Tonight I went for a special screening of Bombay Talkies at this swanky little preview theatre in Santacruz called Lightbox. I went in curious and came out SO HAPPY. I don’t even know how to put into words how impressed I am with the quality of cinema I have witnessed tonight. And the fact that the mastermind producer behind it all is a 26-year-old girl, thrills me to no end. Ashi Dua, you’re a rockstar, and thank you for this film. xoxo
So just to let you know, I’ll be doing a full interview with her this weekend, but to give you the gist of it; while she was at film school in 2009 Ashi discovered that 2013 was the year Bollywood would celebrate its 100th year and she wanted to celebrate it somehow. That’s when she thought, hold on – why not just make a film? One that echoes the sentiments of everyone that loves Bollywood for all its hope, drama, dreams, desire, joy, pain, want, love & sorrow and allows us to celebrate the emotion of Indian cinema by taking us on a thought-provoking journey through the eyes of everyday people. Essentially telling us our own story. I have no doubt that everyone who watches this will relate to many of its characters because these are real people and I’m sure you’ve met them, heck you might even have been them.
In order to keep this review spoiler free I’m just going to highlight some of the things that I loved and caught my eye and that you should look out for too. But seriously, watch this film. It’ll only remind you why you love Bollywood so much, but it’ll do it in the most unexpected way.
Ashi explained that each director was told to have an element of actual Indian Cinema in their films and then they took the ball and ran…
Ok so Rani Mukerji has definitely put on some weight but I’m loving the visible freckles on her face! In his film, Karan Johar explores the angst of a tormented gay man with humor, brutal honesty and ache. Both Saqib Saleem and Randeep Hooda are brilliant in it. So is the little street girl, just for her innocence and simplicity. After watching it I kinda wish I too had a “special” room filled with gems from Bollywood’s greatest treasure trove – 100 years of haunting melodies. Also watch out for the hilarious dialogues like, “Galle Mein Mangalsutra, Aankhon Mein Kamasutra!”
PS. Do a spot poll with all your friends for fun before/after the movie, Madhuri or Sridevi? We had a good laugh with ours :)
The combination of Dibakar Banerjee‘s directorial genius and Nawazuddin Siddiqui gritty talent is solid gold. This is an adaptation of Satyajit Ray‘s short story Patol Babu, Film Star. Human ambition, unfulfilled dreams and undying hope in all its complexity, varnished with a coat of comedy. My favorite scene is in the silent courtyard where Nawazuddin hilariously mimics some of Bollywood’s most epic lines while a wardrobe hand naps at his desk nearby. Also, Sadashiv Amrapurkar‘s booming performance is unforgettable. Oh and there’s an awesome and unexpected pet!
The little boy in Zoya Akhtar‘s film just slays me. He’s just so darn cute! In her film Zoya explores the story of a school boy who is obsessed with and wants to be just like Sheila i.e. Katrina Kaif (who plays herself). It amazed me to learn that this is based on a real boy she met years ago and who’s bitter-sweet memory stayed with her. I love that she added some magic dust to her film with sparkly graphics and of course the theme itself. Ranvir Shorey is also superb as the middle-class father understandably mortified by his child’s obsession. He plays it just right though, without ever going overboard. And MAN, that kid!
Ashi revealed that this whole project gained momentum when she first discussed the idea with Anurag Kashyap and he immediately came on board. She smiled that, “he’s one of those people who’s always game to try these things!” Anurag’s film is an epic nod to the god-like obsession with Bollywood stars that makes this country tick. It is also a very fitting ode to the real Shahenshah of Bollywood – Amitabh Bachchan, who plays himself. (And I believe so does his actual watchman!) This film takes your heart on a wrenching journey and eventually drops it on the floor (from where you think it will never recover) only to sweep it back up in a swirl of irony. Sheer brilliance. I confess, I also loved the dialogue “Allahabad ka paanwalla bhi intellectual hota hai!” Mostly because I was born in Allahabad too (incase you didn’t know that!) And now I kind of want to eat a Murabba.
Again it’s amazing how each 25 minute film draws you in like only a full feature should but never overpowers you to the point of distraction from the next film. Like a perfectly crafted four course meal.
Unrelated to the four films is a big fat Bollywood finale with 20 B-Town heavy weights that we told you about, celebrating their love for Indian Cinema, the place that they call home – Apna Bombay Talkies! Guaranteed to put a smile on your face. I love that each of them had a theme hook of their own playing during the song (like My Desi Girl for Priyanka Chopra and Papu Can’t Dance Saala for Imran Khan.) They shot it at the recently restored Liberty Cinema and they did it with reckless abandon. Sure it’s a little silly, but that’s what we’ve been dining on for 10 decades and they would have been amiss to leave out the cheese platter completely.
Final word: You know I love Bollywood, if you love it too and want to see where the quality of Indian Cinema is headed through the eyes of four maverick directors, you simple HAVE to watch this movie. I liked it SO much I’m going again opening weekend with my whole crew :) and you should too. Happy Birthday 100th Bollywood, it’s time to have your cake and eat it too!