Shot In Bombay

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Review byMatthew Turner17/01/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 101 mins

Entertaining documentary, enlivened by colourful characters, a fast-paced, chaotic style and a fascinating true story. Mind blowing!

What's it all about?
Directed by American film-maker Liz Mermin and filmed over six months in Mumbai, Shot In Bombay takes a unique look behind the scenes of Bollywood gangster movie Shootout at Lokhandwala, based on a notorious real life shootout. Aside from the usual production problems, the shoot hits a major snag when its star, screen legend Sanjay Dutt, is summoned to court for sentencing, after an illegal arms possession court case that began 14 years earlier.

Using a chaotic but effective style, the film follows three different strands: the making of the film, courtesy of hotshot director Apoorva Lakhia; a look at Bombay's criminal underworld and the actual events surrounding the notorious shootout; and the trials and tribulations surrounding Dutt's long-running court case - was he really involved in India's largest terrorist attack or was he just being, as one observer puts it, foolishly macho?

The Good
Mermin has been granted astonishing access for her film: aside from being present at every aspect of the film's production, she also wangled several interviews with A.A. Khan, the controversial cop (known as Mumbai's Dirty Harry) at the centre of the real life shooting. As such, it's genuinely fascinating to see real life news footage of the incident alongside the bombastic action movie version.

The Great
However, Khan is just one of several colourful and amusing characters: Lakhia is particularly entertaining, shouting, swearing and yelling, Mind blowing! Superb! Print it! after every take, just like Ed Wood in Tim Burton's Ed Wood. There's also Dutt himself (giving what would become his last interview before his arrest in 2007) and ultra-vain superstar Vivek Oberoi, who becomes sentimentally attached to his character, despite the fact that his character is the villain.

Worth seeing?
In short, Shot In Bombay is an extremely entertaining, frequently amusing documentary that's well worth seeking out. Recommended.

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Content updated: 20/02/2020 18:33

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