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Salaam Bombay!

Salaam Bombay! (1988)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 0



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Average Rating: 4.1/5
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Movie Info

Shot on-location on the streets of Bombay, Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay! is the gritty tale of Krishna (Shafiq Syed, a runaway discovered by Nair), a boy kicked out of his home, and abandoned by the traveling circus he had joined. In desperation, he uses the little money he has to buy a one-way ticket to the nearest city, which turns out to be Bombay. "Come back a movie star," the ticket agent tells him mockingly. In Bombay, Krishna joins a small community of street kids, and gets a job delivering


Art House & International, Drama

Mar 4, 2003

Mainline Pictures Ltd

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All Critics (16) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (1) | DVD (6)

The director's experience making documentaries served her well as she worked for weeks with the kids who inhabit Bombay's backstreets.

February 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
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A savvy, unsentimentalized first feature by director Mira Nair.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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Nair has been able to make a film that has the everyday, unforced reality of documentary, and yet the emotional power of great drama.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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honest and haunting portrait

May 28, 2008 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

Nair's debut, winner of Cannes Festival Camera d'Or, tells the harrowing story of one boy's life among thieves, prostitutes and drug dealers. Though inspired by De Sica, Babenco, and Ray, it acheves distinctive intensity and color from its unique locale

October 4, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Will take your breathe away with its harrowing portrait of the deprivations endured by a hungry and homeless boy.

August 28, 2004 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Mira Nair's feature debut is a moving and powerful look at people for whom survival itself is a major achievement.

July 2, 2003
Nitrate Online

Audience Reviews for Salaam Bombay!

Salaam Bombay! is the story of homeless children living in the streets of Bombay, following one little boy's story in particular. Krishna (also referred to in the movie as Chaipau) starts the film off working in the circus, where his mother has sent him to pay off a debt of 500 rupees he incurred through criminal misbehavior. When the circus leaves without him, he buys a ticket to the nearest big city, and begins to save up the money to be able to return home. But it's very hard to save money while living on the street, when your friends are junkies and thieves. Chaipau also befriends a young girl who's been sold to the local brothel, and is having difficulty adjusting to her new life in forced prostitution. Baba the pimp (he reminds me a little of Harvey Keitel's pimp from Taxi Driver), who lets his own wife turn tricks, is also a drug dealer, and is responsible for getting Chaipau's friend hooked. The movie has an air of familiarity to it, drugs, prostitution, homelessness have all been covered before (in the aforementioned Taxi Driver, for example), and the central point of view is highly reminiscent of the earlier film, 400 Blows. It also lacks the beauty of film-making that went into the latter Slumdog Millionaire (although there were a few scenes of visual and visceral cleverness). However, if one were looking to watch a film about the impoverished life on the streets of India, this would be the one to watch. It will stay with you for awhile.
January 12, 2010
Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

with slumdog millionaire perhaps set to win an academy award for best picture, it's a good time to check out mira nair's 1988 feature, salaam bombay, which makes slumdog look even more like a sugar-coated fairytale. the film used real street kids in a powerful drama about their poverty-stricken lives among drug addicts and prostitutes. like boyle's current film, it was criticized for showing a side of india some would rather not be seen. the film won many awards, drew attention to forgotten street children and raised money for a trust to help kids all over india. it may not have the feel good ending of slumdog but it's effects have been long lasting for it's subjects.
February 17, 2009
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

In the light of Slumdog Millionaire receiving praise, Salaam Bombay was recommended to me to compare in contrast. This is a remarkable Indian film directed by Mira Nair depicting the plight of Krishna, a ten-year-old boy. After being thrown out by his family and abandoned by new friends in a traveling circus, this resourceful youth winds up in Bombay's red-light district. Tutored by a drug addict and a prostitute, Krishna learns how to survive in the streets of the dirty and crowded city.

What's different about this one, is that it doesn't romanticize the life these children live. It manages a sympathetic portrait of life among the pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers and street people of Bombay without minimizing the horrors of their existence and without being completely depressing. It manages this by keeping focus on the good impulses of the not-yet-completely-corrupted children and the way they bond and try to help one another, and by not completely closing off the possibility that they will, somehow, be able to escape. Krishna's hope is to get enough money to go home, but his compassion for his friends, his naivete, and his efforts to help others get free make that goal an elusive one. Highly recommended.
January 20, 2009
El Hombre Invisible

Super Reviewer

Salaam Bombay! is a stark portrait of life on the streets for India's homeless children. This film is dedicated to these children and serves as a scathing indictment of India's neglect of them. I would guess that the Bombay Better Business Bureau, India Visitor's Bureau, and the Indian Departments of Human Services and Health and Social Welfare have not welcomed this film with open arms. Salaam Bombay! is another one, flixsters, where you had better be in a pretty upbeat mood if you're going to watch. It is tragic, and Shafiq Syed's loss of whatever approximation of childhood he may have had, his move from innocence to dark experience, magnificently symbolized by his inability to play with the top after the stabbing scene, is devastating.
March 30, 2007

Super Reviewer

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