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Salaam Bombay!
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Reviews & Ratings for
Salaam Bombay! More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Dark, Dirty and Dangerous Bombay

Author: Chrysanthepop from Fraggle Rock
21 June 2010

Mira Nair's darkly whimsical 'Salaam Bombay' gives us a glimpse of life in the streets of Bombay. The story focuses on an urchin nicknamed Chaipau and the people he encounters. Through vivacious cinematography and eloquent writing, Nair shows us the rawness of the streets and street life. Pretty much each and every one of the colourful characters seem to be doomed to street-life. There are those who take advantage of the vulnerability of others and there are their victims that are forced to live in hardship.

Most of the scenes don't even look like they were shot for a movie but rather appear as live footage. The score has a very 80s feel to it but it terrifically adds to the atmosphere. The steady pace does not allow the viewer to think of anything other than following the movie. The performances are first rate. Child actors Shafiq Syed and Hansa Vithal are spellbinding. Raghuvir Yadav, Nana Patekar, Anita Kanwar and Chanda Sharma provide excellent support.

'Salaam Bombay' is Mira Nair's rawest film. While it tells a dark story there's a very lyrical quality to it. This easily ranks as one of Nair's finest works and definitely proves her potential as she has done terrific work since (e.g. 'The Namesake', 'Monsoon Wedding') amidst some mediocre films.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Mira Goes Anti-Bollywood

10/10
Author: uncle_g1234 from United States
28 August 2006

Don't have to summarize the story, that's already been done many times. Just have to say that I found the cast exceptional. At first I was wondering if Krishna Gaipau was being played by a kid with no emotional range. Later on in the movie I realized his stolidity was on purpose, because when life slapped him down once too often, he suddenly revealed the pain inside.

I also loved little Manju a lot. She was a delight and full of personality. The movie is now 18 years old, and it appears no one picked her up for more movies. What a crying shame that is. From her first impish grin when Krishna came out of the rain, and her wink while dancing with him to "Chin Chin Choo", she lit up the screen. Was she really just another street urchin? Hard to believe.

Many things in this movie do not "come out right". It isn't that sort of movie. A person needs to be ready for reality in its harsher form to take on this movie. But I think its an honest movie. For that it deserves credit.

And Mira Nair has gotten rare honors for this movie. The entire world has recognized the specialness of what she did. Someone said Monsoon Wedding was better, but I think the opposite. MW was good, but this was decisively better. Really what she did in Monsoon Wedding has been done so many times. Maybe she was a little better, but not that much. The story of Salaam Bombay has, at least in part, been told in other Indian movies, but never with this relentless realism. The directors simply backed off out of fear of losing their audience. Mira did the high wire without a net. Bravo for her!

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

It's everyone for himself in bustling Bombay

8/10
Author: raymond-15 from Australia
15 June 2006

Writer and director has done a wonderful job with her "docu-drama" about the street kids of Bombay. Naive and trusting at first the children soon learn the ways of the big city. They find that grown-ups can be cruel and unjust. They can rob you of your meagre savings and discharge you from your only job for no apparent reason. As we watch the story unfold we soon find that our sympathies lie with the street kids. Somehow they manage to live on the streets in this noisy colourful city brimful of action and overflowing with people.

It seems to me there are no expensive sets or very few because the director Mira Nair has used the streets of Bombay as her true and authentic background for the simple story she has chosen to tell. I have a feeling she has a deep love of Bombay and its people. You feel it in every scene. And the splashes of colour in the streets lifts every camera shot to unbelievable heights. True artistry here.

I can imagine the people of Bombay who found them selves as a part of the moving background during the production of the film flocked to the cinemas to look for themselves on the big screen. As for myself I don't know how I have missed this film over so many years. It's a little treasure and highly recommended.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Touching

8/10
Author: supergodan from Canada
4 September 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this film about an hour ago...and I'll never get it out of my head. It's a different way of life, a harder way of life that it makes you see. And thats something that Mira Nair really hits home with - she gives you the experience of actually being in Bombay, in the whole mix up. If I had to choose one word to describe what I felt most while watching this, it would be "helplessness." This really lets you see that once you enter Bombay (no matter by choice or force), there is no escape. This is my favourite foreign film. I enjoyed it immensely and this film will touch everyone, because you feel like you are there.

Definitely touching and it something that everyone must see, and I'm glad that it was on TV just now because I would have probably never seen it other wise.

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A scathing remark on things we choose to ignore !!!

10/10
Author: Shubhojeet Kundu from India
27 August 2014

Salaam Bombay is hard hitting, brazen and after 113 minutes of some of the most realistic frames to come out of the Indian Cinema, it strips you wide and naked. One is only left with a hypocritical sense of loss and pity.

Salaam Bombay slaps and slaps hard on our morality bearing middle class sensibility. It has shown the rubric of the great Indian society. The portrayal of the dirty fundamentals over which our great spiritual society has stood throughout the centuries, is unmistakably brazen and true. Through the lens of Salaam Bombay, the great Indian society and culture seems bloated and hypocritical.

Cinematically also, Salaam Bombay is a master piece. The atmosphere created by the camera-work and the background score deserve accolades. Mira Nair was right in saying "No Guts-No Glory".

Interestingly, even after quarter of a century, the issues raised in the movie still plagues Bombay and Indian society. Salaam Bombay is the mirror which is required to be shown to many Indian upholders of morality and society.

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One of underrated films

7/10
Author: silvan-desouza from India
28 February 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Some films are really different, offbeat and less commercial yet awesome Salaam Bombay is one such film The film is based on life of people in Mumbai The problems shown are believable. There are several great instances like Nana belting Raghuvir, Raghuvir's chelum addiction.etc

Direction is simply fab

Nana Patekar before hit stardom is superb in a negative role, Shafiq Syed is superb, Raghuvir Yadav is fab as always, Irrfan Khan makes one scene appearance as a writer rest are good The director cast actual people in the role of slum dwellers which looks apt.

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Deeply touched!

9/10
Author: norulezz00 from India
24 October 2013

The movie aptly portrays the harsh reality of slums of Mumbai and in itself is an act of bravery as it depicts the real India which we Indians knowingly ignore. 113 minutes of beautifully crafted drama through which you experience the life of characters through their eyes. This was my first Mira Nair movie and I must admit this by far was the best Indian movie i have ever watched. Nana Patekar who no doubt is one of the most talented actors gives at par performance as Baba(the pimp) and there are moments when you feel frustrated but sadly you slowly accept the situation and life of street kids, prostitutes and junkies who are trapped in vicious cycle and there is no escape. Movie is very different from the traditional Indian movies and a must watch for intense drama lovers.

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Amazing cinema

10/10
Author: akhileshkeshap from India
20 January 2013

I am late in seeing this movie "Salaam Bombay" , but this is one of the most touching and moving movies i have every seen !!!! I cant believe the movie was made in 1988 , it was probably 30 years ahead of its times !!!!! Chaipau is the protagonists name in the movie , a small boy whose actual name "Krishna" is lost when he starts working in the streets of Bombay , serving chai. The movie goes through many different aspects of how life is for the poor and desolate in Bombaby ; the background music is also haunting to listen to. Go and watch this movie if you haven't already , its a masterclass to watch !!!! You will like it for sure

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The Slums Of Bombay.

10/10
Author: morrison-dylan-fan from United Kingdom
22 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Whilst recently reading a discussion about Bollywood films that take a serious look at drug abuse,I was excited to find details about a film which seemed to tear all of the Bolltwood glitz & glamour apart,so that it could put a mirror up to the harsh reality behind the shining lights.

As I began to read more details about what co-story writer,producer and director Mira Nair had created,I started to hope that I was about to watch something truly special,the I would not forget for a very long time..

The plot:

After having a huge falling out with his mother and brother,an 11 year old boy called Krishna is taken to a travailing circus where he is told that until he raises enough money to sort out all the damage that he has done,he must stay away from home and become a worker at a travailing circus.Hoping to raise the cash as fast as possible, Krishna becomes a part of the circus,until one day,after having done an errand, Krishna discovers that the circus has moved on and left him behind.

Being left stranded and desperate to raise the cash that he so desperately needs, Krishna uses every penny he's got to get a train ticket to Bombay,in the hope of finding a job that will give him a good wage.Shortly after getting off the train, Krishna runs into a group of street thieves and drug dealers who live near by the cities red light area.Desperate not to be on his own in the extremely intimidating city, Krishna attempts to befriend a gang of kids who are partly being used to sell drugs on the streets for a notorious drug lord/ pimp called Baba Golub.

Despite the gang members originally having some doubts over how much they can trust him, Krishna is soon welcomed into the group,thanks to being given a new nickname (Chaipau) and also due to having developed a close bond with an "elder" of the gang called Chillum,who along with being a dealer for Golub,is also a drug abuser himself.Wanting to help his new friend to achieve his goal,Chillum helps Krishna to get a job as a low paid-ed tea deliver.Feeling that his luck is finally changing,Krishana sets his eyes on the most beautiful girl that he has ever seen.who he nicknames as "Sweet Sixteen".

Unknown to Krishna,"Sweet Sixteen" is actually a girl who has suffered the horror of being trafficked to Bombay,due to Baba Golub and a madam of his suspecting that someone will pay a high price to take the innocent's of the girl away forever.

View on the film:

Having a quick listen to the DVD commentary for this movie,I was surprised to hear Mira Nair say that she wanted a sense of hope to be always in the background of this tremendous film,so that the movie would not become completely depressing and bleak.Whilst the sparingly used,melodic score by L.Subramiam does allow a sliver of light to occasionally appear,I have to admit that I found the rest of this unforgettable movie to be one of the most depressing films that I have seen in years!.

Using her documentary past as a major influence on this particular work,Nair directs the film with an astonishing attention to detail,as she allows the camera to clearly focus on all of the real chaos taking place in the various drug dens and red light areas used as locations in the movie,whilst always making sure that the events that the films characters battle with are always in the centre of the movie.

Despite the film having to attempt in drawing the viewer into a new "world" and its cast of outcasts in less than 2 hours,the elegant screenplay by Sooni Taraporevala does a fantastic balancing act of moving at a surprising pace whilst also making sure to pause and make each character a distinct individual who's despair and flaws can be seen engulfing their entire lives.Checking for any trivia about the movie on IMDb,I was shocked to discover,that although the film features "professional" actors in the lead adult roles, (such as a terrificly menacing performance from Nana Patekar, as the ruthless and cunning Baba Golub)the entire,wonderful child cast of the film was played by street children who Nair had worked with in a number of "acting workshops".

For the girl who gets Krishna's heart Chanda Sharma gives a mesmerising performance as "Sweet Sixteen",who despite having hardly any dialogue is able to show how fragile the girl is,as her innocents gets closer to being shattered into a thousand pieces.Being featured in almost every scene of the film,lead actor Shafiq Syed, (who on the DVD interview,seems to have at last found some happiness in his life,after having sadly attempted suicide a number of times in the past) gives a performance that most "adult" actors could only dream of.

In the scenes that Syed shares with Krishna's only friend in Bombay,Chillum (played by an amazing Raghuvir Yadav.)Syed displays the perfect mix of being desperate to save his friend from his addictions,whilst also trying his best to not fall into the same nightmare that Chillum has.Nearing the conclusion to this film,Nair brilliantly uses the final moments to solely focus on Syed,With the last shot being completely still,Syed gives the film its devastating knock out blow,as Krishna begins to think about everything that he has lost.

Final view on the film:

One of the most depressing and most unforgettable films that I have ever seen.

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I cried at the end of this movie

9/10
Author: Jigeeshu Joshi from India
18 March 2012

I belong to India and born in the city of Bombay(Mumbai) itself. This is for me by far the best Bollywood (Hindi) movie i have watched. I do not agree that Bombay is all about what is depicted in this movie. There is also brighter and prosperous side but, what is shown, is also not false.

It is a movie about a small village boy(Krishna) who ends up in Bombay after being left behind by his circus troupe at his village. In Bombay, he ends up in company of people who is feared by all parents. He stays in slum near a local railway station. His best friend(Chillum) is a drug addict, who ultimately dies leaving behind nothing but sorrow and despair. Krishna's love is a prostitute who is hoaxed and sold to a rich man. Krishna makes every effort to support his friend and love and earn himself some money to return home but in vain. For him, life is a serious of disappointments only broken by short spells of joy.

The movie honestly reveals that sadly sometimes in life, especially for the poor, happy ending never comes.

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