Bombay or Bust

A sneak peak into Kaizad Gustad’s directorial debut, Bombay Boys
By Jasmyn Singh

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Bombay Boys is an ambitious first film that showcases the promising talents of director Kaizad Gustad. Gustad, who trained at NYU School of Film, uses his writing and directorial debut to create an entertaining romp that captures the bizarre realities of one of the world's most exciting and chaotic centres, Bombay.

Bombay Boys examines the perceptions and expectations of India held by expatriates and the perceptions of Indians themselves towards desi foreigners. The film revolves around the fast paced, comical mis-adventures of three young, handsome South Asian men from London, New York and Melbourne. Taking a cue from typical Bollywood cinema, the three men, unexpectedly forge a friendship which provides the premise for hijinks, personal revelation, and subtle sarcasm.

Naveen Andrews (The English Patient, Kama Sutra), plays Krishan, an American Hindu and recent graduate of NYU acting school, who comes to India to audition for the famous Bollywood film industry. Rahul Bose [English August) is Ricardo, the Australian of Goan decent, in search of his long lost brother. Alexander Gifford plays Xeres, a Londoner seeking musical inspiration and sexual identity.

Bombay Boys helps to fill a void in South Asian cinema, The film explores the often overlooked themes of homosexuality in India, the "Western modernisation" of urban India, and the role of expatriate Indians in glamorising India. Gustad astutely observes the Bombay annoyance and animosity toward the 'desi foreigner' The film particularly satires the Western perception of India as a spiritual sanctuary. Roshan Seth, who plays the gay Parsi landlord, articulates a central question posed by the film: "Why is India a cheap shrink for the world's lunatics?" The film also parodies and pays homage to Bombay's most glamorous and famous industry, Bollywood.

Why is India a cheap shrink for the world's lunatics?

Two Bollywood heavyweights are amongst the films cast.

Naseeruddin Shah portrays the central villain and evil mobster/filmmaker Don Mastana, in an hysterical, over-the-top manner. Tara Deshpande plays the street smart, enticing heroine who is the love interest of both Mastana and Ricardo. The plot line loosely incorporates elements of Bollywood films - forbidden love, villainy, melodrama, and, ultimately, a romantic conclusion.

Gustad's script is abundant with hysterical parody of Bollywood, ranging from a lesson in the fundamentals of vulgar dance choreography, to the ad-hoc selection of directors for films.

Bombay Boys has the typical flaw of a first film: it is over ambitious in scope. Gustad attempts to incorporate wry parody, a typical mainstream love story, and heady commentary regarding the émigré experience in one film. As a consequence, Bombay Boys suffers from gun-shy editing, which makes the film cluttered and too long. The script constantly alternates from amusing satire to melodrama, particularly mid-scene. These transitions often lack fluidity and the film becomes a collection of smart, stylish moments that do not always meld with the theatrical and sensationalistic plot. Bombay Boys, for the most part, is a promising debut, establishing Gustad as a filmaker to note and follow in the coming years

Handprint design by Sherazad Jamal.
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Jasmyn Singh
Jasymn Singh is a writer that resides in Toronto and Vancouver.
Rungh Redux Winner 2022 Award of Merit Innovative Practice
Rungh Redux Winner 2022 Award of Merit Innovative Practice
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