Directed by: Anurag Kashyap
Produced by: Ashi Dua, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson
Cast: Rani Mukerji, Randeep Hooda, Saqib Saleem, Vineet Kumar Singh, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Naman Jain, Katrina Kaif, Amitabh Bachchan
Duration: 2 hours 8 minutes
Bollywood Bubble Rating: 4/5
As Bollywood Completes 100 Years , Four Prominent Filmmakers Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Bannerjee and Anurag Kashyap decided to make four quickies to mark the centennial of Indian Film industry.Immediately the point of interest was focussed on how each filmmaker would interpret the medium that has defined Indian popular culture for a hundred years.
Bombay Talkies makes it to the cinema halls today and springs no surprises at all. You get more or less what you expect.
Karan Johar, in the opening segment, stays put in his comfort zone,showcasing a perfect world, a good looking couple Gayatri (Rani Mukerji) and Dev (Randeep Hooda)TV news anchor comfortably settled in their married life. Gayatri entertainment supplement editor comes across a young intern at her office Avinash (Saqib Saleem)spunky gay rebel who soon befriends her and gets privy to her intimate details of her married life that’s now turned mundane and passionless. The ebullient homosexual Avinash in one meeting with Dev starts deciphering the reasons for the developing cracks in their marriage. Johar’s confused and abrasive lead character is a connoissuer and collector of vintage Hindi film music and has a room in his house, stacked with LPs and memorabilia. Here, he misses an opportunity to discover new love. Two of Lata Mangeshkar’s most popular and exquisite songs, Ajeeb dastan hai yeh and Lag jaa gale, accentuate the narrative.
Banerjee’s story—the most cinematic of all the films. Storytelling, cinematography, music, editing and acting are in meaningful synthesis.Adapting a Satyajit Ray story (Potol Babu), Bannerjee reveals a troubled past of Purandhar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and his mentor (Sadashiv Amrapurkar) which affects his present too. Hailing from a seedy chawl in Mumbai, Purandhar, chances upon a scene along with Ranbir Kapoor in a big Bollywood film as an extra. How within a few minutes of rehearsals, the filmmaker introduces a dream sequence with a dramatic confrontation between Purandhar and his mentor is what follows through the rest of the plot. Siddiqui lives in a chawl in Mumbai with his wife and a bedridden, depressed daughter. He tells her stories about Bollywood and Bollywood stars who he meets while trying to find work in the film industry.Nawazuddin Siddiqui is at the top of his form. The brief cameo of Sadashiv Amrapukar is extremely impactful and stays with you right till the end.
A special mention to the wide framing of the open space surrounded by urban skyscrapers which has the miniscule Nawaz rehearsing his bit role in the film and also the dramatic sequence of Nawaz and Amrapukar with the pet emu lurking quirkily at the backdrop.
Zoya Akhtar’s story, traces the story of a 12 year old kid Vicky (Naman Jain) who’s smitten by the latka-jhatkas Sheila – Katrina Kaif. He literally worships the actress and wants to be a dancer just like her. But his dreams always get severely rebuked by his stern father (Ranvir Shorey) who wants his son to behave like a boy and indulges him in playing football and cricket. Although the child actor plays his part splendidly but the inner turmoil and conflict doesn’t get dealt properly by Akhtar. The message too that the film wants to convey appears blurry.This is the weakest of the lot.
The last and the second most delightful of the lot is Anurag Kashyap’s tale of Murabba (Pickle). It can be called Kashyap’s homage to the blind star worship that happens in the Bollywood crazed Nation with the star of course being – Amitabh Bachchan. Vijay (Vineet Kumar Singh) from Allahabad takes on a journey to Mumbai to fulfill his aging father’s (Sudhir Pandey) last wish of sharing a murabba with his favourite star Amitabh Bachchan. What he considers to be a 2minute job turns into an unending mayhem. Anurag’s story stands strongly, the witty street slangs and the myriad emotions it portrays. The portions of Mr. Bachchan’s cameo and the subsequent turn of events really get you glued to the screens.
Bombay Talkies is not so much homage to 100 years completion of Indian cinema than the celebration of the varied genres of cinema. It celebrates the cinema frenzied fans of the nation in a befitting manner. With each story better than the other, Bombay Talkies is a sure shot watch.