Making period films isn’t a new phenomenon in Bollywood. Time and again, filmmakers have taken a journey down the memory lane. However, whether it is telling a futuristic tale or going back in the past, it is never an easy job. This is what quite a few B-town directors have realized over the years.
Rustom: Set in the 60s, the film has Akshay Kumar in the role of a Navy Commander. Since the film is set in (then) Bombay, the makers had a task in hand to recreate the era gone by. Still, the emphasis is on the story and not the locations/sets/costumes per se, which means references to Bombay aren’t on-your-face. Keeping things subtle, Team Rustom has maintained authenticity without making much noise about it.
Bombay Velvet: Set in 1960s, Bombay Velvet was a dream film for filmmaker Anurag Kashyap. Since it was an expansive affair, recreating Bombay in Mumbai was an almost impossible task. No wonder, he took his cast and crew to Sri Lanka and stationed them for days at stretch, even as his technical team recreated Bombay in the foreign land. Of course a lot of VFX came in handy as well.
Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai and Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbaai Dobaara: Milan Luthria can be credited for making sure that his Bombay indeed came across as Bombay from the underworld era. Right from the costumes, locations to the sound was reminiscent of the era gone by. It helped that his actors Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Imran Khan, Kangna Ranaut, Sonakshi Sinha and Prachi Desai turned into the characters from the past, hence leading to the authenticity factor.
Agneepath: While Amitabh Bachchan‘s Agneepath was set in the 90s, even Hrithik Roshan‘s version was set in the same era, even though it came after 20 years. Filmmaker Karan Johar didn’t want to compromise on the core milieu of the film and director Karan Malhotra too carried the same vision. Most part of the film was shot in Diu, though the makers ensured that there were portions in there that took one to Bombay.
Om Shanti Om: When Farah Khan and Shah Rukh Khan come together, even the late 70s looked like dream on screen. Right from bringing back the Karz of yore to getting hair styles from the past to almost making you smell the studios of Bombay from the early 80s, Om Shanti Om was as retro as it gets. There was quite some effort that went into art and costume design for the film that had its core set in Bombay.
Khoya Khoya Chand: Another film that told a tale of the Hindi film industry, and that too in the 60s, wasKhoya Khoya Chand. This time around it was Sudhir Mishra who had his eyes set on exposing the world behind the glamour industry up, close and personal. The film was made on a controlled budget, which means more than the locations of Bombay, it was the stage, setting and theme of the city that expressed itself in spirit.
Black Friday: For Anurag Kashyap, it was indeed a job in hand to relive the ghastly turn of events that had shook Bombay in 1993. Moreover, with limited budget in hand, he had to still deliver and make his realistic film look authentic. A master technician that he is, and also the fact that he was pretty much clear in his mind, he carefully chose locations with which he could ‘cheat’ Bombay from the 90s. Oh yes, he succeeded too!
Shootout at Wadala: Ever so stylish in the way he shoots his films, Sanjay Gupta made sure that there was no question on the authenticity of his action-drama-thriller Shootout at Wadala. He told his underworld tale set in the early 80s quite convincing and took audiences to those spots in the city where the era gone by could well be seen and felt. The overall focus though was on getting the characterization right and he succeeded in that.
Action Replayy: When Akshay Kumar and Aishwarya Rai decided to go retro, there was quite some fun expected to unfold on the big screen with Action Replayy. The polka dots returned and Bombay too looked like the land of Raj Kapoor and Bobby. Since the film was mainly about time travel, there was quite some back and forth involved, which means director Vipul Shah had to walk a tight rope between both the eras.
Teri Meri Kahaani: For director Kunal Kohli, the challenge was even bigger as he had to traverse three eras for Teri Meri Kahaani. With one of the three chapters involving Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra being set in Bombay of the 60s, there was some fun on store. Of course the time period also warranted that a Shammi Kapoor tribute was well in place and that was pretty much in order with the song ‘Jabse Mere Dil Ko Uff’.
Hawaizaada: How did Bombay really look like more than 100 years ago? Well, not many can be expected to know much about it. No wonder, in Hawaizaada it was pretty much a fantastical set up that was put together to recreate the past. Of course there were coffee houses that were in vogue even then but most interestingly, there were huge open spaces available where people could pretty much construct an entire plane.