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Photographers Stefanie Zoche and Sabine Haubitz documented hybrid cinemas throughout South India
Scattered across India are architectural anomalies.
In some of the densest parts of cities like Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad, stand geometric modernist cinemas in rainbow colors, like something out of a children’s book.
Built between the 1950s and early 1980s, these hybrid modernist buildings — combining elements of European and Indian architecture — are the remnants of an optimistic period of change in India’s history.
“A building is a lot like the face of a person,” says Stefanie Zoche who, with her partner Sabine Haubitz, photographed cinemas in South India between 2011 and 2014. “If you watch it carefully, you can read a lot in it.”
And, indeed, the buildings speak to an intriguing history.
India‘s history with modernism can be traced back to the early days of Indian independence, when Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, commissioned French architect and city planner Le Corbusier to lay the master plan for Chandigarh, the newly conceived capital of Punjab and Haryana.
One of independent India’s earliest planned cities, it was meant to establish a new type of city to bring India into the future. It would become home to sprawling European-style piazzas and imposing Brutalist buildings, a far cry from the crowded streets, markets, and dense housing that had been the standard for city living. […]