Past Tense


This documentary film explores the conflict between urban development and heritage conservation. With its 5,000-year history, India is dotted with historical landmarks and monuments.

Yet these are increasingly threatened by economic progress, especially in urban centers. What are the stakes, who are the people involved, and how can this struggle between the old and the new be resolved?

Past Tense looks at India’s capital Delhi, inhabited for over 1,000 years and home to 15 million people. The cash-strapped Archaeological Survey of India is forced to focus on the city’s three World Heritage sites, while smaller monuments get swamped by the pressures of a growing urban population.

The film also examines Hampi, the ruined capital of the powerful Vijaynagar Kingdom, which was on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage in Danger, and remains threatened by unplanned development and vandalism.


  • Duration: 28 min
  • Documentary short
  • Heritage conservation
  • Filmed in India
  • Premiered at Open Frame Film Festival

Karan Singh



Past Tense poster