is where my mother and grandmother were born, a city so extreme in its density and intensity that it defies description. In 2001, while I was living in Fiji researching and making a film about race relations, my sister Sadia Shepard was living in Mumbai making a film and writing a book about our roots in Mumbai’s small Jewish community. I had the opportunity to visit her while there and shoot some of the material for her documentary.
Mumbai was also the longtime home of my mentor, the late experimental filmmaker Mani Kaul, whose ideas about juxtaposition and visual language have had a profound influence on how I think about the moving image and urban space. Please seek out and see some of his films if you can.
In 2006, Mumbai was one of the cities I made a film about for the Venice Architecture Biennale.
The following year, I wrote a short essay about the ways Mumbai teaches people to navigate the density and intensity of its streets in 2007, for a conference called “Learning from Mumbai” which was part of Urban Age, a wordlwide investigation into the future of cities. And I made a five-part video exploring the use and regulation of Mumbai's streets as sites of commerce, dwelling, recreation, worship and transportation.
And then in 2013, a fellowship at NYU enabled me to work with the sociologist Michael McQuarrie and the journalist Naresh Fernandes on a research project into the politics surrounding a major slum upgrading project in Golibar.