Salaam Bombay

salaam bombayAs part of this month’s theme of children, I watched David’s recommendation: the 1988 debut feature from Indian director Mira Nair. It tells the mostly sad story of street children in Bombay. A boy is intentionally abandoned while working for a circus, and spends the rest of the film getting caught up in Bombay street life while trying to save money to return home.

There were moments of redemption for both the film and the characters, but mostly I found it a grueling viewing experience. The pain and suffering wasn’t gratuitous, nor were the shots of Bombay street life. But, it was still a bit hard to watch, and oddly, not as moving as I’d expected. It just felt a little flat throughout, to me.

I did appreciate the ending – loneliness in a sea of humanity. It felt like Krishna’s story, in a country of a billion, is nothing extraordinary. I found myself thinking coldly, God, India needs to get its shit together. I wondered if my lack of empathy was more an indictment of me, or was it that the film had missed opportunities to strike the right emotional notes.

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