Friday, March 21, 2008


So here is a brief note on the genesis of this film:
In 2005 I made a documentary on the state of Architecture in Bangalore as seen by 25 of its most prominant practitioners. Made with a small handheld camera and no sound equipment the film was tough to watch and even tougher to hear, but the process of juxtaposing ideas and opinions from different people together on the same topic made it seem like a conversation. The film found an afterlife as an introduction to private practice at some architecture schools and in transcript form at Anand Bhatt's Architexturez ( Prof. Chhaya of CEPT suggested I do a similar film on Ahmedabad and it got me thinking about Doshi. Maybe we needed to have a conversation about him, his critical works, his ideas about life and his relevance today.
I worked at Doshi's office for a year (95-96) and was a great fan of his. He had a take on things which was at once very modern and ancient. His work had influenced a whole generation of architects and I was always amazed at how diverse his work was and how consistently interesting. He was also the only one from his generation who was presenting the work (especially in the later projects) in a very unusual way - talking about myths, creating narratives steeped in imagined histories and locating key architectural moves as a reaction to these. This ability to at once tackle architecture as both a modern, structured and rigorous artifact as well as an intangible, archaic and philosophical idea made the work seem more rooted than those of his contemporaries. He seemed to be the perfect candidate for a film - his experiences would include working with Le Corbusier, starting an architecture school, setting up a foundation, and being the quintessential family man.
So as soon as Prem returned to India we decided to begin and on a whim we made a trip to Ahmedabad. Reaching there on a Sunday night I made my first call to Doshi.