The Cinemas Project visually traces the lives of Bombay’s disappearing single-screen cinema halls.

Once symbols of modernity, the relationship that many of these halls share with the city has changed significantly as colonial Bombay metamorphoses into an increasingly post-industrial Mumbai.

On the one hand, this collection of images is a repository of the architectural form and interior detail of these buildings that range from the classic to the idiosyncratic. These buildings seem to exist today in defiance of the generic aesthetic and cultural experience of the city’s new multiplexes.

However, to view these halls merely nostalgically — and to cast them off to history — would be to deny them a place in the present; our lived present that is in constant play with time past and pending.

As I explored these cinemas, which are simultaneously spaces of dwelling, labour and spectatorship, they revealed themselves to be sites of deep affective investment, traces of which are evident in every nook and corner.

— Zubin Pastakia was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 2009 Lens Culture International Exposure Awards.