City of Liberation by Bombay Atelier

Bombay Atelier’s aesthetic comes to life in the studio’s debut film produced by founder and creative director Farzin Adenwalla with Delhi-based filmmaker Abhilaash Sahu of Nudo Films.

Shehr-E-Nijaat or City of Liberation is a cinematic, minimalist short film inspired by the studio’s ‘Crow’ chair. Set within a bleak urban environment, the film follows a young man (Mujahid Habib, India’s pioneering national parkour champion and coincidentally, an architect) as he ventures around the city, experiencing an acute sense of isolation.

The studio weaves in several symbolic references to the crow, from the personication of a bird in the monologue, to the monochromatic treatment of the film, and the poetic movement of the protagonist through the contemporary garments, designed by Ujjwal Dubey of Antar Agni. “Crows are associated with possessing high intelligence, adaptability and resilience. Their unconventional beauty and observant nature” were just a few of the characteristics that made it an interesting choice for Farzin to explore from a design point of view. 

The film’s poetic, melancholic tone is driven by the soundtrack of a woman reciting an inner monologue in Urdu, written by Farzin, despite the central character being a man, referencing personal memories and experiences of living in a new city.

The architecture and locations in Delhi NCR were carefully selected for their characterless concrete and glass buildings that heighten the unwelcoming feeling. The shots were composed to capture cropped architectural views. “The challenge was to shoot vast, empty landscapes in which the character is the only human visible on screen. In one of the most populated cities in the world, filming was a challenge,” says Farzin.

Within creative industries, Bombay Atelier believes there is a need is to create and strengthen relationships across various media. The film was conceptualised in three stages by a small team working closely together to create a story that hopes to not only resonate with its audience, but foster cross-discipline collaborations.

Director & Co-Producer - Abhilaash Sahu
Creative Director, Script Writer & Co-Producer - Farzin Adenwalla
Athlete - Mujahid Habib
Director of Photography - Lokesh Khatri
Editors - Nikhil Yadav and Veer Supunya Devavrat
Clothing - Ujjwal Dubey

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