`The Eighth City of Delhi` amalgamates Delhi`s cities

Last Updated: Jul 29, 2009, 13:31 PM IST

New Delhi: Did you know that the national capital of India, is not just one city, but an amalgam of eight cities built over the years beginning from the times of Prithviraj Chauhan and Qutub-ud-Din Aibak ?

A new film by the Delhi government travels in time to explore and document the contribution of various historical
personalities in the making of the multi-faceted city.

`The Eighth City of Delhi` tells the story of Delhi through history, seen through the eyes of a group of students from Delhi College of Arts, who paint a DTC bus to represent all the seven erstwhile cities comprising Delhi and the present capital, which is the eighth city.

"The film is an attempt to touch the soul of Delhi. We had to undergo a lot of research, speak to some historians to come up with this concept of eight cities. There have been a lot of documentaries on Delhi but we wanted to do something unique," says director Chandramouli Basu.

The film denotes Lal Kot built by the Tomaras in 1060 AD as the first city of Delhi. It was later renamed Quila Rai Pithora, and was captured by Prithviraj Chauhan, a Rajput ruler who came in from Rajasthan. This event in history is compared with the inflow of migrants into the city, who come in to look for better opportunities in life.

The Qutub Minar is named the second city and the Siri Fort is third, both constructed during the slave dynasty or the Delhi Sultanate, founded by Qutub Ud-din Aibak. These cities are seen as the foundation of the vibrant culture of Delhi and its fascinating architecture, right from the 13th century till today.

"We ideated on one aspect of each of these cities, trying to connect them with contemporary Delhi. Like the building of Tughlaqabad Fort which was a huge mistake as there was no water supply in the area," Basu adds.

Tughlaqabad fort, the romantic dream of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq is named the fourth city in the film, while Feroze Shah Kotla, built by Feroze Shah Tughlaq and Sher Shah Suri`s Purana Quila are claimed to be the fifth and sixth cities respectively.

"The film is basically an attempt to connect today`s Delhi to the historic city which has reinvented itself eight times. It is an unconventional approach to show the city to the world," said Niret Alva, Chairman Miditech, which has produced the documentary.

The film includes inputs from people from various walks of life, who are closely associated with Delhi. It features an auto-driver Ramgopal, a Kuchipudi dancer, the Commandant of the President`s bodyguard and even the Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit who are a part of contemporary Delhi, making the city into what it is today.

The seventh city is Shahjehanabad, built by Shah Jahan, the markets in which satisfied every need of customers. This is compared to the various markets and shopping malls in today`s Delhi.

The historical India Gate built by Lutyens for the British, is named the last city, representing all the unsung heroes who have laid down their lives for this country.

The documentary, says its producers, attempts at recognising the current problems faced by the city and their solutions, like water crisis, green cover which has reduced pollution, wide roads and the metro railway which has facilitated transport.

Bureau Report