Four stories to mark the 100 years of Indian Cinema. Four directors make short films (sort of) somehow related to the glitz of the Indian Cinema industry. I am not entirely sure that this was indeed the theme, as the movie itself rendered itself very sparsely to this supposed theme. For example, the first of the stories, directed by Karan Johar has a very tenuous connection to the movie industry, only that two of the main people in the story work for a tabloid kind of set up. However, Dibakar Bannerjee’s and Anurag Kashyap’s stories somehow manage to bring about our pre-occupation with movies in very poignant ways.
There are many new experiments undertaken with this movie, and all of them to be lauded for sure. But, (and there always is a but) the only story that decidedly felt like it deserved the big screen (as opposed to a 1 hour special on TV) was Dibakar Bannerjee’s Star. This movie had all good things that I would associate with a movie watching experience (it is set in a chawl, has a pet emu, has a visit by the long dead father in a hilarious . While Karan Johar’s piece continued to feel like high school boys view of things, plots are superficial, people are caricatures, themes are caricatured (of course not to be found in Indian cinema for sure, but), Anurag Kashyap’s piece continued to be of the other high school boy with funny/cool lines and a punch at the very end that left you, well, punched and not entirely impressed for sure.
Zoya Akhtar’s story was lovely, although you did realise what it was going to be in the first few minutes of the story leaving you with no sense of discovery afterwards. It still did manage to be a very sweet little story and what a stupendous performance by the little boy.
The gem of course was Dibakar Bannerjee and to see that on screen, to see Nawazuddin Siddiqui in that role and in that story (the story is based on a short story by Satyajit Ray) I would have endured many mis steps by Karan Johar and Anurag Kashyap.
Watch it for sure and walk out after the fourth story is done. Immediately after it is done. Because the song that comes on afterwards, is ridiculous and goes against the grain of the entire movie. Might as well skip it and walk out with memories of Bombay Talkies alone.