A 100 years ago on 3 May, India's first full-length Indian feature film "Raja Harishchandra" helmed by filmmaker Dadasaheb Phalke was released.
A century later on the very same date, "Bombay Talkies" - a tribute to 100 years of Indian cinema - hit the screens. "Bombay Talkies" is a combination of four short films, each directed by Zoya Akhtar, Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap and Dibakar Banerjee.
The anthology film features an ensemble cast including megastar Amitabh Bachchan, Rani Mukherjee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vineet Kumar, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Katrina Kaif, Aamir Khan and Ranbir Kapoor among others.
The film has garnered good reviews from critics. While some have rated it with 3.5 stars, others have given it a top score of five.
Check out what critics have to say about the film:
Mohar Basu of Koimoi.com said: "Bombay Talkies in each of its story is indeed magnum opus. While these gently framed short films are individually the few most unbeatable concepts of recent times, the film's major pitfall is that the stories have no thematic link or relevance to the overall rationale. Despite the glitches, the ensemble film is indeed a must watch for Karan Johar's powerful story, Dibakar Banerjee's minute detailing, Zoya Akhtar's technical prowess and Anurag Kashyap's splendid script; with special emphasis on phenomenal performances from Rani Mukerji and Nawazuddin Siddiqui.?
"When there are four most talented new age film makers compiling an anthology film to celebrate a century of Indian cinema, it is natural for comparisons to arise. Personally, the most poignant story for me was Karan Johar's. Dealing with the societal cringe on homosexuality, the film unravels how queer sexuality is mostly preferred hidden inside the closet of the social stamp of marriage.
"There aren't many stars to talk about as the entire onus of the film is how the directors framed it. Yet, there are actors who have to be mentioned. Rani Mukerji has never looked more beautiful before. Despite the extra kilos she has acquired, she looks stunning.
"Bombay Talkies is a novel concept, glistening with bravura short films. With the script predominating the film's flavor, it is a sincere attempt to provide a Eulogy for Bollywood. The passion and craze for cinema in India dictates most part of the film. Here's a piece of advice -Walk out of the hall before the 20 star song."
Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama said: "The four stories in BOMBAY TALKIES -- made at a stipulated budget of Rs 1.5 cr each, the duration not exceeding 20/25 minutes -- are entwined in one film. Of course, experiments like this, when one or multiple raconteurs join hands to narrate distinctive stories, aren't new.
"A film like BOMBAY TALKIES gives an opportunity to film-makers to step out of their comfort zone and try to create something novel. It's a podium that does not necessarily cater to the box-office or the diaspora alone. Also, it helps the film-maker to tap the latent talent that he/she possesses, but it's never nurtured due to commercial constraints. The challenge lies in not merely narrating a story within a budget, but also narrating a tale effectively encompassing myriad emotions...
"On the whole, BOMBAY TALKIES is one of those infrequent movies wherein you get to eyeball the superior efforts of four top notch film-makers in less than two hours. This reality alone makes the film a compelling watch, while the superior performances and absorbing themes that the movie prides itself in only serve as an icing on the cake. This celebration of cinema is a must watch!"
Tushar Joshi of DNA said: "The first thing that strikes you about Bombay Talkies is how pre-release the four directors have overshadowed a stellar ensemble with the likes of Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukerji. But then as you read the names - Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar and Anurag Kashyap, it is evident why these directors can actually lure in audiences at the ticket window.
"With each one of them being successful in delivering commercial hits, Bombay Talkies offers them a platform to indulge and explore another side of their creativity. Mind you these aren't necessarily art-house stories and each chapter has that signature stamp of their makers.
"Bombay Talkies is a format that needs to be praised for its concept. The sequencing of the stories works and the pace is swift, never showing signs of lethargy. If this was a tribute to 100 years of cinema, then we need to have an array of directors from different genres pay such homages more often."
Subhash K Jha of IANS said: "A girl on a railway station who croons Lata Mangeshkar songs with aching luminosity, a stoic gluttonous ostrich, a flirty cocky gay entertainment journalist, a closet actor, a little boy who likes to dance like Katrina Kaif and a man from Allahabad who just wants to meet Amitabh Bachchan for a few seconds ... Such are the engrossing characters that populate the unforgettable world of Bombay Talkies.
"Bombay Talkies" is that rarity, which makes us thankful for the gift of the movies.
"Four stories directed by four contemporary Bollywood directors emerge and merge with seamless splendor into a pastiche of pain and pleasure. Like four scoops of ice cream, one yummier than the other, "Bombay Talkies" serves up a flavourful quartet of delights that leave us craving for more. The film story is like that song - "Abhi na jao chhod kar ke dil abhi bhara nahin".
"Bombay Talkies" is segmented and layered, yet cohesive and compelling from the first frame to the last. While unravelling the magic of cinema and its impact on the minds of audiences, "Bombay Talkies" also displays how much cinema has evolved over the generations.
"This is a beguiling, beautiful and befitting homage to 100 years of Indian cinema. It's also proof that different stories in an episodic film could comfortably have directors with different sensitivities staring in the same line of vision. If you watch only one film a year, make sure it's this one."