Cinema, Architecture and Domesticity: The Filmic House in Basu Chatterjee’s ‘Piya ka Ghar’
This paper explores the intersection of cinema and architecture to analyse the Filmic House in Hindi film Piya Ka Ghar (Dir. Basu Chatterjee, 1972). It deploys Environment-Behaviour Studies for film interpretation to make readings about the unique habitability and domesticity of chawls, a residential typology evolved in Bombay for communal living in a dense urban situation. The central premise of the film is constructed around the spatial anxieties faced by a young bride having grown up in a spacious village house when she arrives at her new marital home, a single room chawl tenement that is home to five other people besides her husband, and is always overrun by chawl friends. This marital house (or ‘The Home of the Beloved’, of the title) and its extreme utilisation of space is the source of her anxieties and impacts her behaviour. The lived space rendered in the film and its architectural mise-en-scene is found to communicate about the strategies of adaptation and possible reconciliation to a life in chawl. It also communicates nuanced meanings about the generally understood notions of domesticity such as home as a private and inner domain vis-à-vis the world outside by showing their fluidity in the context of chawl living.
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