Bombay poster


  • 10 Mar 1995
  • 2h 21m
  • Drama, Romance
14K+ users
Bombay is a 1995 Indian Tamil Indian romantic drama film directed by Mani Ratnam, starring Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala in the lead, and featuring music composed by A. R. Rahman.




  • Status Released
  • Release date 10 Mar 1995
  • Running time 2h 21m
  • Genres Drama, Romance


National Film Awards - 1995
Suresh Urs
Best Editor
National Film Awards - 1995
Best Feature Film on National Integration


Shekhar is the son of an orthodox Hindu Narayana Pillai living in a coastal village in Tamil Nadu. A journalism student studying in Bombay, Shekhar visits home to be with his family. On one of his return trips, he notices Shaila Banu, a Muslim schoolgirl in the village and falls in love with her. Initially shy, Shaila seeks to distance herself from Shekhar, but after frequent run-ins, and days of pursuit, Shaila begins to like Shekhar. Eventually, they both fall in love.

Shekhar meets Shaila's father Basheer and says he wants to marry Shaila. Basheer refuses, citing difference in religions. Shekhar reveals his interest to his father, who becomes angry, meets Basheer and gets into an abusive argument with him. Upset with rejection from both families, Shekhar returns to Bombay. Through a friend of hers, he sends Shaila a letter and a ticket for her to travel to Bombay. However, she is undecided; Basheer learns of her regular letters from Shekhar and plans to marry her off to stop this relation growing further. Left with no choice, Shaila leaves the village with the ticket and reaches Bombay.

Shekhar and Shaila marry and lead a happy life. In a year, Shaila conceives and delivers twin boys who are named Kabir Narayan and Kamal Basheer. The twins are raised in both religions. Shekhar continues to work as a journalist, while Shaila takes care of home and children. In six years, Shekhar and Shaila firmly settle down in their life and begin the process of re-establishing a relationship with their respective families.

When the Babri Masjid is demolished on 6 December 1992, riots break out in Bombay. Kabir and Kamal, who had gone to buy groceries, get caught in the riots; eventually, Shekhar and Shaila save them and reach home safely. Narayana Pillai, who receives the news of the riots, rushes to Bombay to meet his son and his family. He reconciles with his son and everyone is happy with his arrival, and he stays with them. Soon, Basheer also comes with his wife and all of them live together happily for a few days. Both Pillai and Basheer are happy with their grandchildren, try to get both to their religion and wish to be with them.

On 8 January 1993, when two murders are propagated as communal killings, another riot breaks out in Bombay, raising tensions between religious communities. Hindus and Muslims clash in the streets, resulting in hundreds of deaths on both sides. During the conflict, arsonists set fire to the apartment where Shekhar lives with his family. Shekhar tries to evacuate everyone, but Narayana Pillai, Basheer and his wife fail to escape in time and are killed when the building explodes. In the confusion of the panicking crowds, Kamal and Kabir are separated from their parents.

Kamal is saved by a transgender woman who cares for him and protects him, while Kabir searches aimlessly for his brother. Shekhar and Shaila begin to search for them and they go through several tense moments, as they check the morgues and hospitals for their children. Shekhar grows emotional and participates in the movement to stop the riots with other moderate religious leaders, ultimately succeeding. When the riots end, Shaila and Shekhar are reunited with their children tearfully as the people on the streets join hands, regardless of age or religion.

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