Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Masterly dirty tricks
Maria Álvarez Folgado | castellar del valles, barcelona Spain | 10/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You can find in this story all the dirty tricks that you can imagine to emotionaly engage an audience and make it reach a tear-splashed climax. First you have the Romeo-and-Juliet style love affair between the two main characters: the shocking love choice of a muslim girl by a hindu man that makes them abandom their families and native village, where life would be impossible, for the more tolerant atmosphere of the great city of Bombay.
When we have already begun to feel more relaxed, seeing they have comfortably (by Indian standards) settled in Bombay, and that their families have finally accepted the marriage after a pair of twins have been born to the happy couple, we must get ready to suffer in earnest. The infamous riots of Bombay begin. And then the film presents the dirtiest trick: the children of the couple will have to suffer the unleashed violence of ethnical and religious hatred.
We,as audience,suffer along with the parents, who are afraid have lost their children forever, but we are nevertheless mercilessly shown the results of this violence of neighbour against neighbour in hard, impossible to forget images (such as the one when the protagonists look for their children in a hospital ward and in a morgue), of course without gore-ish details, as is the canon in Bollywood, but by this time you must be made out of stone indeed if you are not crying your eyes out.
Another thing we are shown, and this is quite a common message in the Indian cinema lately, is how the riots are the result of the politicians'/religious leaders' vicious manipulation of the people's minds.
Although the political message of the film is very plain, to the point of being of pamphlet quality, and the emotional dirty tricks are felt as so many blows below the belt, it takes Bolliwood to make from all this tricky material a gripping story that has the audience watching on, with a lump on their throat, for three hours.
You can also find more levels than just the purely superficial in the movie: there is always the symbolism, so dearly loved by Indian cinema, as in the case of the twins and their fate. And there are some subtler messages: when one of the boys gets lost and is in danger of being trampled to death by a terrrified mob, he is rescued by an eunuch. And it is this most despised and marginal of members of society who, while tending to the boy's wounds and feeding him, finally explains to the boy what religion is, and what is the difference between a muslim and a hindu.
As usual with Bollywood films, there are musical numbers, but in this case we don't have any major star of India, although the main actors are great (she is especially charming in the style of Audrey Hepburn); but you have to watch out for the support actors: whenever the two fathers-in-law (one of them a very pious muslim, the other a very pious hindu...always having commical clashes)are in a scene the screen rocks!"
Watch a REAL Indian dance sequence
Rebecca Whiting | Beautiful Bell Gardens, CA | 05/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"We begin in a small village. It is monsoon season (nearly as requisite to an Indian film as tumbleweeds in a Western). Our protagonist has returned from the big city to visit his family. His father is a pretentiously orthodox Brahmin, a pillar of his community (of which he repeatedly reminds anyone who will listen to him). One day a butterfly flaps its wings in Paris, and the resultant gust of wind blows up a Muslim woman's veil -- after a single glimpse of her face, our hero is irrevocably in love. Several dance sequences and illicit meetings later, the parents of the two find out, and the results are as hideous and explosive as if a black man had whistled at a white woman in Mobile, Alabama. The couple go to Bombay and, after some amusing post-nuptial frustrations, have children.At that point, the movie becomes more serious, with scenes from the Muslim-Hindu riots of Bombay in the early '90s. Being a Bollywood movie, after all, some pieces are cartoonishly done (watch the part where our hero gets to save his family), but the truth of the riots is present and terrifying.The movie was well shot, the principals are both very charming, and the dance sequences feature plump, dark women -- a very nice slice of life if you've been watching too many Kareena Kapoor/Shah Rukh Khan extravaganzas.This is certainly my favorite Bollywood musical, it's very sincere and sweet."
Filmmaking of a brand that we need more of
Lanz Nomad | Washington, DC | 03/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You'll cry out of sadness, you'll cry out of joy, you'll cry for reasons you can't quite put your finger on. In terms of sheer emotional impact, "Bombay" is simply peerless. An pan-generational inter-communal love story set amongst murderous communal riots, it pulls not a single punch in its effort to bring home the full force of the pain and suffering unleashed by religious tensions which plagued India in the early 1990s (and which sparked again in 2002). As such, it represents Bollywood at its most searing, at its most seminal. This is a film with which I will view further viewings with great trepidation, but which is among the select few which I feel very very privileged to have had the opportunity to witness. It is, quite plainly, like nothing else I've ever seen before, or I fear, will see again. If only more filmmakers could be this brave, this inspired, and this relevant."
A stunning blend of emotions and cinematography
R. Prasanna Kumar | Bangalore, Karnataka INDIA | 06/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am an avid movie watcher, and this has been my favorite of all time.
Though "Bombay" may not tick your intellectual brain... It surely engages your heart into an emotional journey. Maniratnam is really successful bringing in the perfect Indian middle-class life with stunning cinematography and flawless acting.
I would suggest you, plead you and beg you to watch this movie!!!"