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Mumbai in a museum

June 18, 2007

Where can you get the experience of traveling to Mumbai complete with the city’s smells, sounds and tastes without actually coming here? Well, a Dutch museum in Amsterdam called the Tropenmuseum is giving children an experience just like this…through a programme called the Bombay Star. As their site says:

Children discover Bombay in Amsterdam

The dynamic exhibition ‘Bombay Star’ immerses children and whoever else is interested in the Indian megacity of Bombay. In an experience lasting one and a half hours, the Bombay tour at Tropenmuseum Junior will plunge children into the life of the Indian metropolis, so rich in contrasts…..they will encounter the people of Bombay – from slum dwellers and incense makers to Bollywood stars, each with their own dreams, disappointments, successes and the ability to create something from nothing….the Bombay tour lets the people of Bombay tell their story – about their work, their families and their hopes for the future.

This has been made possible because of producer/directer Nameeta Premkumar Nair of Imagik Media. The exhibition started some time ago, in September 2006 and will be on for two and a half years.

This is something that the Tropenmuseum has been doing on a regular basis…every two and a half years a country is showcased in an “interactive style and authentic exhibits.”

During the construction of the museum, actual items from Mumbai from all over the city things were collected..items like plastic buckets, chai cups, idols, bindis, scales (from a raddiwaala) tyres (from a bicycle shop) wooden stalls from street vendors…and even hoardings and ofcourse…personal stories of different kinds of people.

And can you believe it – they have actually transported an autorickshaw, a taxi, a bhel puri stall, a 7 foot Ganesha idol and a compartment of a local train! Sounds were also recorded – street sounds, sounds on a railway platform, honking of cars, calls of street sellers…all this so that Mumbai can be recreated in a museum.

Thats not all though. The kids will do role-playing, cook ( bhelpuri and paani puri) and even learn how to make the dishes! They will also make things with their hands, get to ride in a Mumbai local and listen to real stories.

A music video has also been shot with a young girl (sung by Asha Bhonsale) which talks about dreaming big and making it in the city of Mumbai. The children become part of this video clip and perform to the beat of the song. This is captured on film and presented to the kids at the end of their musueum experience…so that they can take back the memory of the event.

Not surprising that after this experience the kids want to visit Mumbai huh?

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