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Uti 1925

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Uti 1925

Snapshots of colonial life around Tamil Nadu, plus a visit to the Toda tribe

Amateur film 1925 15 mins


There's some odd juxtapositions in this amateur film, shot around the Tamil Nadu hill station of Udagamandalam (Uti according to the title of this film, but more commonly Ooty). Conventional colonial pursuits - a tiger hunt, horseracing, golf - and tourist images of waterfalls and landscapes rub shoulders with quasi-ethnographic shots of the Toda people in the 'mund' - hamlets of distinctive barrel-roofed houses - clustered across their Nilgiri plateau homeland. Without warning, the film then whisks us off to Egypt, with shots of Port Said and Aden.

The film was shot by amateur filmmaker Herbert Uzielli an official in the India Civil Service, based in Madras, from 1931 to 1940.