Salaam Bombay!

"Good"

Salaam Bombay! Review


Somewhere between the bitter hopelessness of Pixote and the sarcastic sensibility of Kids likes Salaam Bombay!, Mina Nair's look into kids living on the streets of Bombay, India.

The story's awfully familiar. The boys scrape by, in this case selling tea, while the girls are pimped out as virgins for hire. Eventually our hero (Shafiq Syed) finds his money stolen, so he has to turn to a life of crime. Really, one wonders why he didn't become a criminal in the first place.

Mira Nair, who would eventually become best known for directing more lighthearted fare like Monsoon Wedding, is a little conflicted here. She wants to make a gritty film but doesn't have the stomach for it. Her characters end up wandering about the movie for an eternity, the same side stories happening again and again... or in this case, very little of anything happening at all.

In the end, Salaam Bombay! is easy enough to watch, but it's pretty tame and harmless despite its mature themes and intent. With Salaam, Nair proves an early ability with a camera and at getting performances out of obviously inexperienced actors, but her writing talents are much sketchier. A bigger story taking advantage of the unique settings and faces would have served the picture much better.

15 years after release, MGM is reissuing Salaam Bombay! on DVD, adding six short documentaries about the film, plus full-length commentary from Nair and another from cinematographer Sandi Sissel. Fans of the Indian cinema won't want to miss it.



Salaam Bombay!

Facts and Figures

Run time: 113 mins

In Theaters: Friday 7th October 1988

Box Office Worldwide: $2.1M

Distributed by: Mainline Pictures Ltd

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 11 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 8.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Chillum, as Baba Golub

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