Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bombay Talkies

This is not a review. These are just my views of the anthology film.

(Contains spoilers.)

I enjoyed Bombay Talkies. I carried the film back with me after I walked out of the movie hall. I discussed it with various people and finally decided to write about it.

Karan Johar’s Ajeeb daastan hai ye It began with a bang; in a very non Karan Johar way; with a beginning that would shake you up and makes you sit up and watch. Touching up on the sensitive topic of homosexuality he gave us a very intense audacious film to mull about. Astute and poignant relationships coupled with brilliant acting by Rani Mukherjee, Randeep Hooda and Saqib Saleem.

Saqib, constantly reinforcing the fact that he is gay to everyone he met, with a need to rebel against the system and Randeep trying to conceal his sexuality preference and the fight with himself; the conflict of mind they both go through; the undercurrent attraction and passion – it was all brilliantly portrayed. Rani too was fierce and superb

Except for a couple of sleazy dialogues - gale me mangalsutra, aankho me kamasutra – (said by a fresher to a boss just did not make sense), there were some very witty one-liners. The songs (Ajeeb Daastan hai ye and lag ja gale) were aptly used to augment the film.

Dibakar Banerjee’s Star – If you have read Ray’s Patol Babu filmstar you would agree that it is not an easy story to be made into a film. And that was my apprehension when the film began. But Nawazuddin Siddiqui was spectacular. It’s always a pleasure watching him act and he did a perfect Patol Babu.

I thought that Nawazuddin could have done a better job with the Marathi dialogues. Somewhere I felt they lacked the clout. Sadashiv Amrapurkar was brilliant, just brilliant. Seriously, he was awesomely brilliant.

The cameo by the emu was a true feel good. And as I write this; just the thought of the final shot by Nawazuddin, silently enacting the day’s story to his daughter, against the melancholic tune by Tagore; modified by Banerjee is giving me goose-bumps.

For those who haven't read Patol Babu Filmstar do read the story here. (english translation)


Zoya Akhtar’s Sheela ki JawaaniThe film began with numerous kids saying what they want to be when they grow up. So I thought it was about kids and their dreams.

Then there was this child who had no interest in football but yet he was being forced by his father to play the game since it was a very ‘guy thing’. This led me to believe that the movie was about wrong parenting. The boy then started showing interest in his mother’s makeup and jewellery and dressing up like a woman. So I said to my self, “Oh this is a LGBT story”.

And then the boy started showing keen interest in dance and wanted to be Katrina Kaif (The movie also has a fairy Katrina Kaif giving advice to the boy about hiding his dreams till others are ready to accept them). Then he began helping his sister to make some money by dancing to Sheela ki javaani so that she could go for a school trip. And I thought, “Ah this is about sibling love.”

 Somewhere the film confused me. I couldn’t gauge what message Akhtar was trying to give us. It also ended very abruptly.

The high point of the film was the acting capabilities of both the kids, especially the boy. It sure was a difficult role to act.

Anurag Kashyap’s MurabbaThe initial dialogue where the father conveys to his son Vijay to get a solitary murabba tasted by Amitabh Bachchan so that he can then eat it – as his last wish, was enough for me to know that I had already fallen in love with the film. That, followed by the Bachchan song made it sure for me.

The entire quest by the son to get the murabba tasted by Amitabh Bachchan; the struggle and the anxiety he goes through for it was brilliant. Vineet Kumar Singh has amazing acting skills. A cameo by Amitabh Bachchan is always welcome. Don’t we all just love his mere presense on the screen?

I loved, LOVED, L.O.V.E.D. the Bachchan song.

Somewhere being a supper sucker for anticlimax I would have liked the movie to end where the jar falls off and the murabba gets stamped upon. BANG! That’s it! But well.

The tagline Achaar ke martabaan me murabba nahi rahte failed to impress me.


The anthology film ends with star studded song celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema. It did not feature Salman Khan; Hence I refuse to talk about the song.




  1. Tsk tsk, did touch a nerve there, hmm? The Salman Khan omission?

    I thought Anurag Kashyap's movie was a lot more one-dimensional by his standards. I guess he wanted to do something different, just like Karan Johar. There were a few cliches, and I'm not really obsessed about murabbas.

    Zoya Akhtar, as always, was a hard trier. She has her limitations, and did not try to outdo the rest of the quartet. She tried something different, and, well, okay, didn't do too badly. I wonder why she was picked ahead of Rajkumar Hirani, though.

    I loved Dibakar Banerjee's segment. I'm discounting the excellent performances and the brilliant adaptation (I did not get Nawaz's Marathi accent - I guess it requires a Marathi to get it). I would like to bring to your notice two brilliant shots: the single-take where Nawaz rehearses, and the remote-controlled car coming into the orbit of the larger, faster cars and returning to safety - which was such a good representation of Nawaz's personal life. And then, there was the emu.

    Which brings us back to Karan Johar. I loved the jolt at the beginning, the catchy one-liners, the brilliant use of Rani Mukherji, the subtle application of Bollywood music, the claustrophobia generated by the circumstances - everything was so non-Karan Joharish that it took me by surprise. That was my whole point - Anurag or Dibakar did not surprise me. Karan Johar did.

  2. Great views...u piqued my interest...i may watch it after all.

  3. Really liked the film.
    Karan Johar was very good. Just didnt like the opening shot as it seemed like seeing the real shooting. A frame or two if would have been edited right in the beginning of the shot, it would have made the shake of the hand camera transition better. Rani was brilliant as usual.

    Zoya Akhtar was a huge dissapointment. Really didnt understand the message as well. Didnt like the film at all

    Dibakar Banerjee was brilliant. Loved the last shot with muted dialogues and the tune of Tagore's "Tobu mone rekho" playing in its signature melancholic way. However didnt understand the Emu in the film, thought that all the Marathi dialogues should have had a English subtitle (only a couple of the dialogues had subtitles), and the biggest area of improvement - "Ayei" the cynosure of the film should have been performed better while filming in the film. Expected a better job from Nawaz.

    Anurag Kashyap was good. The only film that captured the fanaticism for Bombay alias Mumbai alias Bollywood. The struggle was so well and so pleasantly portrayed. Amitji did a straight faced - twinkle in the eye - I am ultimately the King type cameo - and he still ROCKS!

    Would have liked to see a few more Directors creation in this collection - Shyam Benegal, Rajkumar Hirani and Vishal Bharadwaj.


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