Dear Cinema,
Balaji Maheshwar (India)

Sometimes I think about how cinema suspended me and my family from reality.

When I was 14, I took off from school to watch my favourite actor’s movie being filmed at an abandoned hotel. I can recall how exhilarated I felt when he glanced at me for just a second.

Was it the same feeling that made my grandfather leave home to become an actor? Was it the same feeling people had when they came home to take a photograph with him, a famous actor by then? Was it the same feeling that made my father struggle all his youth, only to make a fleeting appearance in a film? What creates this allure towards cinema?

Dear Cinema, became an exploration to understand myself and my family through cinema and its many worlds. The more I visited the cinema halls, the more I understood what it gave and what it took.


Balaji Maheshwar is a photographer and filmmaker from Chennai. He believes that his works are autobiographical in nature and that through his relationship with the outside world, he is able to observe and understand the self. The experience of having looked at death and loss closely and their repetition has made him look at life as one long tunnel through which we pass. Balaji was selected as one of the participants from Asia for the Angkor Photo Workshop, 2019 and was mentored by Antoine D’Agata and Sohrab Hura. His work was selected for Dhaka Doc Lab and Doc Edge Kolkata, 2023.