The iconic Mumbai taxi was already on its way out before the apps started showing up. First introduced in the 1950s, the Premier Padmini, based on a licenced design from Fiat, is as much a symbol of Mumbai as vada-pav or the Gateway of India. It has turned up in umpteen films and songs and has evolved its own design aesthetic, complete with colourful stickers and carefully selected trinkets.
In this short from Grandmother India Design, Kurnal Rawat, Anand Tharaney and Sameer Tawde use the famous yellow-and-black to give a glimpse of this Mumbai icon that has been “echoed in the dreams of Bollywood [and] in the fantastic sticker art that refuses to burn out.”
The movie tells the story of Prince, one of the ubiquitous taxis that has seen it all. Prince makes its way through Mumbai's main roads and bylanes, ferrying families down Marine Drive and being witness to card tricks in shadowy parking lots, where the car is also used as a makeshift bed. Prince carries gods and flowers and even catches a glimpse of a flying compatriot on screen. And, appropriately enough, the film (spoiler alert) ends with the kaali-peeli being surrounded by radiocabs which escort it to the scrapheap. In ending this way, the film makers manage to tell a story that is as much about the city around it as the taxi itself.