Since its first screening in April 1995, Bombay has caused a storm of controversy and broken all box-office records for Indian films. A brief historical survey: on 6 December 1992 Hindu fanatics plundered a 16th-century mosque in Ayodhya, a city in northern India; and in January 1993 Bombay was overrun by riots between Hindus (eighty percent of the Indian population) and Moslems (twelve percent) fighting religiously-motivated battles that resulted in about two thousand dead. It is within this still-sensitive context that the film Bombay is set. Shakar is a Hindu and cub reporter for an English-language newspaper in Bombay. He falls in love with Shela, a Moslem woman. Their different religions mean he is unable to ask for her hand but they meet in secret. Then he marries Shela anyway, and twins are born. The film then takes a turn and heads for tragic developments and violence within the Moslem community. The children of Shakar and Shela become the target of repeated attacks and become so traumatised that they lose their ability to speak. Mani Rathnam is a film-maker able to appeal to audiences at different levels. He often uses popular and run-of-the-mill subjects to make exuberant and fantastic films, but he can also use the same imagination to tackle serious, philosophical and social subjects.