Arvind Swamy, Manisha Koirala, Tinnu Anand
Both a critical and box office hit, Mani Ratnam’s multi-award winning romantic musical Bombay (1995) is one of the highest grossing Chennai (Tamil language) films of all time; with a virtuoso score by A. R. Rahman (Oscar winner for his music for Slumdog Millionaire) that’s now regarded a masterpiece.
Shekhar (Arvind Swamy) and Shaila (Manisha Koirala) are in love, and though neither of their parents approve of their relationship – he is the son of orthodox Hindus, she a Muslim – they decide to elope.
Starting a family in Mumbai, they raise their children to appreciate both of their families’ faiths and cultures. But then civil unrest – in the form of the 1992-1993 Hindu-Muslim riots, stemming from the demolition of the Babri Masjid mosque in northern India by Hindu nationalists, results in a horrific situation – and Shekar and Shahla’s parents are forced to confront their differences in order to save their family.
Controversial on its release due to its political content (it was banned in Singapore and Malaysia), it’s a riveting and immensely moving film, with scenes of violence and frenzied rioting offset by superbly choreographed songs shot in dazzling locations.