Saturday, May 4, 2013

Review on Bombay Talkies


Cast: Randeep Hooda, Rani Mukerji, Saqib Saleem, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Ranvir Shorey, Naman Jain, Vineet Kumar
Directors: Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap
IE Rating: ***1/2
One film. Four segments. And a great way to celebrate the centenary year of Indian cinema. Bombay Talkies is a film that gives you what all good films should: it has stories, it has emotion, and it has drama. It has people you want to know. You want to tap them on the shoulder, and ask, 'hey, you got a minute? Sit, talk to me.' Finally, Bombay Talkies fills you with hope. If Bollywood can make a film like this, then it must be doing something right.
The strong connection that runs through all four is the love of movies. A character derives a life lesson from an evergreen film song. Another embarks on a journey to his holy grail, a legendary superstar. A drifter has an epiphany on a surreal film set. And a little boy begins his own search for self, via his favourite film star: did I say this film was about the movies?
The most unexpected segment is the first, by Karan Johar. Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh is about a good looking but distant couple, the reason for which is revealed in a manner which takes the characters, and us, down a rocky, unsettling path. Rani Mukerji plays a tabloid journalist who favours low-cut blouses and cotton saris. Her husband (Randeep Hooda) is a TV presenter. Brash new entrant in this ménage (Saqib Saleem) is quick to pick on the thread of dissatisfaction in his pretty colleague and her strangely disinterested spouse. What follows is quick and impactful, and leads to an affecting use of one of the most haunting Hindi movie songs, whose beauty refuses to be tamped by a couple of contrivances. The acting is good, the lines razor sharp and sexually charged: if it hadn't been for those tiny lapses, this would have been flawless. This is a Johar we haven't seen before, minimalist and real, not baroque and make-believe. And hard -hitting as opposed to airhead-fluffy. Come make more such movies.

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