Screen International’s Tim Grierson writes, “A consistent charmer, the Indian omnibus Bombay Talkies is vibrant and colourful, that rare portmanteau film where the whole is more than the sum of its likeable parts.”
On the other hand, The Hollywood Reporter’s Deborah Young writes, “Maybe the most impressive thing about this uneven film is its interminable end credits, which give audiences a clue about the manpower that goes into making Hindi films today.”
Arguably, Bombay Talkies’ strongest international value will be in showing outsiders that contemporary Indian cinema doesn’t entirely consist of song-and-dance musicals. While there are fun pop tunes included on the soundtrack, only the first short feels overly dependent on music to enhance its story. (Akhtar’s short also incorporates music, but in a really fun way.) And there are several fine performances, especially Siddiqui as the father thrust into the spotlight and Jain as the boy longing to become a dancer. To be sure, Bombay Talkies is a breezy, unsubstantial work. But when a film is this effervescent, who needs all that stuffy substance?
Launched at a gala red carpet screening at Cannes, the four stories of Bombay Talkies are meant to celebrate the one hundred years of Indian cinema but do very little to further its reputation….They are of varying interest, but the overall impression they leave is watching a Bollywood sampler without the song and dance, a committee project with an impressive budget but little heart.
Cannes Review: Ritesh Batra’s Lunchbox
Cannes Review: Amit Kumar’s Monsoon Shootout
Cannes Review: Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly