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BGSU Common Experience 2015-16: Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Resources and Media

A collection of resources about the 2015-16 Common Experience book selection "Behind the Beautiful Forevers"

21st Century Mumbai

Beyond the Beautiful Forevers primarily focuses on those living in the slums, but there is another side to Mumbai, one of beauty, growth, and first-world modernization.    


Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, India-720p

A good place to begin looking at the thriving side of Mumbai is to observe the airport that acts as a contact zone in the book. The following remarkable video documents the development of Mumbai’s incredible $2 billion dollar airport.


The Eastern Mumbai District

This video demonstrates Mumbai’s economic growth as an advanced modern city with a consideration to infrastructure challenges.


India Rising

This in-depth program documents India’s development and struggles as a modernized nation in the world economy.


Sites of Mumbai: Must See

This short tour takes viewers to some of the many impressive Mumbai landmarks.


Mumbai Documentary (the spirited city)

 Viewers are giving a guided tour through Mumbai as the video explores landmarks, transportation, food, history, culture, and the various districts that make up the city.

Navrati Festival

Chapter 12, The Nine Nights of Dance, highlights a festive time of worship to the Goddess Durga. This is also a festive time of food, dance, and flirting. The following videos may help readers better visualize and understand the importance this festival to the Annawadians.


Navratri-Festival of Nine Nights

This video discusses the Navrati history, customs, and religious and social purposes.


Kakad Estate Navratri-2014. Kakad U: Th[e] Group Dance Performance

Watch a group of Navratri dancers perform.

Trash Collecting

Slum Work=Recycling in Dharavi, Mumbai, India

This video demonstrates the tedious and low paying process of sorting recyclables from a seemingly never-ending pile of trash.


Mumbai Slum Dwellers Turn Rubbish Into Small Fortunes

A look at how the slum dwellers operate in a market revolving around trash.


Russell Brand Shares His Amazing Experience of Visiting A Slum in Mumbai, India

This humorous and insightful video aims at demonstrating a moral code that goes beyond monetary gain, even in a poverty stricken slum.


India: Young Girl Documents Slum Life

This is the unique story of an influential slum dweller turned social activist. Even more amazing, she’s only eleven years old.

Slums in America

Behind the Beautiful Forevers grants readers access to the India’s Annawadi slums, which can seem far removed from the American landscape; however, Katherine Boo’s Author’s Note mentions similar disparity and poverty in places such as Washington D.C and New York City. The following links provide an observation of slum conditions on American soil.


The Resurrection of America’s Slums


Slums of Detroit: A Look at the Heart of America’s 2nd Most Deserted Secret


US: A Home in the Colonias


The Challenge of the Slums: Urban/Slum Health Implications

This video offers a lengthy discussion into documenting and reaching for approaches to tackle slum health conditions.


Cincinnati, Ohio Slums 1930’s

This collection of slides demonstrates that slum conditions have long existed on American soil.


Camden, NJ. The Poorest City in the US

Similar to the disparity between wealth and poverty in Mumbai, Camden juxtaposes some of America’s wealthiest and poorest citizens in close proximity.


36 Hours in Camden, NJ

The author asks viewers to see what it’s like to spend 36 hours in an American slum overrun by poverty, drugs, and violence.


Rio Grande Valley Colonias Pt. 1 and Pt. 2

Hidalgo County, USA is home to one of the largest slums in the world. This two part series explores some of the challenges these slum residents face.


Myths, stereotypes, urban legends of Texas Colonias

Oscar J. Munoz leads the audience through an introspective look at the “American Dream” and breaks down some of the misconceptions about one of the largest slum populations in the world--U.S. Colonias.

Social Castes and Slums

Indian Caste System

One person’s observation of the troubles those in India’s lower caste face.


Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

Random House offers this video as a visual trailer to Boo’s book. Viewers can get a geographical sense of Annawadi and even catch a glimpse at a few of the interviewees in the book.


Slums in Mumbai

A collection of slides from Mumbai slums


The Behind the Beautiful Forevers theatrical production ran from November 10, 2014 – May 5, 2015 at Oliver Theatre in South Bank London. For more information, click on the following links:


National Theatre: Behind the Beautiful Forevers

This site contains a wide array of information about the play, including a trailer, photo galleries, and a short documentary.


Rufus Norris & Meera syal on Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Norris and Syal discuss the process of how Boo’s book became a play and the interpretations that fueled the production.