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Neighbourhood: Fake Marriages for Real Homes

Trying to rent a flat in the biggest city in India - Mumbai, with more than twelve million inhabitants

In Mumbai, young couples struggle to rent a flat unless they are married. Nicole and Ajit, both in their mid 20s, met in Mumbai, the city of dreams. They began dreaming of wanting to live together. But as a couple not married to each other, the housing system does not allow them to find a flat to rent together. They decide to pose as an engaged couple, about to be married.

Among the 22 million people who get to call Mumbai home, those who are not in conventional heterosexual marriages are morally discredited and excluded from flat rentals. The housing system - represented in a hierarchy of estate agents, landlords, housing associations and elaborate committees of residents, subjects them to moral scrutiny and discriminates against them.

Recently, the Indian Supreme Court has ruled that an adult couple has a right to live together without marriage. However, society still refuses to accept this freedom of choice. This is filtered through a mass way of thinking - where marriage is considered the only socially acceptable norm for a man and woman to live together.

So, even in cosmopolitan Mumbai, couples who are not married, are forced to spin an elaborate web of deception - lie, pose as siblings, acquire fake marriage certificates, or just live separately, to hide themselves away. All this, to just exist, in this great, and vibrant metropolis.

Presented by Shirley Abraham.
Image: Composite by D8 Design Agency

Available now

27 minutes

Last on

Thu 2 Aug 2018 01:32GMT

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