Movie: Bombay Talkies
Starring: Rani Mukerji, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Ranvir Shorey, Naman Jain, Vineet Kumar
Directed by: Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee, Anurag Kashyap
As cinema turns 100, 'Bombay Talkies' takes the acid test and passes with distinction. For three fourths of the film, there's rarely a moment when you're not entertained by the engaging performances and the magical storytelling.
What's it about?
'Bombay Talkies' is a collection of four short films made by four wildly different filmmakers (Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee, Anurag Kashyap). Cinema is the common theme that binds all these stories together, but they are all also movies about love (or the lack of it). In KJo's film, an entertainment journalist (Rani Mukerji) finds a friend in the new office intern (Saqib Saleem) and while her life seems perfect, her husband (Randeep Hooda) and her have no sexual chemistry anymore. Dibakar's film tells the tale of a loving father (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) struggling to find work, who stumbles past a film shoot and lands the part of an extra. In Zoya's story, a father (Ranvir Shorey) wants his little boy (Naman Jain, charming) to excel at football, while the latter harbours dreams of becoming as skilled a dancer as Katrina Kaif in 'Sheila Ki Jawaani'. Lastly, there's Anurag's tale of a loving son (Vineet Kumar) who travels from Allahabad to Mumbai in the hopes of meeting Amitabh Bachchan and fulfilling his dying father's last wish.
While Dibakar and Anurag play to their strengths (stark realism with a touch of whimsy) and are ably supported by their fine leading men (Nawazuddin, Vineet), the real surprise is Johar who chooses a familiar narrative, but steps square out of his comfort zone of glitzy sets, faux depictions of lower class folks (remember 'poor' Kajol in K3G?) and perfectly styled outfits. What we get instead is three brilliant actors, speaking a language and playing roles urban viewers will connect with. Zoya's story shows promise, but ends too abruptly for us to care for it long after we've left the theatre.
The real Achilles' heel of Bombay Talkies is the song 'Apna Bombay Talkies' that plays out before the ending credits roll. Even with all that star power, it's a hack job unworthy of this film.
What to do?
Watch 'Bombay Talkies' - a movie as varied, as enchanting and as entertaining as Indian cinema itself.
in.com rating: 4/5
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