Mirza’s investigation (‘My own self, split 500 times’) of what it means to be a Muslim in a working-class Bombay neighbourhood controlled by criminals. Set in Bombay’s Do Tanki area, the film features Salim, a petty thief, in a world peopled by policemen, smugglers and an assortment of crooks. Salim’s father still suffers the after-effects of Bombay’s famous textile strike (1982) and his mother earns some money as an outworker sewing, but Salim has to support both of them as well as his sister Anees. He reforms after meeting Aslam, Anees’s poor but educated suitor, but is eventually killed in a fatalistic ending. Despite the film’s technical excellence, the presentation of a doomed hero via a quasi-documentry, street-level realism makes the film a voyeuristic experience allowing viewers to feel sorry for the unfortunates in their city.
Did you know?
Naseeruddin Shah was offered the film but turned it down. Read More