The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) in Mumbai is a multifaceted building—a station for suburban and long-distance trains, a 'living' UNESCO World Heritage Site, a source of livelihood for scores of people, a visual icon of the city. This documentary delves into CSMT's history, architecture and conservation, and tells the stories of the people who keep the station running.
The first rail journey in Asia in 1853 started from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (then Victoria Terminus). It is among the few UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are living, and according to the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation the Terminus is used by approx 6.4 lakh people everyday. Rahul Mehrotra, architect and educator, points out that as Bombay was a landing port, the Terminus was built 'to not only represent power, therefore it was built at a decibel level in terms of scale, but it was also to impress the incoming troops...This was the true gateway to India because this is where anyone arriving, if their destination wasn't Mumbai and had to go anywhere in the country, went through the VT.'
Construction began in 1878 and lasted till 1888. Vikas Dilawari, conservation architect, says that the VT 'introduces the dome for the first time on the Mumbai skyline...not many domes are seen on Gothic Revival buidlings, so this is a unique example of its kind'. Christopher W. London, architectural historian, says the choice of the statue of Progress atop the monument was 'incredibly appropriate as the Railways represented an intellectual, engineering and social progress in the 19th century', that was similar to the interconnectedness we get from the internet today.
A Sahapedia production
With the support of Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation
Direction, Production, Research & Script: Subuhi Jiwani
Camera: Rahul Prakash
Additional camera (Mumbai): Malavika Mandalappa, Bernd Lützeler, Subuhi Jiwani
Additional camera (New York): Matt Lipke
Editing: Subuhi Jiwani, Dhaval Gohil, Shashi Yadav
Sound Design: Girish Talpade
Narration: Pooja Das Sarkar
'Acoustic Breeze', 'Better Days', 'November' & 'Tomorrow' by BENSOUND
Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported — CC BY 3.0
'Fall' & 'Memory' by J P Lukini (Adictum Free Music)
Music provided by Free Music JPL: youtube.com/c/FreeMusicJPL
Creative Commons — Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
'Creation' and 'Inspirational Piano Music' by Ross Budgen
Creative Commons — Attribution 4.0 International — CC BY 4.0
'Chasing Smoke' by Fair Vienna
Special Thanks: Narendra A. Patil, CPRO Central Railway, Vinit Kumar, Uma Ranade, A.K. Singh, Michael Manuel Raj, Kersi Treasurywala, Rusheed Wadia, Bernd Lützeler, Neil Bhatkal, Bhagwati Sagathia, Timonthy Gaikwad & everyone in the film.
For more information on this historic space, explore the articles, image galleries and interviews in our specially curated module on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (www.sahapedia.org/chhatrapati-shivaji-terminus-mumbai)