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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Salaam Bombay! [Blu-ray]

 

(Mira Nair, 1988)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC)

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:54:25.859

Disc Size: 44,562,713,548 bytes

Feature Size: 36,554,582,016 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: December 8th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio Hindi 1897 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1897 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48
kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentaries:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1557 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1557 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1558 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1558 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

• Audio Commentary With Director Mira Nair
Audio Commentary With Cinematographer Sandi Sissel
Five Original Documentaries Shot In India: The Color in the Hand of a Painter (6:31), I Got Love (6:31), It Gave Me a Career (6:54), No Guts, No Glory (6:56), One Chance in a Million (7:04) and So Kids Like Us Can Learn Forever (10:49)
Original Theatrical Trailer (1:35)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: From director Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding), Salaam Bombay! is a ""brilliantly achieved, stunning and powerful"" (Los Angeles Times) film that ""burst onto the Indian cinema scene with the force of a tornado"" (Time Out London)! Winner of the Camera d'Or at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival and nominated for Best Foreign Film Oscar in 1989, this riveting look at life on the hardened streets of Bombay went on to accumulate accolades and awards across the globe!


Forced to leave his family at a very young age, Krishna (Shafiq Syed) lives on the streets with pimps, prostitutes, drug addicts and other homeless children. He earns very little money but it s more than most delivering tea so he can return home to his family. But his honest plan is foiled when his hard-earned money is stolen by his closest friend, forcing Krishna to follow in the footsteps of so many street children of Bombay...by turning to a life of crime.

 

 

The Film:

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 tea. Soon, everyone in the downtrodden neighborhood knows him as "Chaipau" (tea boy). Krishna wants to save five hundred rupees, enough money to get back into his mother's good graces and return home. Chillum (Raghubir Yadav), a streetwise young man who deals drugs for the local kingpin, Baba (Nana Patekar), takes Krishna under his wing. The sly but cruel Baba has a mistress, Rekha (Aneeta Kanwar), who works as a prostitute. She has a young daughter, Manju (Hansa Vithal), who has a crush on Krishna, but Krishna only has eyes for the girl they call "Sweet Sixteen," a virginal teenager who is being forced into prostitution. Eventually, Baba fires the surly Chillum, and Krishna finds himself struggling to keep Chillum alive by supporting his drug habit. Many of the roles in the film are played by non-actors, including the street kids, and an actual madame who allowed Nair to film scenes in her brothel. The Harvard-educated Nair began her filmmaking career working on documentaries. Salaam Bombay!, her narrative feature debut, won worldwide critical acclaim.

Excerpt from MRQElocated HERE

 

The streets of Bombay teem with children begging, dealing, sleeping rough, surviving. Working on a scale that would make Dickens envious, Nair draws together the seemingly disparate threads of life in a red-light district, centering around the experience of an 11-year-old boy who runs away from his village. At first frightened and alienated, he soon becomes part of a complex hierarchy of exploitation, abuse and affection as he befriends the prostitutes, drug-dealers and children of the streets. Far from being episodic or disjointed, the film brings the lives of all its characters into a common embrace, never pointing a finger of blame but constantly emphasizing the difficulties and dangers that surround young and old alike. Shot entirely on location with its child actors recruited from the streets, Salaam Bombay! enters into its subjects' lives with rare authority and absolute compassion, the material generated largely from workshops that Nair and her team ran for a period of months prior to filming. A revelation for audiences of any background.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Kino Lorber Blu-ray have put Salaam Bombay! to a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate.  The 1080P visuals look quite strong in-motion. As stated in her commentary, cinematographer, Sandi Sissel tell us that the film's saffron tone is because the storage in India destroyed a blue layer of the print's color. It was reproduced but the warm tones are really an accident of processing. Actually I see colors (greens) having some depth and the heaviness of the images look very film-like to me. The many outdoor sequences looks true and the darker scenes export no noise. The source is clean and is a fine representation as far as I can discern - better than I was anticipating. This Blu-ray gave me an extremely watchable, viewing presentation in HD.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Kino use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel in the original Hindi language at 1897 kbps (24-bit). The street sounds are wholly natural and sound authentic without significant depth. The sitar-based score is by L. Subramaniam and works perfectly in the film along with Indian songs; Chin Chin Chu, Hava Hawaii, Chillum, Dum Dum Dee Dee and others. It all sounds realistic and audible via the 24-bit lossless. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Not one but two, English-language, commentaries - the first by director Mira Nair going through the the motivational desire to do the story through many facets of production. Wonderfully informative. There is a second with cinematographer Sandi Sissel focusing more on the visuals, locations etc. and noting an adoption of one of the boys from the film - who is now her son (and assistant cinematographer). Plus we get five short video pieces shot in India: The Color in the Hand of a Painter runs 6.5 minutes with Aneeta Kanwar (Rekha) discussing, in English, her experiences making the film, I Got Love runs a similar time with Hansa Vithal (Manju), It Gave Me a Career spends 7-minutes with screenwriter Sooni Taraporevala (in English), No Guts, No Glory takes 7-minutes with Bernard Sissel (Keera), One Chance in a Million is 7-minutes with Shafiq Syed (Krishna) and So Kids Like Us Can Learn Forever runs 11-minutes with individuals from the Salaam Balak Trust 15-years after the film as made. There is also an original theatrical trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Salaam Bombay! is an exceptional film. Gut wrenching story and told beautifully by Nair. The Kino Lorber Blu-ray is an impressive package - they have not scrimped at all here - and should make some noise in our year-end poll. It's 45% OFF pre-order at Amazon and my advice is don't wait - this is a film you want to see! Our highest recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

December 3rd, 2015

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Gary W. Tooze

 

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