12th October 2019 4.00pm at Curzon Soho
13th October 2019 3.10pm at Vue West End
Bombay Rose is an intriguing picture. Primarily following the romantic exploits of a flower seller (Geetanjali Kulkarni) as he seeks to win the heart of Kamala (Cyli Khare), the girl across the street, we journey from movie theatre to nightclub and into the private lives of older generations in an exploration of love and loss. An immense amount of time and effort went into the creation of this film, with 60 artists working tirelessly for 18 months to create the frame-by-frame painted animation. And yet it seems that investment into the narrative structure was sacrificed at the cost of its visuals.
At its core, Bombay Rose is a gorgeous love story, wonderfully illustrated and detailed in its attention to its heritage. The artwork is exquisite, its colour palette bursting with the vibrant shades of India and suffusing the mean streets of Mumbai with rays of hope as our heroes battle against those who wish to put a stop to their happiness. The soundtrack is inspired by the surrounding culture and accompanies the characters as they continue with their lives, most movingly as one individual, Ms D’Souza (Amardeep Jha), resides in the memory of her past love, walking the streets as they are washed in a nostalgic grey and modern vehicles turn back the wheels of time. A truly lovely sequence.
However, it feels as though there is a little too much going on a lot of the time, the picture following many storylines that unfortunately detract from rather than illuminate each other, and it takes a long time to reach climactic moments. The film’s abstract pacing is creative but curious: the parallel plots awkwardly intersect each other, disturbing not only the story arc itself but the feeling of any natural progression. The result is an inevitable drag that finally picks up in the last act.
It’s a lovely idea and an excellent visual experience, but a little more care should have been taken with the screenplay in order to turn this artistic beauty into a fully-fledged feature-length spectacle. Nonetheless, it is still a very unusual and welcome addition to the festival circuit from director Gitanjali Rao, opening the door to a land halfway across the world and the simple yet sometimes magically exciting lives of the visionaries and romantics who inhabit it.
Bombay Rose does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for Bombay Rose here: