"Salaam Bombay!" is the story of Krishna (Shafiq Syed), a 10-year old boy who comes to Bombay dreaming of making 500 rupees to take home to his mother in the village. Once in the city, he is immediately surrounded by its madness and chaos. Policemen, madmen, middlemen, the trading of drugs and flesh, impossible movie fantasies, and everywhere there are children like himself, surviving and succumbing to the appetite of the city. The film, although carefully scripted, is a marriage of narrative and documentary. The 'actors' are all children from the streets and the entire film is shot in working-class neighbourhoods, railway platforms and the red light areas of Mumbai (Bombay). While celebrating the spirit of survival in Mumbai's street children, 'Salaam Bombay!' is also a story of a world that denies its children the luxury of a childhood, a world which is no longer innocent.
Sandi and Bernard Sissel in Conversation (2021, 51 mins): newly recorded discussion with the cinematographer and her son, one of the street kids from Salaam Bombay!
India Cabaret 985, 60 mins): Mira Nair's documentary about female strippers from a Bombay nightclub which provided the kernel of Salaam Bombay!
Archive shorts (1906-1936, 31 mins): three gems from the BFI National Archive reflecting themes and iconography found in Salaam Bombay!, featuring city life in La vie aux Indes/Indian Scenes, an early Dickens adaptation of Oliver Twist and a look at tea production in India and Sri Lanka in Gardens of the Orient