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Movie: " Bombay"


I subcribe to the " blockbuster.com " service, which, like Netfix, sends you a stream of rental Movie DVDs via the mail for a low monthly fee. Both services are great, and allow you access to vast libraries of films that you might not otherwise be able to see.

Last night, I saw Bombay, an Indian film that was made in 1995. In the movie, a Hindu boy falls in love with a Muslim girl in the same village. This enrages the families, and the two escape to the big city of Bombay, get married and have two twin boys.

In 1992, when the boys are six, Bombay erupts in murderous Hindu vs Muslim riots after Hindus destryoed the old mosque at Ayodha which had been built atop an even older Hindu temple centuries ago. The Ayodha incident and the murderous riots really happened ; I remember reading about them.

You feel for the characters as they are slowly created over the first half of the movie. There are heartbreaking scenes as these people, including the two boys, are in the gravest danger as the mobs rampage through Bombay, asking " are you Muslim or Hindu "? The wrong answer means you are stabbed or burned alive in the street.

This is a political, antiwar film. Director Mani Ratnam has the characters make explicit statements against religious hatred and for Indians seeing themselves as Indians, as human beings.

This film is made for an Indian audience. It is sort of a musical, where there are many breaks where the characters break out in dance to Hindi songs, joyous or sad, some of which I really liked.

Up until the terrible scenes at the end, the film has lots of humor, including realistic banter between Shekhar ( the husband ) and his co-workers and neighbors in Bombay. Also, nice dreamlike scenes of the river village where the couple grew up.

I would see this movie again.

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