Salaam Bombay! (1988)
1. Pay attention to Krishna, the other children (Manju,
sweet sixteen) and the adults (Baba, his wife, Chillum). Analyze
the themes of a. family relationships and b. comradship and betrayal
the importance of family and home to Krishna:
e.g. Why does he need 500 rupees? (his relations with
his brother-setting fire to his brother's bike)
His letter; his "name" in Bombay--Chaipau
His "family" in Bombay--Chillum,
Manju and her mother, the sweet 16
Chillum--drifting all over India, no friends, a drug addict
Manju's family--a father (Baba) who lives on his wife's prostitution (called
pimp); Is the mother a good mother?
comradship and betrayal: Krishna's relationships with the other street
2. Bombay and its social problems of poverty, drug dealing,
prostitution and class difference.
class difference and the depiction of slum--drug & prostitution; e.g.
the wedding banquet scene
(Chungal is not afraid of beating up the rich kid, but later Krishna
and Manju are caught by the police being suspected of stealing money.)
Dominant scenes --train station; the first few cuts between the homeless
and the statues.
3. the national/colonial and the personal
the role foreigners--the journalist, the one who buys drug from Chillum
the role of the State--"Chiller room" (Children's room) as the State's
intervention in "solving" the social problems, cricket game,
the role of religion (image of Ganesh at the end)
the roles of music and movie (the song "Hawaii girl"), movies e.g. the
children's singing love songs after robbing money
History of the movie:
"The history of the making of "Salaam Bombay!" is almost as interesting
as the film itself. The filmmakers gathered a group of the street children
of Bombay and talked with them about their experiences,
visiting the streets and train stations, bazaars and red-light
districts where many of them lived. Out of these interviews emerged a screenplay
that was a composite of several lives. Then many of the children were enlisted
for weeks in a daily workshop, not to teach them "acting" (for that they
already knew from hundreds of overacted Indian film melodramas),
but to teach them how to behave naturally in front of the camera."
"When he arrives in Bombay, Krishna finds a lowly job as a chaipau
(one who delivers tea) in a red-light district with its splashy bordellos."
The protagonist-- Krishna
The director, Mira Nair
"The highly acclaimed director from India, Mira Nair leapt into the
world's spotlight with her film Salaam, Bombay! This film is considered
by many to be her best work although she may be better known for the controversial
subject matter of her latest film Kama Sutra: A tale of Love. "
Indian Film: The
Indian Film Industry