The CCF Bioscope on Cities

About Nagari

The Nagari Film Competition is an annual competition designed to guide and develop films that focus on urban issues, specific to Indian cities. Nagari intends to be a bioscope for the city, and through this lens, we explore diverse urban conditions and engage with issues. Nagari is unique as it has been conceptualised as a guided exercise, with a panel of Mentors on board to help participants on their journey to creating a film.

These films can be made using different mediums, fictional and non-fictional narratives are both encouraged. The film can be live-action, animated, or a combination.

We recommend that all entries be submitted by teams led by 2 principal members. The teams can be multidisciplinary. We recommend that one member of the team must have some prior filmmaking experience. We appreciate collaborations but are open to projects where these may not be possible.

Nagari ReRuns

Nagari ReRuns is a public retrospective , showing the 10 short films that were made for the 2020 competition. The programme will consist of a screening, followed by discussion with the filmmakers, moderated by the Charles Correa Foundation team as a launch of Nagari 2021 — ‘People and Livelihoods’ in Indian cities. Read more here.

Nagari TV

Click the link above to go to our YouTube Channel to watch the films made through the Nagari 2020 Short Film Competition. These films address the question, How could one tell the story of housing adequacy in urban India?

theme 2021: People and Livelihoods in urban india

Photo: Rajesh Vora

“An equally important facet of the right to life is the right to livelihood because no person can live without the means of livelihood.” — Excerpt from the unanimous judgement of The Supreme Court of India in Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation, 1985.

This year, Nagari will address the subject of people and livelihoods in Indian cities. It will attempt to not only use film as a medium to narrate the issues, but really to expand an understanding of the subject and extend its representation and relevance in India.

‘Livelihood’ is based on the interdependencies that exist between economics, politics, society, and culture. Scope and substance of livelihood are determined by a country’s economic growth, but it must encompass fundamental requirements of existence as well as the right to perform those functions as labour and occupation. Dr B. R. Ambedkar wrote that the caste system is not merely a division of labour, but also a division of labourers and that economic reform cannot take place without a revision of the social arrangement.

A fifth of India’s population (21.9%, or approximately 363 million people) live below the poverty line. Of which, the rural poor account for nearly 260 million, and the urban poor 103 million. 

We have seen too that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an economic contraction in India. The number of poor people, with incomes of $2 or less a day, rose by at least 75 million. In the month of April 2020 alone, it is reported that 122 million lost their jobs. This is a 30% fall in employment from the previous year (2019). The scale of this livelihood crisis presents an opportunity to rethink the current means of livelihood and the economy. Understanding struggles for livelihood in Indian cities may reveal the structure and history of communities and occupations that have been marginalized and unreported through the function of labour and inadequate social representation. This nature of development seeks to limit those in the informal/unorganised margins of the economic spectrum.

Nagari 2021 will look at how the planning of cities shapes the lives of people trying to earn a livelihood. Thus the films could focus on individuals or groups within a city, or perhaps address a broader issue in a region, or across the nation.

Competition Brief: The Nagari Short Film Competition

The competition brief is out!

In 2021, keeping in mind restrictions due to COVID-19, participants may also work with found material and footage so long as IP and copyright laws are respected.

Registrations open

Registration closes 12:00 noon IST on Friday 13 August. Interested participants are required to fill the form and attach their CVs, a brief outline of the film script, and a note on the audio-visual treatment.

To Register for The Nagari Short Film Competition, click here.

For any queries, write to us at



Photo: Johnny Miller

In 2020, the Nagari Short Film Competition focussed on the question:

How could one tell the story of housing adequacy in urban India”?

India has the largest number of urban poor and landless people in the world. According to the 2011 census, approximately 13.75 million households, or approximately 65 – 70 million people, reside in urban slums. Homeless people, based on the 2011 census, are an additional 1.8 million. The numbers are staggering. In some cities, such as Mumbai, those residing in slums represent around 50% of its population. Housing, and more importantly adequate housing, is in a state of crisis in India – a case reinforced by the migrant exodus that we witnessed in Indian cities in March 2020, as a result of a national lockdown imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Housing adequacy was recognized as part of the right to an adequate standard of living in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in their report on ‘The Right to Adequate Housing’ have identified 7 elements that encompass the right to adequate housing. 

  1. Legal security of tenure: Regardless of the type of tenure, all persons should possess a degree of security of tenure which guarantees legal protection against forced eviction, harassment and other threats;
  2. Affordability: Personal or household financial costs associated with housing should not threaten or compromise the attainment and satisfaction of other basic needs (for example, food, education, access to health care);
  3. Habitability: Adequate housing should provide for elements such as adequate space, protection from cold, damp, heat, rain, wind or other threats to health, structural hazards, and disease vectors;
  4. Availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure: Housing is not adequate if its occupants do not have safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, energy for cooking, heating and lighting, sanitation and washing facilities, means of food storage, refuse disposal, etc;
  5. Accessibility: Housing is not adequate if the specific needs of disadvantaged and marginalized groups are not taken into account (such as the poor, people facing discrimination; persons with disabilities, victims of natural disasters);
  6. Location: Adequate housing must allow access to employment options, health-care services, schools, child-care centres and other social facilities and should not be built on polluted sites nor in immediate proximity to pollution sources;
  7. Cultural adequacy: Adequate housing should respect and take into account the expression of cultural identity and ways of life.

For further information:

Fact Sheet No. 21/Rev.1, The Right to Adequate Housing, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 
The Human Rights to Adequate Housing and Land in India: Report to the United Nations Human Rights Council for India’s Third Universal Periodic Review 
2011 Census 


Films by Charles Correa:

1955 Director, Scriptwriter, Animator, and Photographer for ‘You & Your Neighbourhood’, Correa’s Masters Thesis, MIT. Click here to watch

1975 Director and Scriptwriter for the documentary ‘City on the Water’, Films Division, Government of India. Click here to watch

1986 Scriptwriter for Audio-Visual ‘VISTARA: The Architecture of India’

1995 Scriptwriter and Director for Video ‘The Blessings of the Sky’

Blogs by CCF

You may read all our blogs, we write short essays about diverse architectural and urban phenomena here.

For aspiring participants in 2020, we recommend the following blogs:

  1. What is “the right to adequate housing”?
  2. A Bioscope on urban housing in India.

Nagari in the news

‘A New Script for Cities’
Ajit John, Herald Cafe Pg. 1, 25 September 2020

‘City on Reel’
Christine Machado, Navhind Times Pg 6, 6 October 2020

4 thoughts on “Nagari

  1. Dear Rob,

    Nagari is a colloquial term in a few north and west Indian languages which means “the city.”

    We thought a name like that would suit our theme of a bioscope on urban issues well.

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