India: hip-hop, source of inspiration in the slums
In Bombay, in the heart of one of the largest slums of Asia, against the backdrop for "Slumdog millionaire", the younger generation turns to American and hip hop breakdancing to escape their harsh reality. We follow Pankaj Shivpur, breakdancer, Akku, founder of the dance group SlumGods, and Ashish Kanoujiya, professional breakdancer and a dance contest judge.
The gods of the Indian slums
From Ramallah to Bombay and Dakar, hip hop continues to gain ground geographically. It is popular among all the young people living in slums, ghettos, and areas on the outskirts. This dance, born in the mid-70s in the Bronx, has crossed all borders. It offers free access to a culture where an official one is lacking, to those with little or no money, and who have the misfortune of not being born in the right place. Here in Bombay, youths have founded a group to better cope with their shabby daily circumstances, where they are often doomed to a life of brawls, alcohol and drugs. They have christened themselves the "gods of the slums». One of them, Akku, a student, may not actually end up doing his profession, but he knows that practising several times a week with 40 other youths in the team (Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore) is a challenge that he cannot lose.
Social revenge? Certainly but not only. The location they have chosen to perfect their style is somewhat emblematic: the ruins of an old fort which overlooks the whole town. They need to reclaim the space, assume their place. From his small room in the slums where he rehearses daily, Akku reaches for the heights. It has another point of view. Like his B.Boy friends (B stands for break), he already teaches younger people who watch and have ago at some of the dance figures. "These boys, as one of the founders says work very hard and you can see how much they train so they can improve. Some will say that they come from the slums, but for us, dancers, it doesn't really matter.»
What will they win? A small stamp here or there, a certain recognition, perhaps a small role in a Bollywood film. That's not what's important. What's important is dancing together, getting off the unsafe streets of their neighborhood, and make a naming for themselves, not by copying the American pioneers, but doing it in their own reality. Starting out dancing at home on his domino, black and white tiling, Akku now dances from the top of the city.