A completely nonsensical film, ‘Bombairiya’ contains nothing of the supposed ethos of Mumbai, a city that it purports to sing its paeans to. With its eclectic mix of manipulative politicians, bad actors, police officers who double as encounter specialists, and second rate gangsters who are stupid enough to succumb to their erratic tactics, this metropolis has had bad Hindi movies made about it for decades.
The script of this film is no different. It throws up a lofty ideal and then quickly buries it in the absurdly meandering plot of its narrative. To solve its perennial problems with the functioning of its criminal justice system, say the writers and director of this movie, the State Government needs to bring in a ‘witness protection program’. Once this is structured into courts in a foolproof way, witnesses will no longer be afraid to testify, cases can be brought to a swift conclusion, and, most importantly, the police won’t need to bump off suspects before they come to trial, especially in the extortion and gangster related crimes of Mumbai.
While it displays this notion of an exemplary model of jurisprudence in an occasional statement or headline every now and then, the rest of the film is concerned with trivia. It is about how the Radhika Apte character loses one of her shoes and her cell phone in a roadside scuffle, and how this incident is a trigger for the unravelling of a plot peopled with gangsters, policemen, a very persistent vigilante (Akshay Oberoi) and an equally single-minded married movie star, who is, apparently, her boyfriend of the moment (Ravi Kishan).
The cell phone has a video of Radhika Apte taking a shower, shot by the movie star, and so must be recovered at all costs, for the sake of the privacy of both participants. The vigilante, a fan of comic book action heroes, has modelled himself on their brave deeds, and firmly believes that Ms. Apte needs to be rescued, from someone or something – he is never very sure of who or what. He also happens to have a crush on her, which, naturally, blurs his vision of reality somewhat. Not that blurred perspectives matter too much in a movie that is a wild goose chase, from one red herring to another.
Radhika Apte has top billing in the film, but is unable to do any justice to her role. By working in so many films, in so short a period, she has ended up highlighting the idea that she may well have a single fixed tenor to her performances. Stuck on a single note, both in facial expression and voice tone, her prolific output may not work out to her advantage.
In short, ‘Bombairiya’ is a disappointing film that should be given a miss.