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KING OF THE MARKET

Australia, 2001 (MIFF 2001, Australian Showcase )

Director: Mark Abicht

Siddique is embroiled in a dispute with his brother and former business associate over cash payments made in the dissolution of their partnership. Such friction is nothing new to Siddique, he is locally know as the 'King' of the Chore Bazaar, the famous Thieves Market' of Mumbai. The King solves all manner of conflicts that arise in the market community, usually in ingenious and sometimes sensational fashion.

The great old trading port once known as Bombay is at the frontline of a rapidly modernising economy with a huge population crammed onto an island the size of Manhattan In this heated environment, the special skills of an arbitrator, no matter how eccentric, are treasured. In his deliberations he will typically make investigations over months if necessary, never demanding payment for his services. In the course of his work he has been stabbed and even staged his own public hanging so as to save marriages or stop a riot.

This engaging documentary takes its audience down back alleys to investigate a closed world. The charismatic subject of the film is a larger than life figure who would be more at home in 1001 Arabian Nights than a modern metropolis.

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