Bidesia in Bambai


Surabhi Sharma


Development support


Bidesia in Bambai is a story of music, migration and mobile phones. This film follows the plight of two ambitious singers in Mumbai who occupy extreme ends of the migrant worker's vibrant music scene, a taxi-driver chasing his first record deal and Kalpana, the star of the industry trying to get a break into Bollywood.

Long Synopsis

Bidesia is the one who leaves home.

Bambai is the Bhojpuri word for Mumbai. The Bhojpuri people belong to a region in North India that is amongst the most impoverished.

Most young men from the villages are absent, earning money elsewhere - making roads, constructing metros and building flyovers - in every city in the country. 

One in every four migrant in Mumbai is Bhojpuri. They bring with them their vibrant culture centered on music that is at times lyrical, often political and almost always bawdy.

My film is about music, migration and mobile phones. 

Migration is the predominant theme in the music, and the mobile phone is a recurring motif. Mobile phones are also used to circulate the music. And it’s the only way to stay connected to the mothers and wives back home in the village.

 This music is produced, distributed and consumed by the taxi drivers, sweat shop workers, courier boys and laundry men of the city. 

The migrant workers are pushed to the crumbling edges of the city. Their homes are deemed illegal. They have no identity as workers. They are rendered invisible.

My film tracks two singers who occupy the two extreme ends of the music industry:
 Pathak was a taxi driver who is trying to make it as a singer. Kalpana has been the reigning star of the industry for the past ten years. She is wildly popular. Her music blares through in taxis and autos, at construction sites and workshops. Their lives get linked because of the hyper drama of the city.