Film was a special presentation and had its first screening at LFF earlier today…
Gitanjali Rao, the director of ‘Bombay Rose‘, talks to acv’s Momtaz Begum-Hossain about her film which is an animated screen feature.
At the heart of it is a love story between a Muslim young man and a Hindu young woman and its plays on themes often covered in Indian cinema, both from Bollywood now and an earlier period too.
It enjoys one more further screening at LFF on Sunday, October 13 and then heads for its Indian premiere at the Mumbai Film Festival (October 17-24).
This interview was shot at The May Fair Hotel in London on Ocotber 11 2019. Apologies for the sound quality – the hotel’s generators (behind the interview area) could not be switched off.
The London Film Festival continues until tomorrow (Sunday, October 13).
For this film, see here… 3.10pm, Vue, Cranbourn St (Leicester Square)
Producer: Sailesh Ram (editor of www.asianculturevulture.com)
Presenter: Momtaz Begum-Hossain (http://www.twitter.com/The CraftCafe)
Camera/editing: Harry Clegg (http://www.harryclegg.com/filmography)
A colourful and captivating tale of love that will stir the most hardened romantic…
By Momtaz Begum-Hossain
DESCRIBED as a ‘love letter’ to the city, ‘Bombay Rose’ is a fresh offering from the world of Indian indie cinema; it’s an animation for a start.
Secondly, this all-encompassing passion project belongs to one lady: Gitanjali Rao. Not only has she written and edited the film, she made the original artwork from which the film was developed – with as many as 80 animators working on the film.
It was a labour of love that took six years to complete. It’s an impressive feat and it’s not been done in vain. ‘Bombay Rose’ is a gem of a watch.
The film unfolds around several plots such as the love story of young Hindu woman Kamala (Cyli Khare) who falls for Muslim Salim (Amir Deondi), a side story about the seedier side of city life and one that touches on child labour: but these aren’t the aspects you’ll remember.
The beauty of ‘Bombay Rose’ lies in the details and little moments of magic. They include seeing ageing actress Mrs D’Souza (Amardeep Jha) teach Kamala’s younger sister Tara English by educating her in different colours of roses, observing the girls’ grandfather fix broken watches and witnessing how his relationship with a local street child blossoms over time.
Bombay is reflected as a city of hopes and dreams where fantasy often becomes reality, drifting into ‘item number’ style sequences which in conventional movies might consist of dancing on Swiss mountains, but here are even more fantastical with scenes of flying animals and fairytale kingdoms that make the romance feel mythological.
Rao’s illustrations and artwork have a block coloured simplicity to them. She’s chosen a warm palette of Autumnal shades like oranges, reds and browns which give the visuals a consistent look.
Bollywood fans will find surprise moments of pleasure notably the reoccurring presence of an actor who has an uncanny resemblance to Salman Khan and item song ‘Yeh Mera Di’ which also makes an appearance.
As the stories of the characters unfold it’s easy to get swept up into their world so that when they take an emotional turn you may well find yourself welling up as I did (take tissues!)
‘Bombay Rose’ is an enjoyable and rewarding watch. Few animated features have been made by Indian filmmakers and Rao’s debut will serve as a blueprint for future productions, but don’t wait until they’re made. Be the one who witnessed the start of this revolution for yourself.
ACV rating: **** (out of 5)