When it comes to architecture, most people would file India under 'religious' or 'historical'. The nation's most famous buildings are towering temples and monumental mosques, or fearsome fortresses and the curious hybrid buildings left behind by the British Raj. It is less well known that India underwent a construction explosion in the years between the first and second world wars, as wealthy Indians turned their backs on tradition and embraced their status as citizens of the new global age.

Like Miami, Mumbai's seafront is lined with iconic Art Deco apartments © Punit Paranjpe / Getty Images

Mumbai more than any other city became a playground for architects inspired by the French school of Art Deco, following the runaway success of the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris in 1925. Built over reclaimed land, the well-to-do neighbourhoods sprawling north from Mumbai's old colonial quarters of Fort and Colaba were filled in with rows of landmark Art Deco apartment buildings and iconic cinema halls that drew on the modern iconography of technology and the science fiction embodied by comic books such as Amazing Stories and Flash Gordon.

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