Cast: Radhika Apte, Siddhanth Kapoor, Adil Hussain, Ravi Kishan, Akshay Oberoi
director: pia sukanya
Score: 1 star (out of 5)
for a film that gallops at a good pace, debutant director pia sukanya’s bombairiya is extraordinarily inert. strives for deadpan humor, but falls short, leaving the audience on the receiving end of a tedious, rudimentary, and patience-testing guessing game. bombairiya has bomb written all over it.
one of his main supports, among other silly amusements, is actually a package bomb. it is in the possession of an angadia (delivery boy), played by siddhanth kapoor with wide-eyed astonishment (absolutely understandable!), who drives a pink scooter. he puts on a helmet of the same tone. but it’s not a panther, pink or otherwise. he is a scalded cat stuck in a dead end. the guy is running away from a bloodthirsty cop.
A handful of weirdos and their baffling escapades lie at the pulpy heart of bombairiya. but the film also has a message to convey about the urgent need for witness protection. We continue to hear from a star witness who must be kept out of harm’s way, but there is no clarity on the nature of the criminal case that is about to come up for a court hearing, except for loose leads about a missing cop and his death. wife and daughter. logic never appears to shed more light on the goings-on and dispel the fog.
The movie begins in a dark, dank room where an aging and cranky bomb maker is at work. the man writes a letter addressed to a person whose identity we have no way of knowing and then proceeds to assemble an explosive device that we can, with a little effort, find out if it is destined for a predetermined target. pretty soon, the old man ends up dead.
The convoluted story moves from one thing to another so lightly that it’s impossible to focus on any one of its many characters and plotlines. it’s only in the second half that feeble attempts are made to explain the incipient flurry of scenes that kicks off the proceedings, but given the tangled mess it creates, no amount of elucidation can help bring the film out of its slump.
the courier gets into a ruckus with a PR girl (radhika apte). in the melee, he snatches the lady’s mobile phone and slips away. The phone apparently has a video that could cast a shadow over the career of a heavy-drinking movie superstar (Ravi Kishan) who must spend time with a fan who won an award on a lunchtime FM radio show. the drunken actor flees a shoot in his truck and reappears in a rowboat on a serene pond drinking whiskey.
The harassed PR woman, who, when we first see her, tries to send a standee on fire only to be chased by a bunch of urchins, has another big irritant to deal with: a wannabe superhero. (akshay oberoi) who is on his way to a bistro to meet the girl his parents want him to marry, but is held back for reasons beyond his control. Before arriving at the family reunion, she buys a change of shirt and a felt hat to make the best impression. she is a local tex-mex, and they offer her a hat. but our topi-man sticks to the hat of her choice.
However, there is no limit to the unbridled chaos that unfolds on screen. The movie is trying to tell us how chaotic the city of Mumbai is and how many idiots the teeming metropolis has per square foot. in the process, it actually goes far beyond its stated ambition. it’s as unintelligible a jumble as any the on-screen characters can unleash.
bombairiya never lets you wrap your head and that’s clearly involuntary. the creators have no idea what they are looking for. Neither does the audience. there are a bunch of clueless characters here, each just as incomprehensible as the next.
a politician (adil hussain) chills in a vip prison cell but is constantly on a phone barking orders. At the other end of the line is an encounter specialist (amit sial). a police chief (ajinkya deo) intervenes from time to time but never comes close to restoring order. there’s also a lady (shilpa shukla), who is both a media entrepreneur and a politician trying to give the incriminating video a quiet burial.
with all of them working at cross purposes in a hopelessly purposeless script, the result is an outright riot, but not the kind comedies usually pretend to be. bombairiya strives to be a cross between jaane bhi do yaaron and the best priyadarshan laughter riots, but it doesn’t possess the former’s inventiveness or the latter’s inspired madness. crams into its 108 minutes every cliché under the mumbai sky: bumbling cops, sycophantic politicians, a womanizing superstar and her henchmen, a horror suspect, a comic book-obsessed mama’s boy, media industry shenanigans , a sniper on the loose. and various members of the underworld, all pulling in different directions.
When you see an actor like Adil Hussain in a perpetual state of bewilderment and not even trying to find a way out, you know you’re watching a movie he shouldn’t have been a part of. he is faced with a script that simply leaves no room for the actors. rarely has radhika apte done so much in a movie to achieve so little.
bombairiya is a tangled mess, neither funny nor attractive. it’s a comedy of errors, okay, more errors than comedy. Be careful, don’t even think about sitting down. torture is not funny.