Dharavi, Slum for Sale

Dharavi, Slum for Sale (CH/DE 2010, documentary, 79′)
Director, Cinematographer


The elephant has awoken. Bombay, India’s gateway to the West, has reinvented itself – and emerged as Mumbai, a modern, self-confident commercial metropolis. A magnet for the hopes of the rich and poor. But with thousands of migrants pouring in every day, half of its almost 20 million inhabitants is forced to live in slums, between the cracks of the official city.

The biggest of these slums is called Dharavi. With an estimated 800,000 inhabitants, it is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Once Dharavi was outside the city limits. Nowadays it’s at the heart of a constantly growing metropolis, flanked by traffic arteries and right next door to Mumbai’s new financial hub. The former marsh has turned into prime real estate – a playground for ambitious urban planning.

Ten years ago, US-trained architect Mukesh Mehta has come back to India to usher in a new turn in Mumbai’s slum rehabilitation policies. His formula is Public Private Partnership. Billions of Dollars could be made – if the responsibility for a radical makeover of Dharavi were to be put into the hands of private investors.

The government has been persuaded by Mehta’s vision and has appointed him as the consultant for the Dharavi Redevelopment Project. While thousands of families living and working in the slum are facing the threat of being evicted, Dharavi is becoming a test case. Not only for Mumbai or India, but for the future of the underprivileged of the entire world.

“Dharavi – Slum for Sale” follows the struggle on both the planner’s and the slum dwellers’ side to achieve their respective goals. While exploring differing perceptions of what development should focus on, it gives a first hand insight into the living conditions in one of the most surprising places in human society.




Director: Lutz Konermann
Writer: Rob Appleby
Assistant director: Farida Pacha
Director of photography: Lutz Konermann
Additional camera: Marcus Zaiser, Rob Appleby, Kamal Musale
Sound: Rob Appleby, Farida Pacha
Sound editing: Zentralton, Zürich
Sound mixing engineer: Tilo Busch
Editors: Stefan Kälin, Michael Schaerer
Commentary advisor: Martin Witz
Translations: Farida Pacha, Daniel Bitterli
Score: Dürbeck & Dohmen
Production manager: Karina Budliger
Co-Producer Germany: Helmut Weber / Tradewind Pictures
Producers Switzerland: Thomas Thümena, Christof Neracher / Hugofilm, Zürich


Mukesh Mehta
Rais Khan
Soni Shrivastava
Cyrus Guzder
Ranchhod Tank
Bhau Korde
Waqar Khan

Jockin Arputham
Sheela Patel

Nominated for Best Picture and for Audience Award, Solothurner Filmtage, 2010

In competition at the FIPA, Biarritz, 2010

Special Commendation of the Jury, Bollywood and Beyond Film Festival, Stuttgart, 2010:

“The film impresses with its choice of protagonists who are followed over a longer period of time as well as the outstanding camerawork and precise use of montage. Without being manipulative, it takes a stand. It is an informative as well as courageous documentary.”

Transguardi Jury Award

travel.cnn.com article by Elvis DSilva including interview with Lutz Konermann

Daily Times article by Imdad Hussain

polis blog article by Andrew Wade

One Response

  1. Change is more than a Dharavi solution | digitaltome
    Change is more than a Dharavi solution | digitaltome / 1-3-2014 / ·

    […] A good example is Lutz Konermann’s documentary film “Dharavi, slum for sale”: (Extract taken from http://lutzkonermann.com/dharavi-slum-for-sale/) […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.