It was called a casting coup in Indian cinematic history, with 20 industry stalwarts sharing screen space for a single anthem that personified the rich and cultural contribution of Bollywood films over 100 glittering years.
So, what went wrong?
That is the question that has burned up timelines in social media chat rooms and the blogosphere in the past 48 hours, as the ‘Bombay Talkies’ anthem drew heavy criticism from fans and purists for its “lack of imagination” said one, its “glaring omission of including iconic celebs”, along with “lacklustre choreography and limpid music composition.”
The film, which hosted its world premiere over the weekend in Mumbai, drew in accolades for its four film directors, namely Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap and Dibakar Banerjee, for their crisp directorial skills over the four short films that are weaved into a single feature as a tribute to Indian cinema.
However, the release of its music video, ‘Apna Bombay Talkies’, which also hit the airwaves over the over the weekend featuring a galaxy of stars couldn’t garner such a unanimous opinion.
But where are the Bachchans?
With 100 years of cinema celebrations unspooling on the silver screen in this tribute music video, the makers have roped in stalwarts such as Aamir and Shah Rukh Khan, along with Madhuri Dixit, Sridevi, Juhi Chawla, Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Rani Mukherji, Saif Ali Khan, wife Kareena Kapoor, Karisma Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Anil Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Imran Khan, Shahid Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Ranveer Singh.
Which appears dandy, but surely if there is a celebration of the century, where are iconic legends such as Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan?
The duo, along with Shah Rukh, recently even graced a cover of a popular film magazine that paid tribute to the very milestone that ‘Apna Bombay Talkies’ is singing an ode to.
For that matter, also notably absent from this video are legends such Dharamendra (in fact, the entire Deol family), Hema Malini, Waheeda Rehman, along with today’s stars, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Kajol.
The absence has not gone unnoticed, with prolific author and columnist Shobhaa De asking: “Not a single shot of Salman Khan in parade of Bollywood Greats ‘Bombay Talkies’? His absence registered more than several presences.”
Mental Monika wrote: “Why is Ranveer Singh in ‘Bombay Talkies’ song? He’s done two films! Where are Amitabh, Rekha, Hema, Dharmendra? They represent B-town. Not Ranveer.”
Dubai-based Krithika Manchan said: “They picked actors like Sonam Kapoor, whose only contribution to Bollywood has been a handful of flop films. Imran Khan is a step above, but just barely.
“If they were focussing on Bollywood dynasties, then surely the Deols, Sunny and Bobby, needed presence; Hema Malini and Dharmendra needed screen space, as did the Bachchans. This is ridiculous.”
Off key anyone?
Composed by Amit Trivedi, the song also features a galaxy of singers from the ages, including Sunidhi Chauhan, Shaan, Kavita Krishnamoorthy, SP Balasubramaniam, Abhijeet, Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik, Mohit Chauhan, Sonu Nigam, Sudhesh Bhosle, Shreya Ghosal, Shilpa Rao, Udit Narayan, KK and Sukhwinder Singh.
Phew! With a list this long, the song must be path breaking.
However, some fans think otherwise.
Rasha Alam wrote: “The worst done tribute to Indian cinema ever. Seriously. I love these stars but this is awful – ‘Bombay Talkies’.”
Sachin Shukla wrote: “This ‘Bombay Talkies’ song could have been made much better. No?”
Savitashri Luna said: “I was expecting the same magic as the ‘Om Shanti Om’ song but just heard a bad song with no magic, no dance just a bad ad for Indian cinema who deserves much better. And why did Rani wear such an awful dress?”
Choreographed by Vaibhavi Merchant, the song features the actresses dressed in gold, while the men in suits, but even the video presentation has come under criticism.
AK said: “It’s weird that this song turned out to be so disappointing, what with the hottest composer and a lot of talented people backing it up. Maybe it was all done in a rush; the botched CGI suggests it.”
Whatever the real reason may be as to why the song did not touch many hearts, here’s hoping the film weaves the magic of Bollywood.