Joined: 30 June 2011
When four of Hindi Film Industry's most distinctive directors come together to celeberate 100 years of Indian cinema and make 4 short films you know there's something special about it. The four films do not come together linearly and form a bigger story. All of these 4 films are as different as chalk and cheese and have completely different storylines. Let's discuss all these four films chronologically.
Karan Johar – Ajeeb Daastan Hai Yeh
Karan Johar finally makes you stand up and notice his talent. Where was this side of KJo all these years? He tackles the story of a gay man with utmost sincerity, aching honesty and humour. This results in a fine, crisp story of a married couple whose lives change forever when this particular gay man enters their lives. Karan goes out of his terrain and delves into an unexpected urban psyche and does it oh so well.
Rani Mukerji has always been a delight in serious roles and here she does her role full justice. Randeep Hooda does tremendously well too. He never goes out of character. But someone who makes you applaud his talent is Saqib Saleem who plays the bold role of a gay man convincingly. He needs to be applauded for signing on to do such a film so early in his career.
Bombay Talkies Movie Review
Dibakar Banerjee – Star
Dibakar teams up with Nawazuddin Siddiqui to adapt Satyajit Ray's short story 'Patol Babu, Film Star' into a lower middle class Mumbaiyya setting and delivers what is the best short film among the four. This is the most subtle and least biographical, yet it tugs at your heart unlike most films we see these days. Watch the talented powerhouse of talent, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, as he mimes into his daughter's and the viewers' hearts! A splendid effort indeed
The story takes place in one single day and finds Nawazuddin's character land up on a film set by pure luck. The fact that inspite of unfulfilled dreams and unrealized ambitions, he doesn't lose hope and tries to stay happy, is what makes this film so genuinely upbeat. Sadashiv Amarpukar delivers the best performance of all the 4 films. I am gladly he is finally getting his due!
Zoya Akhtar – Sheila Ki Jawaani
Zoya's story seems autobiographical because of the lovely sibling relationship portrayed in this film. This film is about a boy being obsessed with Katrina Kaif and wanting to be just like her! Of course, the father sees this as extremely unusual behaviour and tries to do everything he can to stop his son from cross-dressing. To make things magical, Katrina Kaif appears in a pleasing cameo.
The little boy who is the universe of the film is simply amazing. He goes about his acting duties with a genuine spunk and never misses a beat. Ranvir Shorey plays the mortified father. And what a brilliant performance by this very talented actor! The girl who plays the sister is very good and the sibling chemistry between the two kids is something to behold. This year has seen very good performances by child actors (Ek Thi Daayan mainly) and the two kids here do even better.
Anurag Kashyap – Murabba
Anurag Kashyap's involvement with Bombay Talkies got the other 3 directors on board. This story is partly autobiographical, as he traces the story of a man who comes to Mumbai from Allahabad just to meet Amitabh Bachchan. This was his father's last wish. This film tells the story of this man's struggles to meet Amitabh Bachchan when he finally arrives in Mumbai. It's filled with humorous anectodes and you root for him to meet the BIG B!
Vineet Singh gets the nuances just right and plays an Allahabadi with the correct tone throughout. Anurag needs to be given a pat on the back for entrusting the film on Vineet's capable shoulders. Vineet's presence makes the film so much better than the wafer thin story had you believe. Amitabh Bachchan makes a guest appearance and it's highly satisfying.
Conclusion: Catch this film because the 4 stories take you into their respective worlds, and they make you laugh, chuckle, ache, cry, anguish. This film shows how far India Cinema has come in these 100 years. It makes you and the Indian Film Industry proud. Behold as the magic unfolds on screen. Don't miss this film at any cost!
Bombay Talkies Review by Zayden
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May 03, 2013
Cast: Rani Mukherjee, Randeep Hooda, Saqib Saleem, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Naman Jain, Ranvir Shorey, Vineet Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan
Dirs: Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar & Anurag Kashyap
Two men shift nervously, seldom making eye contact, as they listen to a beggar girl at a railway station footbridge singing an old Lata Mangeshkar gem whose words seem to have particular significance in their unlikely situation. A father, determined to enthrall his bored daughter, narrates a story in mime, his energy palpable, his excitement contagious. A little boy, attired in his sister's dress and his mother's make-up and heels, shakes his hips to the beats of a popular dance number, blissfully nave to the likely reaction of his family. And a young out-of-towner is reduced to tears as he pleads earnestly to the security guards manning the gates of a superstar's home for one meeting with the legend. It's these images that linger in your mind long after you've watched Bombay Talkies, a charming omnibus of four short films that celebrate the centenary year of Indian cinema.
The stories, each roughly thirty minutes in duration, have no common link, except for a shared love and celebration of the movies. In Karan Johar's film, Rani Mukherjee and Randeep Hooda are an urban couple in a passionless marriage. A friendship with the new intern at her workplace (Saqib Saleem) leads to a disturbing revelation about Rani's relationship with her distant husband. Uncharacteristically mature for a film by Johar, and bristling with uncomfortable honesty, this story benefits from solid acting, sharp dialogue, and the fitting use of two evergreen music numbers. Despite its predictable resolution, the film is deeply affecting.
Dibakar Banerjee's film, based on a short story by Satyajit Ray, stars the terrific Nawazuddin Siddiqui as a one-time theatre actor and failed entrepreneur seeking a job – any job – in an unforgiving city. When he strays into a film shoot one day and lands a bit part, he has a life-changing epiphany. Banerjee's film subtly weaves in the magic of cinema and the dedication of an artiste, while setting the story in the ordinariness of everyday life. The director's strength is in capturing real moments and it's accentuated in this achingly beautiful narrative.
In Zoya Akhtar's story, a little boy (Naman Jain) finds his true calling in a darkened cinema hall, when he watches Katrina Kaif gyrate to Sheila ki jawaani. It's his indefinable connection to the actress that helps the boy understand that it's okay to chase his dream, however strange it may seem to everyone around him. Through this sweet story, Akhtar also extracts touching performances from the kid and his older sister.
Anurag Kashyap's ode to a cinematic legend ties up this omnibus neatly. His film is centered on a youth from Allahabad, Vijay (Vineet Kumar), seeking an audience with Amitabh Bachchan, determined to make the star taste his mother's murabba in a jar that he cradles carefully over days. Vijay camps outside Bachchan's house, just so he can fulfill his father's outlandish dream. Kashyap blends extraordinary comic touches with pathos, showing the love, the devotion reserved for a cinematic idol. And yet, here again, life plays an even bigger role than cinema, as seen in the film's interesting end.
You may have a favorite amongst the four stories, because yes, this is cinema, and it touches different chords in different individuals. But there's no denying that Bombay Talkies is a breath of fresh air – a wonderful gift to audiences on the 100th birthday of Indian cinema. I'm going with three and half out of five for Bombay Talkies. Through four consummate storytellers, we're reminded just how much the movies mean to us.
(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)
Joined: 30 June 2005
Bollywood hasn't given us a film anthology to be proud of, thus far. A few segments of I Am, Darna Mana Hai, its sequel Darna Zaroori Hai and Dus Kahaaniyan had meat, but neither film worked well as a package deal. Bombay Talkies gives us something to cheer about, its set of four films tautly constructed and well-told and tackling the same dual themes – the city of Bombay, and its film culture – yet each is different from the other.
Just the idea of four firm-footed contemporary filmmakers coming together on one film is reason to cheer, and Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee, Karan Johar and Anurag Kashyap make sure their collaborative effort is one helluva movie-watching experience. The directors give each film their all, not letting the limited runtime come in the way of constructing impactful and entertaining narratives, each smartly-scripted, well-acted and superbly-paced.
Of course, one film will always seem better than the other and Bombay Talkies gives you the opportunity to play favourites. And while each film's a charm, two absolutely stand out. Both, incidentally, come in the first half: Johar's film about a dysfunctional married couple and the outsider in their lives, and Banerjee's about an Average Joe who nurtures deep within the yearning to become an actor.
Johar's film is the perfect start to the series, the mix of humour, drama and romance setting the right tone. Each performance is wonderfully layered: two-film old Saqib Saleem makes a mark among more seasoned actors, Rani Mukherji and Randeep Hooda, both of who nail their characters. The best thing about Johar's film is that it comes together beautifully, with not a shot out of place and not a dialogue unnecessary, the last couple of minutes tying up the various knots tight.
The third film, by Akhtar, is about a young boy who finds himself wanting to be more like "Sheela", the moniker Bollywood actor Katrina Kaif earned after her raunchy item number in Tees Maar Khan. The fourth, by Kashyap, is about a boy from Allahabad who wants to fulfil his father's dying wish: sharing a murabba (sweet jam pickle) with his idol, Amitabh Bachchan.
Akhtar's film takes its time to get off the blocks but when it does it soars, and ends on a high. The relationship between the boy (Naman Jain) and his sister (Khushi Dubey) are among the anthology's more heart-warming moments. Kashyap's is laden with black humour and desi-cool elements that the director's now come to be associated with. Vineet Singh, who played a small part in Gangs of Wasseypur, fits the protagonist's role to a T. It was nice to see Sudhir Pandey, a regular in Hindi films till some years ago and who'd disappeared lately, in the role of Singh's father.
Nothing, though, beats the magic the duo of director Dibakar Banerjee and actor Nawazuddin pack in the twenty or so minutes allotted to them. The film's most memorable moment has Nawazuddin, who's landed the role of an extra on a film set, have an imaginary conversation with the character of a veteran actor (played by the one and only Sadashiv Amrapurkar) about the trials and tribulations that come with being a performing artist. The scene talks about staying true to your craft and approaching art with untiring honesty, both attributes that the film displays sufficiently.
Apart from a terribly put-together and completely disconnected song featuring film stars to bookend the film, Bombay Talkies doesn't strike a single dull note. Highly recommended.
By Aniruddha Guha on April 26 2013 10.12am
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