Aalika Manhindra (left), automobile heiress, preparing for a shoot with filmmaking collaborator Anjali Bhushan (right). Photo Credit: Santosh Agwekar
Aalika Mahindra is heiress to one of India’s biggest auto companies but has her sights set on filmmaking. After graduating from the New York Film Academy in 2009, she returned to her family home in South Mumbai wanting to make a feature film. Mahindra teamed up with filmmaker Anjali Bhushan and decided to seek office space in the suburban town of Bandra, feeling “the industry was based out of the suburbs.” Though Mahindra’s intention was to write the script for her feature film, a few weeks of experiencing the character of Bandra changed her focus. Comments Mahindra, “I met so many interesting people and experienced the character that Bandra holds. That’s when the idea of making the suburb the subject of our film came to me, and Anjali and I started work.”
Mahindra redirected her efforts into making a documentary that shows the intersection of the bustling, creative space of the town’s youngest residents and the fine dining and establishments of the city’s older inhabitants. Mahindra smiles commenting on the laidback vibe of the place: “‘I’ve grown up in South Mumbai and love it, but on the flip side, there’s a snoot value and an obsession with social dos and celebrity-spotting, which isn’t the case here. Bandra’s celebrities share space with you at coffee shops and no one bats an eyelid. People here are connected to each other and the suburb, which probably comes from the fact that a lot of those who first migrated here on account of cheaper rent were single, and made the effort to reach out to the community. Today, that bond is visible, and it fosters an atmosphere where random strangers can chat with each other at a bagel shop or say hello to each other on the road.”
Mahindra will show a short version of the film she is cutting from over 20 hours of footage at the Celebrate Bandra festival in November, but is working on a longer festival release of the project for next year.