Bombay Rose Is An Ambrosial Dreamy Ode To The City Of Dreams

Bombay Rose(Netflix)

Animation Film

Rating: ****

 True confession. I have  never been a  fan  of animation films.Until now. Bombay Rose  , a delicately drawn ,  elegantly  told  tale  of a forbidden love on the  bustling streets  of Mumbai between a Muslim boy and a Hindu flower-girl , has induced an instant conversion in  me. Not that I will now rush to see  the other  animation blockbuster  Frozen .

But yes,  I will definitely  check out writer-director Gitanjali Rao’s  next  film. Hopefully it would again be animation. She excels at drawing out  the  innermost humane characteristics  of the people who  occupy her luscious  landscape . At the end  of  the  90-plus   minutes  of  the film I   felt I  knew  every character  by heart. The  contumacious Salim(voiced in a  commanding baritone  by Amit Deondi)  whose quiet love trails the  film like a stubborn shadow. The  villainous Mike(menacingly  voiced by Makarand Deshpande), the wise Grandfather(Veerendra Saxena, sagely and  savvy), Salim’s chuckle-filled confidante  the paanwala  Mishraji(voiced  by Rajeev Raj),  the wholesale flower seller  (Geetanjali Kulkarni who furnishes such astonishing vivacity  on the character with just her voice), the nostalgia-soaked Mrs  D’Souza( Amardeep Jha, bringing a sense  of  the Anglo-world gone-by with songs  like Tally ho and Aaiye meherbaan ) , her suitor Anthony(Shishir Sharma, oldworld charm),  Kamala’s  little  sister Tara(Gargi Shitole, so  bright and sunshiny)  and  above all Kamala. 

Voiced with majestic melancholy  by  Cyli Khare, Kamala is  the consummate captivating  utterly enchanting heroine .She sells  beaded flowers  by the day  and dances in a  bar by night to educate her sister.She holds her head  high in spite  of  the  wretched poverty and lurking dangers. No selfpity  here. No tears. “It’s okay to cry sometimes,” her  grandfather reminds  her.Only  a state of supreme grace endorsed  by  the whole  city of Mumbai as it seems  to salute Kamala’s  dignity and grit amidst the squalor and  crime that  creep up  on her from every shadow .

 Bombay Rose is a remarkable achievement  in the truest sense. It  recreates  the heartbeart  of Mumbai’s  street  children and their  unvanquished guardians sweeping us into their  brave  bright lives(never a dull moment) with a flourish and  flair that are  irresistibly seductive. 

I believe every frame , every strand of  hair on the lovely  Kamala’s   forehead,  was hand-painted by Gitanjali Rao and her  excellent team  of  artisans  , magnificent  craftsmen and women  who have  built the cinematic version of the Taj Mahal where fantasy runs into reality and dreams  soar into the sky with a rush of wonderment and  incredulity.

Bombay Rose  is a unique  achievement ,not just in the field of animation. If this was a feature film only Sanjay Leela Bhansali could have done  justice to it.

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