Movie Review: Bombay Talkie

I admit that I've gone mad to review such an old 1970 English movie. As I must have mentioned earlier that I choose to be a part of parallel cinema than the run-of-the-mill stuff. I was searching for good movies in the shopping cart and I finally picked up Ismail Merchant's Bombay Talkie. Bombay Talkie is a trip down memory lane with the young Shashi Kapoor, Jennifer Kendall-Kapoor, Aparna Sen, Jalal Agha and I was pleasantly surprised to see pop queen Usha Uthup in this movie. Now, Bombay Talkie was never meant to be an Indian movie considering it is a Merchant-Ivory production.

The movie begins with Lucia Lane (Jennifer Kendall), an English writer who's previous book was about Hollywood emerged as a bestseller. She has now come to check out Bollywood for inspiration for her next book. Lucia, a self-absorbed woman meets Hari (Zia Mohiuddin) and Vikram Kumar (Shashi Kapoor), an upcoming film star. Through her story, she makes fun of the film industry of those years. The movie gives a glimpse of the Hindi film industry of the 1970s to the western audiences. The film has a scene when a song is being shot on a big typewriter, with the group dancers dancing on the keys. The movie also shows us the spiritual part of India that fascinated the hippies. It takes a dig at the Swamiji (Pinchoo Kapoor) and the mad crowd that follows them. Pinchoo Kapoor comes as a funny swami in the film.

Watch the film not because you want to, but only if you wish to see the younger version of some famous stars. Technically, there is not much of a story in this film and in several places, songs are indeed filmed like trying to fill up the gaps. Ismail Merchant comes at the start for a few minutes.


A New Beginning said…
:) Thats straight from the archives!Great!Thanks for the review AKSHAY!
Parasmani said…
I will try and rent this movie, if available.Even though I used to read about Ismail Merchant (December 25, 1936 – May 25, 2005) movies, I have missed out on all.
Young Shashi Kapoor was so good looking and all Kapoor brothers danced well...good sense of rhythm.

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