A Walk along the River

 
For this photographer from Kurla, the river and the buildings of Bandra Kurla Complex provide an easily accessible backdrop for shoots. If the river was clean, this would have been an ideal riverfront. Photograph/Gopal MS

For this photographer from Kurla, the river and the buildings of Bandra Kurla Complex provide an easily accessible backdrop for shoots. If the river was clean, this would have been an ideal riverfront. Photograph/Gopal MS

Gopal M S takes a stroll along Mumbai’s Mithi river and uncovers several stories around this polluted, yet populated water body.

"One of the biggest drains in Mumbai is actually a river."—Gopal MS

“One of the biggest drains in Mumbai is actually a river.”—Gopal MS

During the 26 July 2005 Mumbai deluge, many of us stood in neck-deep water and noticed a large water body that flowed through the heart of this city—the Mithi river. On that day, a sudden and unexpected amount of rain proved too much for the city’s drainage system to handle, leading to unprecedented destruction and loss of life. Following the incident, crores have been spent to clear up the bottlenecks in the river system to avoid a repeat of the incident, but life along the heavily populated banks of the river continues to remain the same. For instance, there are several economic activities that operate around these drains, which are still going on.

It is unfortunate that one of the biggest drains of Mumbai is actually a river. It was the many facets of this harsh reality that I wished to portray in my series.

The main runway of the Mumbai airport crosses the Mithi river. The next time you land in Mumbai, look outside your window and you can see the river snake below. Photograph/Gopal MS

The main runway of the Mumbai airport crosses the Mithi river. The next time you land in Mumbai, look outside your window and you can see the river snake below. Photograph/Gopal MS

Tips for Attempting a Similar Project

  • Wear a good pair of shoes, because there will be a lot of walking and exploring involved.
  • Read as much as you can about the area you wish to photograph. Talk to the local residents. Get the inside scoop. You may be able to make a more comprehensive photo series then.
  • Approach the subject with sensitivity and an open mind.
  • Besides the obvious, look for instances that may negate or look different from the area’s characteristic features.
  • Be prepared to wade through muck or face unpleasant environmental conditions while making such photographs. However, use them to your advantage to give the audience an idea of what the place is really like.
This is what you see on the river bed where the Mithi joins the sea. It drains nearly half of Mumbai’s inner suburbs and a lot of the plastic lands here. Photograph/Gopal MS

This is what you see on the river bed where the Mithi joins the sea. It drains nearly half of Mumbai’s inner suburbs and a lot of the plastic lands here. Photograph/Gopal MS

About Gopal MS

Gopal M S is a freelance photojournalist and writer based in Mumbai. When he is not working for magazines, he documents the streets of Mumbai through photographs and stories on his blog, mumbaipaused. blogspot.com

Tags: better photography, Gopal MS, july 2012, Mithi River, Mumbai, mumbaipaused, Photofeature, photographing Mithi river in Mumbai