Rating: 3.5/5 stars (Three And Half Stars)
Star cast: Randeep Hooda, Rani Mukerji, Saqib Saleem, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Naman Jain, Ranveer Shorey
Director: Anurag Kashyap, Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee
What’s Good: The overwhelming romanticism of cinema and its stars that majorly weighs heavy all through the film.
What’s Bad: The film despite being independent works of sheer geniuses suffers from one major flaw. Celebrating the centenary year of Indian cinema, the link and relevance to the larger picture is hard to decipher.
Loo break: None
Watch or Not?: Bombay Talkies in each of its story is indeed magnum opus. While these gently framed short films are individually the few most unbeatable concepts of recent times, the film’s major pitfall is that the stories have no thematic link or relevance to the overall rationale. Despite the glitches, the ensemble film is indeed a must watch for Karan Johar’s powerful story, Dibakar Banerjee’s minute detailing, Zoya Akhtar’s technical prowess and Anurag Kashyap’s splendid script; with special emphasis on phenomenal performances from Rani Mukerji and Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
A sexually repressed wife and her successful husband’s subtle marital discordance is exposed in the open when a young homosexual boy, befriends the lady at work. The story which follows henceforth is heart breaking-ly spectacular.
The second story heavily based on Satyajit Ray’s Patol Babu Filmstar is an emotional film where a man from a theatrical background, questions his caliber and aspirations. His motives are centered on becoming a hero for his little bedridden daughter whose only source of happiness is the stories of films her father narrates to her.
Zoya Akhtar’s film is perhaps the most relevant one of the lot. Battling an authoritarian parent, a small child is learning to nurture his dream of becoming Sheila from a world that emphasizes on a man’s need to be masculine.
The final story is a sweet little ode of a tale, where an ailing father send his son with Murabba from Allahabad to Mumbai , for Amitabh Bachchan. Dealing with India’s fixation with star mania, the film is a convincing plot that works on a multitude of metaphorical instances.
Bombay Talkies Review: Script Analysis
When there are four most talented new age film makers compiling an anthology film to celebrate a century of Indian cinema, it is natural for comparisons to arise. Personally, the most poignant story for me was Karan Johar’s. Dealing with the societal cringe on homosexuality, the film unravels how queer sexuality is mostly preferred hidden inside the closet of the social stamp of marriage. While the wife tries to pin point why isn’t she satiating enough for her husband, a young guy makes a married man realize his misplaced sexual tug. Working on a multitude of layers, this film is a standout for Karan Johar’s excessively honest plot; a rave quality the man often loses amidst the race for commercialism. This half an hour short film is by far Karan Johar’s best work!
Dibakar Banerjee’s film is an ultimate tribute to the genre of Ray’s cinema. Done meticulously, the film is almost replicable of Ray’s perfect sense of detailing, every nook and corner of the scene before it is translated on celluloid. This film scores mostly for Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s brilliant ability to lure the audience’s attention to the film’s centrifugal emotional point. Indeed the most riveting performance of the film that will compel a round of applause from you.
Zoya Akhtar’s story though lacks in luster, she makes up for it with her technical expertise. A tyrannical father forcing masculine tendencies into his son who wants to explore his sexuality latently dominates the story by enthusing the correct amount of fear. The child cannot simply fathom ‘Kyun Ladki Hone Mein Kya Burai Hai?’ Aspiring to become Sheila, the little boy’s happiness is in dancing to the steps of Katrina’s iconic song.
Anurag Kashyap exhibits his power to create a story out of most commonplace elements indeed makes him what he is. Centered on star power and hero worship, this story is unique for its ingenious dialogues. Written sharply, the story is about a man trying to get Amitabh Bachchan to eat Murabba.
Bombay Talkies Review: Star Performances
There aren’t many stars to talk about as the entire onus of the film is how the directors framed it. Yet, there are actors who have to be mentioned. Rani Mukerji has never looked more beautiful before. Despite the extra kilos she has acquired, she looks stunning. Gleaming like her brilliant old self, she emotes with her eyes conveying the tender feelings of wrath and satisfaction with very few verbal dialogues!
Nawazuddin Siddiqui subtly evokes sympathy and humor through his minimal stint of a role. He assuredly engrosses you in a story that carries the brand name of an Academy Award winning genius director.
Bombay Talkies Review: Direction, Music & Technical Aspects
The film has only one essential flaw. The mesmerizing romanticism gets over bearing and the synchronization of the films’ stories fails to converge into the main thematic premise. However, each short film is deemed excellent. It is hard to compare four story tellers of such different styles, my story pick would easily be Karan Johar’s. But an overall unbiased view suggests that it is Dibakar’s film that was the most wonderful piece of cinema in the compilation. With every element from cinematography to acting and editing, all mystically well blended, he catapults himself light years ahead, aiding his story well by casting a flawless actor like Siddiqui. Zoya’s film had a narrow plot and still her excellent artistic bent of mind managed to blossom the story well enough. Anurag Kashyap has immortalized Amitabh Bachchan in the most relatable plot of the lot. His unbeatable wit that reigns through the film makes its ending so endearing.
Bombay Talkies Review: The Last Word
Bombay Talkies is a novel concept, glistening with bravura short films. With the script predominating the film’s flavor, it is a sincere attempt to provide a Eulogy for Bollywood. The passion and craze for cinema in India dictates most part of the film. Here’s a piece of advice -Walk out of the hall before the 20 star song. The bromidic and hackneyed feeling it leaves by, spoils the entire beauty the film distinctively weaves all through. I am going with 3.5/5 for Bombay Talkies. It could have been way more entertaining, but overall it comes across as a perseverant effort!
Bombay Talkies Trailer
Bombay Talkies released on 3rd May, 2013.
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