Monday, May 30, 2005

Mad About Movies: Bombay

I wrote the following article for a series about movies. It was never sent! I am reproducing the same here:

The beauty of ManiRatnam’s trilogy of ‘Roja’, ’Bombay’ and ‘Dil Se..’ is the timelessness of these films. Unless until this country solves the Kashmir, Ayodhya and Assam issues, the three films (in the respective order) will continue to remain pertinent to every Indian, not only as a movie-goer (or just for the sake of cinematic appreciation) but also as a citizen who cares and has an opinion about these issues.

I watched ‘Bombay’ released way back in 1993 only recently but I don’t regret. I was a kid then and definitely could not understand the ‘whys’, appreciate ‘whats’ or identify ‘whos’ of the matter.

Arwind Swami plays a tough younger son of a middle class family, who is never on even terms with his father (like most of us!) and when I say tough I don’t mean a muscle flexing macho, because you need guts to be the son of a village head-priest and court a Muslim girl in a village divided on communal lines. Manisha Koirala plays daughter of a brick kiln owner, wears burqa, walks fast with head down and braves rain and wind to meet her love crooning ‘Tu hi re..’.

Nasser plays father of the hero and head-priest of the afore-mentioned village. So when the couple finds that their love won’t find a way to the heart of their families (specially fathers!), they find way to, where else but, BOMBAY!

After hilarious initial hiccups the couple is on cloud nine with their twin sons and the film cruises calmly as the two grandpas (who come to visit their grandsons a visit) engage in skirmishes while trying to convert the children to their religion.

But now the ‘monumental’ twist comes as Babri Mosque is demolished and Bombay burns. For the first time we come to know that the hero is a reporter with The Indian Express as he interviews the Hindu and Muslim leaders (played by Teenu Anand and Aakash Khanna who have been made to look and act like Bal Thakrey and a Muslim leader, whose name I don’t know. Simply scintillating performances!)

But the peace in his own life is burnt to ashes as his own house is put on fire, killing both his father and father-in-law and worse, his kids go missing!) The agony and trauma of the parents who have lost their kids in city torn by riots, the helplessness of the innocents and most of all the destruction of joy and laughter, make this film a really heart wrenching story. But if you thought that this was the pinnacle you are in for a surprise!

The film is outstanding in every aspect of filmmaking. A R Rahman was terrific in the second movie of his career. His tunes cheerful and rendering hope in first half are in stark contrast to the haunting and somber ones in the second half, shape the mood of the film and give certain halo to every frame! Cinematography (Santosh Siwan got a National Prize for this one also!) is amazing, especially the scnes of riot and its aftermaths have been shot wonderfully.

I don’t want to reveal the climax. Not because I want you to watch the movie (of course I want to!) but because I don’t have words for it. The only thing that I can tell is that want to ask every fanatic the same question that hero asks in the film “You are a Hindu. You are a Muslim. You fight. Why do I lose my family, my home and my children?”

The film gave no answer. Actually nobody can!


Vaibhav said...

I saw tht movie, so nothing like climax for me.

It was all the sweat came out from the real story thats why such a great story.

You know the most bueatiful part of all these movies was it was such that it can affect the natural living of common being.

One can get surprised when watched these scenes.