Bombay Talkies ~ Review

Bombay Talkies is a combination of four stories to make one film to commemorate 100 Years of Bollywood. Our Bollywood film reviewer, Faisal Saif provides the low-down on the story, performances, direction and music. Find out if it is one to watch or give a miss.

Bombay Talkies is a film commemorating 100 years of Bollywood. It features short segments created by India’s top directors today including, Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Anurag Kashyap.

Somewhere I read that this movie received a 5 Star rating and that made me even more curious to go and watch it. 5 Star ratings? Doesn’t a 5 Star rating means a perfect and a flawless film?

This particular review also noted for Anurag Kashyap’s segment that: “It could have done with a tighter grip over the narrative.”

It also pointed out overall that: “Long after each story ends we are left wondering what would happen to the vividly written characters. No, that’s not a good thing in this case.”

Ranbir Kapoor

Clearly then, Bombay Talkies has it’s flaws. But still a 5 Star? I am still unable to get my head around it. If Bombay Talkies had flaws, then why did it get a 5 Star rating?

How many stars does Mother India, Mughal-E-Azam, Pakeezah, Do Aankhen Barah Haath, Navrang, Do Bigha Zameen, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge and other unmentioned cinematic gems deserve?

Bombay Talkies is prepared by four short stories by four best Indian Film makers we have.

Karan Johar:

An urban couple (played by Randeep Hooda and Rani Mukherji) are happily married or at least it appear to be until the wife meets a new colleague (played by Saqib Saleem) at work which changes her life forever and all hell breaks loose.

The stories of all four short films are good but somewhere leaves a bad taste of negativity and sadness in your mouth. As far as a tribute to 100 years of Indian cinema goes, I am sorry but Indian cinema is full on entertainment.
The film has extraordinary performances by all the lead actors. This is the only factor that makes Bombay Talkies worth a watch.
All four directors extracted brilliant performances from the actors and tried to make a good film.
The camera work, editing and production value of the film is good and goes well with the flow of the script.
There is actually no scope for songs in such films. There are some songs but they are quite let down.
Bombay Talkies can only be recommended to people who are looking for some serious cinema. Review Scores by Faisal Saif

This story of the wife’s courage and boldness does remind you of something we have already seen in Karan Johar’s not-so-successful Kabhi Alvida Na Kehnaa. The story is shocking, but not a surprising one as Karan Johar has already experimented with this format earlier. Still, for the well-crafted and astonishing performances by all three characters, this one is worth a watch.

Dibakar Banerjee:

A failed actor (played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is struggling to make a living after his father’s death. All he stumbles upon is his last chance to prove himself to the world and more importantly, to his daughter.

This story really hits you hard and gives you wet eyes especially for brilliant and applause-worthy performances from Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Sadashiv Amrapurkar. This story is inspired by Satyajit Ray’s short story.

Zoya Akhtar:

A 12 year old boy (played by Naman Jain) from a middle-class family is inspired by film star Katrina Kaif to break the conventions of society and follow his dreams come what may. He is obsessed with Katrina Kaif’s dances and songs, and makes his father (played by Ranvir Shorey) worried and irritated.

This story reminds you of Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan and Sanjay Gupta’s long forgotten, Bipasha Basu starring Pankh. This one is good only for the child actor Naman Jain.

Anurag Kashyap:

A man from a small town in UP (played by Vineet Kumar) comes to Mumbai to fulfil his ailing father’s last wish which may also save his life. He desires to meet the superstar Amitabh Bachchan and will not give up at any cost.

The story is dragging and funny at the same time. It also gives you a pinch in your heart about the whole aura of Amitabh Bachchan and his home. The film again stands out for Vineet Kumar’s performance.

Yes, Bombay Talkies is a well-made film because as I mentioned, it has been made by India’s finest film makers. Bombay Talkies is serious cinema which may attract those people who shell out money to watch something different and vibrant.

But for the people (making up at least 75% of Indian movie goers) who look for the entertainment value, Bombay Talkies cannot be recommended from my side.

The makers claimed Bombay Talkies to be a tribute to the 100 years of Indian cinema. Tribute? If I try and analyse each story from Bombay Talkies, it gives me a negative feeling towards Indian cinema.

Indian audiences still go for films such as Rowdy Rathore, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Race, Munnabhai series, Golmaal series, Housefull series, Rajinikanth films, Salman Khan films, the list goes on and on. In such films, audiences get their paisa wasool (money’s worth) factor.

In comparison, Shahrukh Khan’s Om Shanti Om could be termed as a perfect tribute to 100 years of Indian cinema according to me.

I would like to repeat myself here, Bombay Talkies is a good film. But it does have it’s flaws and can be only recommended for a special, small sector of viewers who are looking for serious cinema.

P.S. Please don’t distribute 5 star ratings like chocolates and candy, my friends. You might need a reality film check!

Faisal Saif is our Bollywood film reviewer and Journalist from B-Town. He has huge passion for everything Bollywood and adores its magic on and off screen. His motto is to "Stand unique and tell Bollywood Stories in a Different Way."