Bombay Film Analysis

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“Bombay” directed by Mani Ratnam is a film about a family with religious confliction during the Bombay riots of the early nineties. In the film, religious conflicts are seen in two different settings, the city of Bombay and in the home village of Shekhar and Shaila. The setting greatly affects how religious conflicts are dealt with between Hindus and Muslims. This contrast can also be noted in “Voices from the Partition” by Urvashi Butalia and “Yesterday Man” by Omair Ahmad. The contrast of settings in “Bombay” is used to reveal the repetition of conflict and to demonstrate the affects on younger generations. “Bombay” begins in a village setting with Shekhar becoming infatuated with Shaila Bano. The two young people are blind to the conflict…show more content…
He goes to tell his Hindu father that he will marry Shaila, a Muslim girl in their village. The reactions from both families thereafter have a strong resemblance to the reaction of the Montagues and Capulets. Threats are made by one father to another but neither of them act on the threats made. They continue to live separate lives only antagonizing each other occasionally. In one scene, not only are threats made from one man to another, but the family/workers nearby start to yell and threaten to feud with each other, communal violence threatens to ensue. However, one of the men yells that blood should not be shed over such a matter and everyone parts ways. In “Voice from the Partition” by Urvashi Butalia, there is a quote on page 322 where a man she had interviewed explained how he believed Hindus and Sikhs treated Muslims. He explains that they were treated like a lower caste that had to be kept separate. He described this as them being the “untouchables.” They were not to share food and expected to have and wash their own utensils. They would throw food at Muslim guests to avoid touching them. This is seen, to a degree, in the village setting in “Bombay.” The two…show more content…
This creates the sense that these riots are perpetual and inevitable. And historically they appear to be this way. In both articles, the authors make comments about Partition as a moment that India and Pakistan cannot and will not let go of. In Ahmad’s “Yesterday Man,” we are introduced to a character named Arjun Singh who is forever haunted by the moment he handed over matches (that he was using as a disguise) that were then used to burn another Sikh man. He hires a private investigator to find the man that burned the man of his religion to provide closure for his regrets. Later, the reader discovers that the man Mr. Singh is looking for his also look for him to destroy a diary that recounts the same riot. These kinds of stories that are told and passed down are not warning of atrocity due to these conflicts but are said to be echoing emptily in the ears of younger generations. We see an older generation clinging to these moments in urban settings leading to more current conflicts combined with an increase of secularism in the younger generations. This causes a lack of understanding and communication in the urban settings these conflicts are depicted
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