Mega-Delhi Sublime

Mega-Delhi Sublime is a solo performance using projected film, live narration, and animated objects to create an immersive experience of a shahr-ashob - the late 18th century form of Urdu poetry that obsessed over Delhi as a city in crisis. Narrated by an American missionary’s grandson as he rummages through the contemporary city, Mega-Delhi Sublime ultimately takes viewers into the tiny alleys of the notorious Colony of Wooden Dolls where magical peep-show boxes containing ‘all the wonders of the world’ continue to be performed despite skyscrapers looming overhead.  From these alleys, details of the city's past century begin to emerge.

Inspired by the spirit of the Delhi poets, Mega-Delhi Sublime layers personal narratives, off-beat observations, and meticulous research to bring contemporary Delhi in and out of focus and show how it has become known as an 'unintended city.' This story of a city on the verge of self-discovery features an abandoned British memorial, a colony of criminal tribes, a high-tech slum, a failed American plan, a cult of assassins, an eternal cloud of pestilent dust, and a little pink house for a family of three.

As a live-narrated film-essay, Mega-Delhi Sublime traces the strange, poetic static crackling through the world’s largest democracy and, ultimately, celebrates the universal urge to create art in the face of corruption and total uncertainty.

This project is supported by a grant from Creative Capital.