Short but Frank and Fearless Review of Film “Bombay Talkies”

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Poster of Film “Bombay Talkies”

To commemorate the completion of 100 years of Indian Cinema, four media favoured over hyped film makers made a compendium of four short films, each on a different subject, conjoined into one of two hour feature film named as “Bombay Talkies”. The short films are the creations of Karan Johar, Dibakar Bannerji, Zoya Akhtar and Anurag Kashyap, recently eulogized for their “Hat ke Film” concepts, but tom-tommed as the ‘100 year Celebration of Indian Cinema'.

Thanks God, the title is clear indication that it concerns “Bombay Films” popularly known as Bollywood. And yes all the four films justify sparing the “Indian Cinema” from embarrassment. Because according to me, cinema other than Bollywood, which is known as Regional Cinema is rich in standard, content and indeed “different” from the formula ridden, star dominated masala films. Thus while trying to dish out the flavour of Indian Cinema, the film makers further obfuscated the discerning audience (Media reviewers stopped to be critics, lest the publications refuse to publish for ‘duff denial’) in thinking that “Bombay Talkies” is what the progress the Indian Cinema has made in last 100 years.

Karan Johar Film

Suffice to say that it is a SICK film, story of sick minds and for sick persons.

If one wishes better terminology, call it ‘Gay Lesbian Bi-sexual Transvestite’ (GLBT) film. This is a film maker’s obsession with trans-sexuality.

Dibakar Bannerji Film

He perhaps indirectly wanted to show us the “Represssive and Suppressive” desires and struggle for survival of aspiring actors equally applicable to the aspiring film makers in Mumbai(Bollywood). To his credit must say the factual locations he selected to depict the characters.

Zoya Akhtar Film

Film is an instance of how to corrupt the innocence of the child by adult sermons replete with ‘Intellectual’ dialogues. Imagine the impressionable children following the “starry advice” of an Item Idol to do what their heart says ("Shaila Ki Jawani” no. with same sartorial). Lo and behold, the children become rebellion.

Anurag Kashyap Film

Blind Worshipping and Faith in powers of tinsel star has been prevalent for ages, but then today India has certainly advanced in education and Intellect. Star craze and senility, is there but in different form now. Charisma was there and is there in ‘darshan’ or shaking hands/rubbing shoulders, but not treating them with Godly power turning ‘Honey or Murabba’ as the life saver. Does the flag bearer of new breed of film maker wants to say that the Indian Cinema over the century has been nothing but a figment of superstitions and the height of star crazy Indians which has still to grow up? In olden days mass idol Suraiya, Madhubala, Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar Charisma was used often but more for commercial gain on ‘Products, shop names, publicity (on buckets, apparels, Paan-Beedi, Tea stalls etc.). There have been star fan clubs or even temples. Now a days super stars give hyped ads for a brand. Do we go and purchase the same blindly? Here the tinsel stars worshipped over the Almighty God.

Yes, all these human abnormalities do exist, but are the subjects to be glorified? The film “Bombay Talkies” represents such misplaced glorification of consequential human failings. Hundred years of Indian Cinema has got far more achievements than this factor. I thank the makers that at least they saved us by not using “Cuss Words” which is a hot trend for last few years.

Having said this I must also add that after the four film stories end, the real enjoyable song of Bollywood films’ collages down the years was more exhilarating and true to the 100 year history than the preceding films, although it blundered in confining itself only for the period 1949 onwards. What about the foundation year film glimpses from 1913-till 1948? I think the National Film archive material is still available for use.

The Last Word

If this film is supposed to be the true glimpse and scenario of Indian films in last years, then I must say that yes we have definitely progressed in the “Film Technique” but ruefully regressed in the “CONTENT”. For this bold statement I do not care if the other film critics call me a “Duffer” in film appreciation.

Written by: 

Mohan Siroya


Sir, I agree with you. These so called makers just got Lucky ! None can hold a candle to our film makers of yore. Is there anyone with the midas touch like Raj Kapoor, Bimal roy, B.R. Chopra, V. Shantaram, K.Asif, Nitin Bose, Satyjit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Mehboob Khan, Guru Dutt, Vijay anand, Yash Chopra and many others.... They all are in films due to one of the above names.
Dear Mohanji, I tend to agree with your review. My father, my wife and I saw the film. None of us liked it. AS you said, the song and dance sequence was the best part of the whole thing. We saw it in the 2nd week, and apart from 2 rows, the entire balcony and dress circle was empty. One was expecting some sort of historical perspective. There was none. Incidentally, the Tatasky people credited my account with the amount debited wrongly for the cooking show service. This was done in a couple of days snce your intervention. Once again, thanks a ton for your help. Warm regards Rajil

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