Photographers are the new age storytellers and Instagram is their creative playground. Wild and uninhibited, young photographers are hitting the streets with a new perspective on stories, which is a refreshing change.
Yuvraj Khanna, a litigating lawyer and musician, whose unique photography project exploring Delhi took us all on a nostalgic trip in 2016, is back with a photo project to rediscover Mumbai.
Juxtaposing black and white photographs from the previous century with present day images, Yuvraj has unlocked a unique method of storytelling. Sharing his idea behind the project, Yuvraj said, "The Britishers called Bombay 'Urbs prima in Indis', meaning 'the first city of India'. It's safe to say that the first city of India is bound to be brimming with history and that is what I set out to capture."
Here's his photo story exploring the century-old Bombay and the present-day Mumbai as we know it, in a single frame.
The old black and white photograph showcases a row of vintage cars parked right next to the Gateway of India, during the pre-independence era. Now, the area is out of bounds for cars, and is strictly a pedestrian-only zone with barricades around the monument.
Long before the Khans and Kapoors, heroines from the Jewish community scorched the movie screens. This old photo was taken as Rose Ezra, a famous actress from the 1930s shot an advertisement for a Packard Car in front of the gateway.
A lone electric tram crosses the Mumbai Municipal Corporation in the early 1900s. The tram service eventually came to a halt in 1964, but now the authorities in Mumbai are exploring the idea of bringing this famed means of transport back on to city roads.
Bullock carts, caravans and even horse-run tram cars were a usual sight in Mumbai during the 1880s. Modern-day Mumbaikars are unfamiliar with the concept of a horse-run tram car, in which two horses pull a small open air tram-like structure, transporting scores of people at the same time.
The black and white photo shows an old statute of King Edward VI on a horse, as it stood in the early 1900s. The name of the neighbourhood, Kala Ghoda, comes from here. While the name lingered on much after the removal of the old statute in the 60s, the black horse was restored earlier in January 2017, without the statue of King Edward.
The Gateway of India in the 1950s was not the crowded place that it is today. In fact, it was even quiet enough to enjoy an afternoon siesta!
Snake charmers would set up shop in front of the Gateway of India in the early 1900s, but now pigeons have taken over the tract of land.
From 1910 to 2016, tourists' excitement to pose in front of CST for pictures hasn't changed. You won't see any caravans or bullock carts on the streets anymore, though.
This old photograph shows a protest in front of Town Hall in the British Era.
This postcard issued pre-independence shows the Municipal Corporation Building in the 1950s without the statue of Pherozeshah Mehta, which was built later, and the tasteless ventilation shafts that have been installed by the authorities right in front of the heritage structure today.
"While we do see a lot of ‘before and after’ photos, there was no body of work that in a single frame captured how Mumbai has changed with time and therefrom, stemmed the idea of this project," Yuvraj shared.
Sifting through hundreds of photographs on the internet, it took the photographer months to weave a story from the shortlisted photographs. After multiple visits to these landmarks and thorough research, the magic stories finally began to surface. The idea was to make Mumbai a little more familiar to all of us and these pictures of the city are indeed revelations, even for Mumbaikars.
About the photographer:
Yuvraj is a lawyer and a musician with the band, Chaos in the Capital. He started with a basic digital camera in 2009 and thereafter, learnt the basics of photography on a manual SLR camera appreciating the value of film. Today, he uses use a Canon 600D and takes his camera everywhere he travels to capture his own version of the places he visits.
Follow his work on Instagram: @yuv.sees.