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Bombairiya Movie Review: It Is A Crazily Heartwarming Homage To Mumbai

Subhash K . Jha

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Bombairiya

Starring Radhika Apte, Akshay Oberoi, Ravi Kissan, Siddhant Kapoor, Adil Hussain, Amit Sial

Directed  by Pia Sukanya

Rating:***(3 stars)

Mumbai, or Bombay as we all know it, is a schizophrenic  city. Inviting welcoming affectionate and warm one  minute,  hostile, intimidating and  disorienting  the  next….Bombairiya captures the polarized  propensities of  the split city with  vigour and humour. 

Sure, towards  the midpoint  the edifice of chaos  built on the  premise of  ‘One Day in the Life Of Radhika Apte’(she gets  top solo  billing)  begins to fall apart.And you feel the film is  trying to cram in  too much physical activity  at the cost of  giving the  plot and the  characters  space to breathe.

 But then , this is a homage to a  breathless  city. And  the rhythms  of  the  film follow  suit.No time to ask why.  Just act.

There is an  unstoppable energy about the film that  doesn’t always work in  its favour.  Often times, I  felt  the characters  were running away from themselves and from us, the audience . The relentless bhaag –daud(helter-skelter) eventually seeps  into the  character-driven  narrative. But before it does, the people  who  populate  the  bustle over  the hustle are thrown so close to our affections that we want the progressively  spiralling  plot to somehow come together for their sake.

 The writing favours defining  interactive moments on   a random  beat  that bring strangers together. There is Meghna (Apte) running  around  a vain  philandering film star Karan Kapoor(Ravi Kissan,in  splendid  form  as  usual) when she collides  into a courier man(Siddhant Kapoor). Within minutes she is “rescued” by an  incredibly kindhearted  goodlooking dude Abhishekwho gets busy solving all of Meghna’s problem on the road, from replacing her lost shoes with his spare sneakers ,to  talking to her Daadi on the phone about her horribly askewed love life(Jim Sarbh shows up as her ex-boyfriend in a one-scene appearance),to  accompanying her through an  adventure that leaves  a lot of  ‘huh’ spaces  in  the narrative.It all gets into  scramble that  scampers  clumsily  intoa church at  the end.

 But  when the  going is good, the  plot and performances  simply rock. The  underrated underused Shilpa Shukla as Ravi Kissan’s bossy suspicious politician-wife has just a couple of scenes to make her presence felt.And she  gets to it without  losing a beat.Equally memorable is Dhanendra Kawade as a cop trying to do the  right thing by a  city hellbent  onbeingmischievous.

 Come to think  of it,the  actors are  all in dazzling form.Is Radhika Apte ever caught on the wrong foot(even when she is without footwear in this film)?She manages to keep ahead  of  the ferocious flurry in the plot even when having to suddenly do a little kissy-smoochy scene with Akshay Oberoi’s  reluctant fiancée-to-be(who is, sigh,  a lesbian)…or made to sing a Bhajanin the car with Oberoi’s parents(nicely played by  Paromita  Chatterjee and Abhijit Bhor).

 Siddhant Kapoor is also exceptionally  interesting in his role of a reluctant  accomplice to  a crime.

Adil Hussain as a  jailed politician  and Amit Sial as a pivotal  character propelling the drama ahead to its  anarchic  finale(I  confess I didn’t really get  a fix on his place in the saturated  plot),  convey so much with their silent smirks. But my  favourite is Akshay Oberoi who never lets  a  script down. Here he succeeds  in  keeping his angelic  character from getting disastrously  boring.  Oberoi is an actor who  never disappoints. Here is a film that will make  you smile to  the end even when  the going gets really tough for the proceedings.

You know someone up there  is looking out for  the characters.And it isn’t God.

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