Bombay is the story of how a common man gets affected by the riots which broke out in Bombay during December '92-January '93.Bombay stars Arvind Swamy (of Roja fame), Manisha Koirala, Tinnu Anand, Nasser and Kittu. Music is by A.R.Rahman, sets by Thota Tharani, cinematography by Rajiv Menon and directed by Mani Ratnam. It has proved itself to be THE most awaited for film in recent times. What with all its controversies.
The story starts off innocently enough with Arvind returning to his village in Nellai district, Tamil Nadu where he sees Manisha, who is a Muslim living in the same place. Its love at first sight for both though the fact that he is a Hindu and she is a Muslim haunts them for quite some time. Tensions between the two families run high but Arvind is undeterred and he goes to Bombay and asks Manisha to join him there where they register their marriage. Life goes on pretty smoothly and they have twins (the twins have given an excellent performance).
Then the demolition of the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya and the riots that follow give them an indication of what to expect. Meanwhile both parents forgive their wards and join them in Bombay. During the riots, the kids are narrowly saved from the rioteers but the questions of why they were caught and what religion they are of haunt them. Hell breaks loose during the January riots and Arvind, as the journalist interviews the Hindu and Muslim groups leaders (Bal Thackeray is played by Tinnu Anand and looks quite a bit like Bal) who blame each other. But the persons who suffer are the common people. The kids get separated from Arvind and Manisha and Arvind's father and Manisha's parents die of a blast following from the torching of the house.
Then follows a search for the kids in all places, including the morgue (similar to Roja). In fact the 2 kids also get separated from each other, one ends up with a eunuch and the other with another Muslim family. They pine for each other but by the time the dust settles, they find each other. Ironically, their adopted houses were just opposite each other. Then the kids manage to locate their parents too. And in the end, "All's well that ends well".
The main highlights of this movie are superb sets by Thota Tharani which recreate the Bombay of those fateful days excellently, Rajiv Menon's cinematography, Good acting by all involved (kudos to the 2 kids especially!), a haunting score by A.R.Rahman (especially the theme song and "Uyire" while "Hamma" is a chartbuster !) and of course the brilliance of Mani Ratnam.
Mani Ratnam had real problems passing this film through the censor board, firstly because of the violence and also because of the communal element. After he was successful in getting it through, Bal Thackeray intervened and forced him to make cuts in the film if he wanted the film to be shown in Bombay. Well he was unhappy with the his portrayal in the film as well as indications that he started all the riots. Ultimately, Mani Ratnam had to agree to several cuts, which sort of make the edited version look jerky. Then there was a fresh controversy when the Muslim leaders demanded cuts of their own since the Muslims were shown to be the cause of the riots. But the Maharashtra Govt (SS-BJP) dismissed the claim and right now, Bombay is running to packed houses everywhere in India and abroad.
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