Spoken Word City is a new series within Visual Narratives—meant to replenish itself at frequent intervals, cumulatively painting a vivid, truthful portrait of the world and these sprawling, mythical entities within which we’ve come to write our life stories.

Fittingly, the first address in this campaign is this magazine’s eponymous city. Bombay. Mumbai. Bambai. A city of many names but one riotous heartbeat.

Through young videographer Shadab Khan’s gaze, Bombay becomes many things—a confidante; a traitor; a harbinger of dreams; a keeper of secrets; a city of church bells and piercing azaan; the city by the sea; the city that always dreams. Khan forays into the different landscapes, districts, and territories that have come to prosper across this city of seven islands—from the quaint, winding bylanes of Khotachiwadi and the bronze and copper clamour of Chor Bazaar, to the art deco freeze frames of Ballard Estate and the leafy enigmas of Bandra.

Ultimately, Khan’s three-and-a-half-minute video journey is a story of human beings—the lovers, siblings, shopkeepers, Roadside Romeos, ancestors, café owners, bystanders, and émigrés who each—in their own way—call this befuddling metropolis home.

Siddharth Dasgupta
The Bombay Literary Magazine

Spoken City: Bombay

This video contains song clips or sound samples of—

  1. ‘Yeh Hai Bambai Meri Jaan’/ O.P. Nayyar; Sung by Mohammed Rafi & Geeta Dutt (1956)
  2. ‘Jeene Mein Aaye Maza’/ Ankur Tewari & Mikey McCleary (2019)
  3. ‘Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh’/ Shankar Jaikishan; Sung by Lata Mangeshkar (1960)


Shadab Khan

Even after obtaining his Masters in organic chemistry, Shadab Khan’s heart lies in following his passion—which is capturing his city and its people. He has worked with renowned names and pages of Mumbai, and has had the privilege of broadcasting these streets through his perspective and aesthetic. You’ll find Shadab on Instagram as @thekhanstories

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