What a unique way to celebrate the 100 years of Indian Cinema!!! Four of the most gifted writer-directors come together to give you a wholesome cinematic experience, titled “BOMBAY TALKIES”.
The combination stands out to be all the more sound because all the four writer-directors individually cater to different genres as per their respective takes on film makings are concerned and the four films thus focus on music, acting, dance and stardom respectively.
Here, you will get Karan Johar, the person who has gifted us with several commercial mainstream blockbusters with superstars like Shahrukh Khan & Kajol!!!
Then you have a Dibakar Banerjee, who had pleasantly surprised the audience with his previous release ‘Sanghaai’ which was a political thriller and also shocked us with his brutally bold “LSD”!!!
Thereafter comes the sensitive Zoya Akhtaar, who mesmerized us with here last release as a sole director “ZNMD”, the film not only achieved great commercial successes but also got critically applauded all over the globe.
Last but not the least, the GANGS OF WASSEYPUR & GULAAL man, the hard hitting and bold ‘Anurag Kashyap’!!!
The awesome foursome team must have decided amongst themselves that they won’t be catering to their specialized genres strictly and short films being ideal platform of experimentations Bombay Talkies came into being.
As a result, we got to see four truly ‘HATKE’ short films, which collectively would compel the audiences to introspect and also get engaged in deep soul searching.
First story (written and directed by Karan Johar) revolves around the complexities of subdued sexuality that silently but deeply exists in our so called ‘high class society’. Karan is nowadays getting much bolder and cinematically vocal regarding showcasing homosexuality and man to man sexuality in his movies. (Remember the characterization of the Dean / Rishi Kapoor in Student of the Year?)
Strong acting by Randeep Hooda and Rani Mukherjee. But the guy who stole the show was the newcomer Saqeeb Saleem, who played an isolated guy, whose sexuality (being a gay) has separated him from his own family. And this feeling of loneliness and social isolation evoked a destructive nature in him.
The unique usage of old Madan Mohan classics like ‘ajeeb daastan hain yeh’ and ‘lag ja galein’ demands a special mention here. But I somehow found this story to be a bit of misfit and odd feature out in Bombay Talkies.
Second Story (written and directed by Dibakar Banerjee) is an indirect adaptation of Satyajit Ray’s Bengali short story ‘Patal babu Filmstar’ (this story was also previously adopted for Bengali theatre by late Shri Ramprashad Banik). Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the protagonist simply excelled and after a long time, it was a pleasant experience to see a maestro like Sadashiv Amprapurkar get back to the silver screen with Bombay Talkies. Nikos Andritsakis’s cinematography doesn’t miss a single nuance in Nawaz’s sad yet hopeful, bleak yet bright existence. The sequence where Siddiqui washes clothes with the chawl’s women is savagely funny and poignant, as is his life-changing moment when Nawaz gets to perform one shot with Ranbir Kapoor. No we don’t see Ranbir, we just feel his presence, and we also hear filmmaker Reema Kagti giving orders from the directorial chair, but we don’t see her either.
Nawaz in Dibakar’s deft hands, takes his character through a journey of profoundly saddening self-discovery without any hint of self-pity. This segment is quirky funny and tragic. No one is allowed to feel sorry for Nawaz’s character. Not even Nawaz.
Third Story (written by Reema Kagti and directed by Zoya Akhtaar) proudly marked the introduction of an excellent child actor/artist Naman Jain.
Ranvir Shorey also has acted very well in the film but 8 years old Naman took everything to his little stride and overshadowed all others, featured in the film (including Katrina Kaif). Khushi Debey another child actor also acted brilliantly as Naman’s elder sister. Loved Vaibhabi Marchent’s choreography in this short film.
Fourth Story (written and directed by Anurag Kashyap) marked the poetic climax of Bombay Talkies. The protagonist Vineet Kumar Jain is a seasoned stage actor and completely justified his selection as the lead man in such a prestigious film. Sudhir Pandey was a treat to watch but it was the BIG B himself who lastly stole the entire show with his sheer charisma. How can a venture like Bombay Talkies be concluded without a glimpse of the emperor of Bollywood?
Thank you so much, Anurag for doing the needful and making Bombay Talkies a wholesome experience for the cinema lovers.
Anurag captures the sometimes-funny often-sad bustle around the Bachchan bungalow with warmth and affection. The segment certainly doesn’t lack in warmth. But it could have been done with a tighter grip over the narrative.
Amit Trivedi’s music and Swanand Kirkirey’s lyrics totally fitted with the cinematic theme of Bombay Talkies.
Thanks to Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Flying Unicorn Entertainment and Producer Aashi Dua for celebrating the 100th Year of Indian Cinema in such a grand way.
Review by Sanjib Banerjee
Image Credit: Google Images.