Mumbai's KingOriginal Title: Mumbai cha raja
Director: Manjeet Singh
India | Hindi
Subtitles: Arabic and English
is set during Ganesh Chaturthi, the vibrant and colourful festival devoted to Lord Ganesh,
the Hindu deity beloved as the remover of obstacles. In the slums near the nouveau-riche areas of the titular city, Rahul wanders the streets of his neighbourhood that he knows only too well. He and his friend Arbaaz, the balloon seller, are constantly up to some mischief or other: they spend their time playing pranks, stealing candy, bathing in the rainwater-fed stream, following girls – enjoying life, or so it would seem.
Behind this joyful and carefree façade, however, is Rahul’s troubled childhood. Roaming the streets is perhaps his way of escaping the harsh reality at home. Rahul lives with his alcoholic and violent father, his hard-working and affectionate stepmother and a baby brother. He has already lost his mother because of his father’s behaviour and is now concerned about his stepmother, whom he tries, in his own way, to protect – only to invite more of his father’s wrath.
A well-crafted film made in the neo-realist tradition, Mumbai‘s King
has strong elements of true life. Rahul and Arbaaz are non-professional actors but perform brilliantly to effectively bring out the chaos of their characters’ lives, the excellent camaraderie and, with a little help from the film’s excellent soundtrack, their joy amidst hardships.
– Raman Chawla