‘Bombay Talkies’ review: A befitting tribute to Indian Cinema!

‘Bombay Talkies’ review: A befitting tribute to Indian Cinema! Gayatri Sankar

“Akkad bakkad bambe bo Assi nabey purey sau/Sau sau baras ka hua Yeh khiladi na budha hua…”

The ‘Khiladi’ referred to here, is none but Indian Cinema, which was born in 1913. People from the fraternity have had their own ways to pay their odes to the 100 year old institution and have expressed pride to have been associated with the same, some way or the other.

And ‘Bombay Talkies’ is such a tribute – collectively put together on celluloid by Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar and Anurag Kashyap. Like many of us would have expected, ‘BT’ comes across as a unique genre of cinema, something that has perhaps never been seen before.

Nonetheless, the film does display its own share of glitches and meanders through various moments of agony and ecstasy. Here’s running through the four segments:

Karan Johar:

The film opens with a boy (Saqib Saleem) in his early twenties roughing up his father, who disapproves of his sexual orientation. In a bid to free himself from the clutches of societal norms, he breaks away from his family to earn his own livelihood. He works as an intern under Rani Mukerji, who is always at her sensuous best. She is married to a political analyst (Randeep Hooda) and shares a somewhat sombre marital relationship.

With this segment, Karan Johar has proved his mettle as a filmmaker. Unlike his other “commercial” and over-the-top ventures, ‘Bombay Talkies’ comes across as an excellent piece of art that revolves round the intricacies of complex relationships.

The track ‘Ajeeb Dastaan Hain Yeh’ and ‘Lag Ja Gale’ from classic Hindi films have been used as metaphors in this segment, and they talk volumes about the emotional connect between a song and its listener.

Kudos to KJo for pulling off a fine show along with actors par excellence- Rani Mukerji, Randeep Hooda and the very fresh Saqib Saleem. The dialogues are witty and very natural and so are the performances.

Dibakar Banerjee:

Those aspiring to be actors will certainly understand what an acting ka keeda can do to them. Powerhouse of talent, Nawazuddin Siddique, yet again proves that he is born to do nothing but act. Such is the aura of a man who is way beyond the conventional definition of a Bollywood star. A failed actor but a self-proclaimed “businessman”, Nawazuddin strives hard to find a job. His wife, daughter, his pet emu and a mediocre neighbourhood is what he has to call his own. And the segment unfolds all what an emotionally charged man can do to bring about a smile on the faces of his loved ones.

Dibakar and Nawazuddin make a deadly duo. They ought to make more films together to make the most of their profound talents. This part of the film throws light on the complexity that a man nurses in his heart, which stands in sharp contrast to practicality.

Zoya Akhtar:

Zoya Akhtar’s segment in ‘Bombay Talkies’ emphasises the need to believe in your dreams and do what your heart earnestly wishes for. Ranvir Shorey plays a strict father to a daughter and a son Vicky (Naman Jain). A concerned and a disciplinarian father that he is, Shorey wants his son to take up conventional recreation activities meant for boys. But Vicky dreams of becoming a dancer, and the one who inspires him to pursue his dream is Katrina Kaif. His virtual connect with his fairy-actress gives him the much needed courage to do what he wants to do- dance.

Zoya has done a commendable job and has been able to strike a deal with the virtual space a person travels in.

Naman is a gifted child and has shown great maturity in portraying a character like that of Vicky. The child star deserves a loud, thunderous applause.

Anurag Kashyap:

Do you know who a diehard fan is? If you don’t know, you may have a rendezvous with Vijay (Vineet Kumar), who travels miles to ask megastar Amitabh Bachchan to grab half a bit of a murabba made by his mother. And he does so, to fulfil his ailing father’s wish! But is it so easy to even catch a glimpse of a superstar? This segment is all about a man’s manic journey from his hometown to Bachchan’s abode in Mumbai and his ultimate wish- to make the legendary actor taste his murabba.

Anurag Kashyap unfolds the aura created by the sheer stardom of Amitabh Bachchan and the virtual relationship that diehard fans of his share with him. Kashyap is popular for producing realistic cinema and has succeeded yet again.

Vineet as Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan’s popular screen name) puts up an incredible performance.

All the four segments of the film are diverse in nature. Yet, there are certain junctures that could have been smoother and clearer. Though the film projects complex lives from different walks of life, it somewhere falls short of striking a deep emotional chord. However, the intense impact of cinema on the lives of people has been established with utmost perfection.