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Bombay
(Scroll down to read the review)

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Bombay
Reviewer's Summary - Very Good

Language: Hindi
Year: 1995
Actors: Arvind Swamy, Manisha Koirala, Nasser, Arvind Khurana
Director: Mani Ratnam
Producer: S.Sriram
Story & Screenplay: Mani Ratnam
Music: A.R.Rehman
Lyrics: Mehboob
Dialogs: Umesh Sharma

In the crowded marketplace of Bollywood movies, Bombay is the rara avis that stands head and shoulders above the pack.

Risking the high seas of love in a time of communal madness for the safe harbor of a saccharine Bollywood love story, director Mani Ratnam comes out tops.

Loaded with boundless charm, Bombay is set amidst the savage communal strife that ravaged parts of India in the early 1990s following the demolition of the disputed Muslim shrine Babri Masjid by Hindu extremists.

Bombay relates the love story of a Hindu youth Shekhar (Arvind Swamy) and a Muslim girl Sheila Banu (Manisha Koirala) from Malampur village who are caught in a senseless communal maelstrom they cannot fathom.

Shekhar and Sheila face severe opposition to their love from their orthodox parents. But amor vincit omnia and the two move away to Bombay, where Shekhar works as a proof reader in a newspaper. They get married in Bombay in a civil ceremony and lead a happy life with twin sons named Kamal Bashir and Kabir Narayan (The childrens' names are a combination of the names of their two grandfathers' and that of both Hindu and Muslim Gods).

But Shekhar and Sheila's happiness is shortlived. Communal violence rocks Bombay in the aftermath of the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya by Hindu fundamentalists. In the orgy of violence, the young twins are separated from their parents. Searching for the young boys, a distraught Shekhar and Sheila Banu run desperately from city street to hospital to morgue.

The payoffs are aplenty in Bombay. Both Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala have rendered memorable performances without engaging in the over dramatization common to Indian cinema.

A.R.Rehman's fine music adds to the allure of this movie. Every single song is a treat to the ears. Our favorite songs were Kehna Hi Kya, Humma Humma and the fast-paced Kuchh Bhi Na Socha.

The photography is of a piece with the rest of this fine movie and the narrative seldom sags.

All in all, director Mani Ratnam deserves kudos for his deft handling of the communal plague that frequently sweeps India and packaging it into a commercial film with wide appeal. - Copyright SearchIndia.com.


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