This unique film is showing tonight on BBC4 10pm 14th September and on BBC iPlayer for the next month


Mumbai High The Musical (aka City Of Dreams-A Musical) is a dizzying and unique musical extravaganza.

Set in a school in Dharavi, Mumbai, the biggest slum in Asia, it combines observational footage of the children’s daily lives, with songs reflecting their hopes and dreams.

Fourteen year old Mary lives with her parents and two sisters on the pavement of a busy road.  They have a rudimentary shelter and they all sleep on the floor, sometimes with rats running over them. Mary and the other characters have their dreams and ambitions and believe they can achieve them through education.  They are clever, bright, motivated and they sing!

This is no ordinary documentary, this is the very first Bollywood style documentary musical.  Mixed in with the traditional observational footage of the school are specially composed and choreographed song and dance numbers which the children (and teachers!) perform with incredible skill and charm.  No film has ever been made like this, it’s a perfect way to capture the unbreakable optimism and exuberance of youth. But this is not a depressing examination of extreme poverty, it’s an uplifting celebration of human spirit and endeavour, and it sets out to tell a wider tale of India.


The Observer “Uniquely, this wonderful programme is really a ‘musical documentary’ about the life of Dharavi..Charming, uplifting, with great songs and dancing…A joy.”

The Times “This was the life-affirming surprise of the week”

Sunday Times “…the songs are seamlessly integrated and well performed…”

The Telegraph:  “…clever mix of documentary and musical offers not only a portrait of the street children at a school in Mumbai…the film moves seamlessly from dance scenes and songs reflecting the hopes and dreams of the people, to intimate footage of the street children talking about their lives and ambitions