Starring: Cyli Khare, Gargi Shitole, Amardeep Jha, Anurag Kashyap and Makrand Deshpande
Director: Gitanjali Rao
Serious feature films set within an animated world are not all that common in India and this is what sets this romance apart from some of the other recent releases across streaming platforms. ‘Bombay Rose’ is set in a stylistically animated Mumbai, complete with the hustle and bustle of the city formerly known as Bombay.
Kamala is a flower seller who is living a hand-to-mouth existence as she works hard to earn enough to cover her younger sister’s school fees and her grandfather’s medical needs. She is forced to top up her meagre wages by secretly working as a bar dancer, fighting off the local pimp’s overtures along the way.
Salim, a young migrant to the big city from terror-ravaged Kashmir, is also a roadside flower vendor as a temporary stop gap before an acquaintance lives up to the promise of finding him a proper job.
The duo’s dull and dreary lives are somewhat uplifted as they fall in love in the course of their daily routine. The romance, which revolves around Salim sneaking a solitary rose into Kamala’s flower basket on a regular basis, blossoms over time without much conversation or rendezvous.
The pair are warned off this forbidden love that cuts across barriers of religion, with Kamala’s pimp threatening Salim over this doomed Hindu-Muslim alliance. However, the couple remain oblivious to this divide and seem determined to not let their fantasy be shattered. Will these star-crossed lovers overcome the many hurdles of religion and society or is their love doomed to end tragically?
Gitanjali Rao’s animated creation, released on this month, is a refreshing breath of fresh air with its colourful palette and eye-catching characters, who seem all too real. The story weaves in some serious complexities within its pleasant 97-minute run – from child labour and religious strife to the exploitation of migrant labour in an urban landscape – and manages to leave behind a heart-warming glow.
This is certainly one for a light-hearted watch but be prepared to get a bit teary too.