There’s a certain ignored artistry to manhole covers in New York City. Millions of people walk over thousands every day and pay no attention to what they look like or where they’re from or how they’re made. They come from all over the world, with one of the largest exporters of manhole covers being in Howrah, India. The methods they use there to forge these street caps seem to come from a different era. It’s so fascinating to watch the process and the stamps and the molten metal and the design and the the literal leg work required to make them.
Filmmaker Natasha Raheja traces the origin of New York City’s famous manhole covers back to Howrah, India. In her film, Cast in India, she goes inside one of Howrah’s factories to glimpse the people behind the covers’ creation.