Vani Subramanian: Delhi. New Delhi. Improved Delhi

International Studies in Planning Spring 2013

One-time advertising writer, Vani Subramanian is a documentary filmmaker and feminist activist from Delhi. Her films span a range of concerns from socially embedded realities of the free market and primary school education to urban development and safety, communalism, the politics of sex selective abortions, and personal and political dimensions of our food practices. Her films have been screened at a range of forums and festivals, and received national and international awards. As a Fulbright Fellow, currently at Cornell’s Department of Performing and Media Arts, she is looking at the gendered nature of cinematic spaces in popular Hindi films.

“Historical texts, architectural landmarks, literature and poetry, and even studies on climate change remind us that what we today call ‘Delhi’ has been many different cities over a thousand years of its history. Every time a center of power and influence, born and reborn in a new avatar. How different is the city in contemporary times?” Using popular and documentary films as an indicator of social history and culture, Subramanian will explore the changing character of the capital of independent India, its shifting of trajectories of power, and how these manifestations relate to the politics of its urban development, the location/dislocation, settlement/resettlement of her peoples, and the inevitable questions these raise around rights, citizenship, and belonging.

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