Director
  • Amit Kumar Das
    Director
  • Tilak
    Director
  • Goirick Brahmachari
    Writer
  • Amit Kumar Das
    Writer
  • Tilak
    Writer
  • Tilak
    Cinematography
  • Goirick Brahmachari
    Cinematography
  • Outsider Eye Productions
    Producer
  • Amit Kumar Das
    Editor
  • Project Type:
    Other
  • Genres:
    Political City Symphony, Documentary, Feature, City Symphony
  • Completion Date:
    March 31, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    2,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    India
  • Country of Filming:
    India
  • Language:
    English, Hindi
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Rough Cut Screening
    Kunzum Travel Cafe, New Delhi
    India
    September 8, 2018
    Self funded screening
Director Biography - Goirick Brahmachari, Amit Kumar Das, Tilak

Goirick Brahmachari is a poet based in India. He works as a researcher in New Delhi. His interests lie in music, poetry and films.

Tilak is a software engineer based in New Delhi. His interests lie in photography, cinematography, wildlife and automation.

Amit Kumar Das is a sports journalist based in New Delhi. His interests lie in films, editing, music, poetry and badminton.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

We believe we have a story to tell and that the way we have chosen to tell the story is unique. The film is divided into two major sections, namely ‘Time and Space’ and ‘Democracy, Dissent and Dystopia’.

‘Time and Space’ deals with the essence of the city, Delhi (or Dilli as it is locally known). It attempts to sketch the co-existence of the old and new, the pluralism that the city has always had, through various images of religion, culture, places and historical monuments. These are sometimes images from spaces across locales within the city and sometimes, images from a single place across a nonlinear timeframe. With a background of the political events that were unfolding before or during the course of shooting, the section correlates some images with the politics that the city saw during the period. It provides a collage of sequences to establish the heterogeneity and plural society of Delhi and India. Though there are signs that this pluralism is being questioned, the unipolar politics begin to embrace the city, in speeches and in debates that lead to the 2014 general elections.

The second section ‘Democracy, Dissent and Dystopia’ deals specifically with various forms of intolerance and subsequent protests that Delhi saw before the 2014 elections. The arguments in this section range from racism to hardline nationalism. It attempts to question the idea of democracy in its present form and surveys the various narratives that ran across the TV news channels and in public meetings before and after the 2014 general elections.

A part city symphony, part political narrative, Dilli Dur Ast is an attempt to fuse two genres of filmmaking. One set of inspiration constitutes the notable city symphonies of the 1920s. Here is an essay I had written after watching some of the noted city symphonies of the 1920s:

https://cafedissensus.com/2018/03/14/meandering-through-vertovs-kino-eye-and-city-symphonies-of-the-1920s/

The other set of inspiration lies in political narratives like 'Capitalism a love story' and 'The Square'. This film is a humble attempt to infuse these two genres. It attempts to tell a political narrative using the structure of a non-narrative city symphony. With only montages and background scores, the movie attempts to show the city of Delhi to its viewers, without ignoring the political narratives that hovered around the city during the last few years.