Urban Lab Films present the award-winning Cities of Sleep, a documentary displaying the tremendous social and political pressure that sleep exerts on the homeless in Delhi, where securing a safe sleeping spot can often become a question of life and death.
Taking us into the heady world of insurgent sleeper communities in India’s capital, the film trails the lives of two individuals. Shakeel, a young man who has spent seven years sleeping rough, is now having to deal with the “sleep mafia”—goons who capitalise on the scarcity of safe sleeping spaces in the absence of government safety nets. The film follows his attempts to secure a safe sleeping space as the infamous winter rains of Delhi are due.
We also meet Ranjeet, who runs a ‘sleep-cinema’ community under a huge double-storey iron bridge that straddles the banks of the Yamuna River. The thin strip of land houses shanty cinemas where over 400 homeless come and sleep through the day for a nominal price. The flooding of the river poses a threat to the people sleeping there every monsoon.