The streets of Bombay teem with children begging, dealing, sleeping rough, surviving. Working on a scale that would make Dickens envious, Nair draws together the seemingly disparate threads of life in a red-light district, centering around the experience of an 11-year-old boy who runs away from his village. At first frightened and alienated, he soon becomes part of a complex hierarchy of exploitation, abuse and affection as he befriends the prostitutes, drug-dealers and children of the streets. Far from being episodic or disjointed, the film brings the lives of all its characters into a common embrace, never pointing a finger of blame but constantly emphasising the difficulties and dangers that surround young and old alike. Shot entirely on location with its child actors recruited from the streets, Salaam Bombay! enters into its subjects' lives with rare authority and absolute compassion, the material generated largely from workshops that Nair and her team ran for a period of months prior to filming. A revelation for audiences of any background.
Cast and crew