"Calcutta" (1969)

Calcutta - Malle“Calcutta” is a snapshot of the city taken by Louis Malle in the late sixties. Not quite a documentary, but similar to one. For the first 20 minutes or so there is no narration at all, just shots of morning in the city, with men washing in the river. We get to see rich folks playing golf, very poor folks in slums with raw sewage running by their huts, lepers, Mother Teresa’s refuge for the very ill and poor, student demonstrations, religious ceremonies, a marriage, and much more.

At that time there were 8 million residents, and they mention that the projection is for 20 million in 30 years. (A quick bit of research says that the name of the city was officially changed to Kolkata in 2001, and population figures seem to vary; most reports seem to mention about 5 million in the city proper, with 13 million in the surrounding area).

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