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Mar 21, 2005

Bombay Talkie

For anyone who is interested in the making of movies, it is fun to watch a movie which is about the movie world. In my knowledge there are not many films about the Bollywood of the sixties and the seventies although a lot of Bollywood's best films came out during this period.

Bombay Talkie provides an insiders view of Bollywood, through the lives and times of the young actor called Vikram, played Shashi Kapoor. His real life wife Jennifer Kendal/Kapoor has the role of a western writer who visits Bollywood and falls in love with the married actor, he's married to the beautiful Aparna Sen. Pak, later UK actor Zia Moyinuddeen plays another important role in the movie as a writer of Bollywood movies, and a companion of Kapoor and Kendal.

Unlike the usual Bollywood masala stuff, this 1970 film from Merchant Ivory trio is natural, earthy, informative and revealing. We see rare glimpses of old actors and singers going about earning their daily bread - we can see Helen as Helen doing takes and retakes of dance numbers, Jalal Agha (remember Pan Parag ad, "aur mere liye?") as a young budding actor by the name Jalal Agha, Usha Uthup as the upcoming western singer(the only one at the time) with her maiden name Usha Iyer - for Bollywood afficianados this movie is an unforgettable walk down the memory lane. If this is not all, the film has excellent story line, written ofcourse by Ruth Prawar Jhabhwala which revolves around the young dashing actor, his wife, his writer friend and the 'toofan' which comes in to their lives as the western writer played by Jennifer Kendal. Shashi Kapoor and Jennifer Kapoor had been married 12 years by the time this movie was shot and in this movie Jennifer plays the other woman.