CITY OF PHOTOS (Nishta Jain). 60 minutes. Subtitled. Friday (May 12), 7:30 pm. Rating: NNN
In City Of Photos , director Nishta Jain focuses her attention on Calcutta's humble photo studios where ordinary people seek transformation. Homely single people, with the help of some Photoshopping, can suddenly become better-looking. (One studio guarantees marriage with just one photo!) One man, shunned by his girlfriend's parents, is content to get a doctored picture of the two of them together so their relationship is immortalized, at least on film. Some studios employ painted backdrops so people can get their picture taken in front of the Taj Mahal or even the WTC towers just as the planes are about to hit.
The result is a fascinating glimpse into the philosophical and even religious implications of photography, all couched in the complex world that is modern India.
Too bad Jain narrates the film in a pretentious second-person-singular voice. It's an arty, intrusive device that diffuses the film's power.