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Bombay Talkies: Celebration of Indian cinema
Indian cinema is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. What better gift can the audience expect than having a quartet of shorts by the directors from different filmmaking genres, but having one task, the celebration of Bollywood? The sincerity with which all these shorts are made, it can be truly said as beginning of a new era in cinema.

The first short by Karan Johar delivers a love triangle, but with a slight change. Gayatri (Rani Mukherjee) has a troubled married life with her husband Dev (Randeep Hooda). An intern named Avinash enters into their lives and then frame by frame, the loose threads open up. The beauty of Johar’s direction lies in the fact that every frame is well executed and it delivers the content it meant to be.

Beautifully complementing are the scenes with the little beggar girl, who has a beautiful voice and sings old film songs. The climax depicts the freedom of both Gayatri and Dev with Gayatri putting on the make-up and Dev sitting beside the little girl.

Dibakar Banerjee’s short is adapted from Satyajit Ray’s short story “Patol Babu Filmstar” and is the finest direction of all the four shorts. In a simple linear tale, Banerjee takes the audience into the charm of cinema by putting a common man Purandar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) as a participant in it. A failed theatre actor, Purandar gets the chance to perform a scene as a passerby to collide with the hero. He then moves to a lonely place to rehearse. This whole scene of rehearsal is one of the finest scenes one can make and the direction is top notch.

The camera setting is made faraway to create the loneliness of the whole scenario in which our protagonist is rehearsing. The sleeping guard, buildings with no population visible, the setting is amazing. In his imagination, Purandar’s father pops out from a nearby dustbin and a conversation occurs in which his father accuses him for various things. The conversation is strong, the dialogues are so tight that it blows off the mind and hurts at the right place.

Finally, the shot of the film happens and he runs quickly towards the home, thrilled to tell the story to his daughter who always demands a good bedtime story from him. The scene where he enacts the complete day’s happenings to his daughter is so beautifully executed that the short feels like a well crafted silent film at that moment. That small moment of storytelling makes Purandar the king of the world and gives him a relieved sleep after a very long time.

Equally well crafted are the other scenes in this short. An Emu at Purandar’s home describes his devastated life. Scenario of losing job of a guard, trying to read newspaper over the other man’s shoulder, Purandar as a subject of laugh equally at Purandar’s colony and by movie’s director, an actor called “Ranbir Sir”- all these scenes shows the brilliance of a filmmaker.

Zoya Akhtar’s story opens up with a beautiful segment displaying aspiration of various children when they grow up. Vicky aspires to become a dancer but his hopes shatter when his dictator father forces him to play football. While watching a dance number by Katrina Kaif, he gets the exact idea. He puts up the clothing of his sister and makeup of his mother and enjoys the dance moves, feeling complete freedom. Zoya inserted some highly emotional dialogues in this short that makes you cry every time you listen to them. Zoya beautifully questions the gender bias of parents without letting the concept go over the toll of your head. The climax is beautifully executed delivering a sense of hope for everyone.

The last short is an amazing narration by Anurag Kashyap about journey of a man from Allahabad to Mumbai to visit the greatest legend of Indian cinema. Vijay (Vineet Kumar Singh) gets a task from his father (Sudhir Pandey) which only gets fulfilled after meeting Amitabh Bachchan.

Hence, his journey begins to the city of dreams to get the job done. However, upon reaching Mumbai, he finds that the task is not that easy. He is restrained by the security guards of Mr. Bachchan and finds himself lost in the fast life of the city. Finally, the task is completed and he returns. What happens during his return is a clever twist that only a prolific storyteller like Kashyap can depict. The finale also defines the shocking moments Kashyap is known for. The scene where Mr. Bachchan makes the entry is a spell binding moment in itself.

All the four shorts have a beautiful sequence that defines a theme of the whole movie. In the first short, we can feel cinema on the core of the movie but doesn’t enter into it. The second short makes a character entering into the foray of cinema, although as an extra. The third short makes a person closer to the stars, although in imagination or dreams. It’s the final one that makes a common man in contact with a superstar. In this way, the sequence is constructed in a magnificent way.

The movie celebrates the cinema in a beautiful way. It doesn’t give tribute to any specific genre of cinema, but gives us a glimpse of new era of cinema which will soon be visible in a much broad way. Bombay Talkies gives us hope of the evolution of a new cinema.

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In This Article
amitabh bachchan
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katrina kaif
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anurag kashyap
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karan johar
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