In Nark’s heart-breaking feature debut, a young boy living on the streets of Bombay as encounters with a heroin-addled drug dealer, a sixteen-year-old virgin sold into prostitution, and an unbalanced pimp and his prostitute wife and mistreated daughter, whilst he works away, hoping to save up enough money to pay off a family debt and return to his home village.
A number of affecting performances, a bold use of music, and some rather idiosyncratic pacing and editing combine to powerful effect. The Best view I Salaam Bombay! – “The original Slumlord Millionaire” Posted on 30 March 2009 by Jason Best When Mira Nark’s moving tribute to the resilience of Bombay street children was iris seen in 1988, it drew comparisons with Francis Truffle’s The 400 Blows for its unflinching depiction of a deprived young boys struggle against the odds. Twenty- odd years later, the point of reference has changed.
Now Nark’s film is “the original Slumlord Millionaire”. Like Slumlord, her film has a homeless young protagonist battling to survive by his wits on the city teeming streets: here the young hero is 10 or 11-year-old Krishna (played by Shafts Seed) who comes to Bombay after being abandoned by the traveling circus that has been his home. There he gets a Job as a he inhabitants of a fetid corner of the city red-light district. And, again anticipating Slumlord, he befriends a girl whose virginity goes up for sale to the highest bidder.
Unlike Slumlord, however, Salaam Bombay! Doesn’t sweeten its depiction of poverty with flooded fantasy, but Nair does nevertheless convey the energy and vitality that here co-exists with extreme deprivation. With a background in documentary flimflamming, Nair shot Salaam Bombay! Entirely on location, after first conducting workshops among Bombay real-life street children and using their true stories as he basis for her screenplay. This, too, is how she found her young star, the remarkable Seed.
Just as Truffle’s The 400 Blows (Less Equates Cent Coups) won the Best Director award at Cannes in 1959, and Just as Slumlord Millionaire has been garlanded with prizes, Nark’s gritty and compassionate movie met with well-deserved kudos, winning the Camera door at Cannes in 1988. Following this success, Nair went on to direct a string of acclaimed movie, both in India and the West, including Mississippi Marshal, Kamala Sutra: A Tale of Love, Vanity Fair and the magical Monsoon Wedding, but you could argue that Salaam Bombay! Remains her greatest achievement.
Released 30th March Francis Truffle’s The 400 Blows is being re-released in UK cinemas on 10th April. This entry was posted in DVD Releases, The Best View and tagged 400 Blows, Cannes, Francis Truthful, Kamala Sutra, Mira Nair, Mississippi Miasmal, Monsoon Wedding, Iambi, Salaam Bombay, Shift Seed, Slumlord Millionaire, Vanity Fair. Bookmark the permanent.
I have adopted two orphaned children from India in 1992 and 1996 – one girl and one boy. Whilst there I have been to the shantytowns myself. I have seen extreme poverty and despair first hand. It was a harrowing experience, which I will never forget. I get very emotional when I watch Salaam Bombay as it brings back memories. I think of my beautiful son and daughter who could have need up like the characters in the film.
I have seen Slumlord Millionaire only recently and it instantly reminded me of Salaam Bombay. Having received so many Oscar I expected much more from this film and must say I was a bit disappointed. And yes that’s right Nark’s film is “the original Slumlord Millionaire – which should have received all these Oscar back then ! Eve seen both films and would argue that Slumlord Millionaire, packs a real memorable and emotional punch that Salaam Bombay lacks.
Maybe it’s the modern aka with the vibrant colors and music that do it for me, but absolutely believe Slumlord is the better movie. Having been out to Iambi recently and having stayed close to the airport and therefore some of the slums Pad Patti), you really feel for basics. Interestingly I did hear from some of the locals that they have been offered alternative accommodation, so that the government can develop this prime-land. They simply don’t want to move, and are happy with their lives. Amazing, but I can see the attraction of sticking to what you know, and where you feel safe.