25 YEARS IN PICTURE THROUGH A CHANGING CITY
Once there was Bombay. Actually, even before that, there was the idea of Bombay: An egalitarian meritocracy, where even the most humble of citizens could make it. A city where big businesses co-existed with the streets. Where the roads were washed every morning. Where the rich whispered, and the poor smiled easily. A city that absorbed immigrants with ease and generosity, and celebrated all successes with a cutting chai, some sev puri and easy banter.
It was a kinder, gentler city, where fun was about riding the double–decker 123 BEST bus down the Marine Drive to watch the monsoon waves, ending up at Opera House cinema for a ten-rupees ticket and a two-rupees samosa at the latest Amitabh Bachchan blockbuster (’50 weeks and counting!’). And ‘eating out’ was about finding a hot new pao bhaji joint where rich and poor alike queued up patiently for the delights of cheap and good.
And then our world changed. We changed. Fancy restaurants, fancier discos, we took our delight in the exclusive and expensive. Then Bombay became Mumbai.
When India’s economic ‘miracle’ took place, the city was the first to share the spoils. Affluence changed Mumbai once again. Mills became malls; things took place of the ideas. Padminis vanished as the old yellow and black taxis were replaced by the shiny new BMWs and Porches. Conversations centered on money – who had it, who didn’t and how to get some of it quickly and painlessly. Bombay was always about commerce but in a more abstract way.
And the city continues to change. We continue to change.
Somehow, somewhere, the old idea still stays strong. That this is a place of dreams. That here anyone can become someone. That here we care not about where you came from but what can you do. That in this city we respect ability, effort and drive. And no matter where you go, no matter who you are, you will get a glass of cutting chai and easy banter.
About Fawzan Husain:
Fawzan Husain is a photojournalist, a creative artist, teacher and an organic farmer. A self-taught photographer, Fawzan has spent 25 years as a photojournalist. His work has been published in prominent Indian and international publications and exhibited around the world.
After completing a post-graduate degree in journalism from the Bombay School of Journalism, he joined the Mumbai-based newspaper Mid-day. “At Mid-day, I honed my talent in the documentary genre of photography”, he says. He later joined India Today and worked there for over a decade, traveling across India on assignments.
Fawzan held his first solo show in 1992 and has had eight shows and 12 group exhibitions since. Permanent collections of his works can be viewed at The Museum of Fine Art – Houston, Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts in Japan and the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Mumbai. His body of work is presented by Tasveer in India.