Review: The year of the 100th birthday of Indian Cinema – the glorious century of films that have changed lives, given a positive meaning to some, a purpose to some and also made the audience think and reflect upon their lives – pretty much tailor-made for the audience. To celebrate the centenary year of the Hindi film industry comes a warm tribute put together by 4 talented directors – Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee and Zoya Akhtar who’ve all made films that looked at different aspects of the human life. Each story has a signature feeling about the filmmakers’ work in the past. A tribute to the motion pictures couldn’t have been any better than Bombay Talkies. And the answer lies in the way each story, although disconnected have been projected and executed by each actor on screen. Different emotions, feelings, issues, all that you know of happiness, sorrow and pain has been brought into this film in a nutshell. From an urban couple, to an aspiring actor, to a starstruck man from a small town, to a little boy who wishes to follow his dream that keeps him awake.
Known to show the bigger, glossier picture in each film of his, Karan Johar manages to keep it real in this short film about an urban couple coming to terms with their rather empty lives, tied down by their high-profile jobs as journalists, perhaps naming this distance between themselves as an occupational hazard. What unfolds is a shocking revelation which leaves the viewer feeling for the characters themselves. Randeep Hooda plays a newsreader for whom the ‘tabloid-lifestyle’ is nothing but mockery in the name of journalism – the latter happens to be his wife, Rani Mukerji’s profession. An intern (Saqib Saleem) at Rani Mukerji’s office changes her life forever. Not because she stepped out of her marriage but because her husband did so. It is of course a painful truth to fathom while trying to come to terms with it, but all the performances make it so much more worthwhile. Everyone’s seen Rani Mukerji grow into a graceful actress through the years, she brings the maturity of her role from Talaash into this film as well and bares it all (not literally) for the audience to watch. Randeep Hooda and Saqib Saleem as well fail to disappoint in their given roles. More so, the portrayal of a little girl who croons Lata Mangeshkar’s songs may just give you goosebumps, the subtlety is unmatched. Here’s Reason 1 for you to watch the film.
This story highlights the plight of a middle-class man who barely has enough to make ends meet and lives each day dreaming about making it in the film industry some day. What’s amazing is, the dreams that match many who come to Bombay (now Mumbai) city with the hope to get lucky some day. And it does happen – only that it is the role of an extra – and Nawazuddin Siddiqui finds it difficult to discern the truth since he has been basking in the glory of being a theater actor before he set foot in the city waiting for magic to touch him. The pursuit of his dreams is a complacent lie. However, the simplicity and honesty with which this common man prepares for his role is heart-warming wherein he sees and speaks with a figment of his imagination – a person he knew many years back, played by Sadashiv Amrapukar. What is bound to move you is the 2 minute silent portrayal of an entertaining day in Nawazuddin’s life where all you see is the man’s true emotions, that reflect in his eyes. And the purpose behind it. And the emu, his pet.
Zoya Akhtar may barely be two films old as a film director, but has proven her mettle the way she directed Luck By Chance and Zindagi Naa Milegi Dobaara with such impeccable finesse. This short story is about a father’s relationship with his children. It would be easy to relate to this story in many ways. The dreams you see as a child are often laughed at by the elders in the house. The protagonist, Naman Jain, a wonderful child-actor aims to be Katrina Kaif. The question that remains is how many people eventually realise their goals when they grow up. The only part I didn’t agree with too much was the male-female child disparity in the household.
“Amitji ko murabba khilana hai”. With a sole purpose in mind, a starstruck man from a small town comes to the city to meet his father’s role model, Amitabh Bachchan to fulfill the former’s dying wish. He goes through a rather painful yet learning experience to finally be able to meet the superstar, so much so, that you will deeply feel for the actor. Why was it relatable you may ask? Well, the umpteen starstruck people in the country have tried their luck at trying to meet their favorite actors who they’ve idolised. This story is one such example very finely directed by Anurag Kashyap.
If you love films, the direct yet meaningful ones from the yesteryears or the present-day formulaic entertainment, this film is a salute to all those stories that came and went, touching many hearts on the way. Join in to celebrate this ode to the beauty of Indian Cinema.