Life in a Metro movie review
One of the better movies I have seen this year. Directed by Anurag Basu, it’s got very good actors – Irfan Khan, Kay Kay Menon and Konkona Sen. And Shilpa Shetty who is not very highly rated in Bollywood did very good. Makes one wonder why she is not in demand …she had a very meaty part in this movie which she carried off very well.
The movie is set in Mumbai, and not the glamorous part of Mumbai. The drama unfolds on the busy streets, the train stations, the buses, a middle class apartment, a chawl…there are no glitzy houses, sexy dances or dancing on the Swiss Alps. No protagonist sings either…the music comes to us in the form of a rock band….some derelict looking guys hanging around on the streets playing their songs. I didn’t find the music intrusive, like some did…in fact whats usually intrusive in a Bollywood flick is if the actors suddenly break out into a song. Here the singers were not part of the story, their music was haunting and beautiful, the lyrics romantic and philosophical and underlined the stories that were playing out.
The movie has multiple stories, and all the characters seem real, very Indian and some very original. Shruti (Konkana Sen Sharma) the working girl who is a virgin at 30 scouring the site shaadi.com for a mate, 38-year old Monty (Irfan Khan), also a virgin who cannot help ogle at every girl he sees, Ranjit (Kay Kay Menon) the stereotypical male chauvinist having some sex on the side who becomes enraged and unforgiving when he finds out that his wife Shikha (Shilpa) is seeing another man. As for the beautiful Shikha, she is the obedient Indian wife who tries desperately to be faithful.
The story of Neha (Kangana Ranaut) and Rahul (Sharman Joshi) was too famliar to be entertaining. Not only is the story (an ambitious employee pimping for his boss to get a promotion) a rip-off from the Hollywood flick The Apartment, there has been a Bollywood movie on the same theme.
The one story that didn’t quite jell was about Amol (Dharmendra) who rekindles a college romance with Vaijanti (Nafisa Ali). There was something artificial in the way their story was told and frankly it was dull as well. The other couples were lively, witty, and their stories so full of twists and turns. It was almost as if the director or the writer couldn’t understand what these two had in common after spending a lifetime apart. It was also rather pathetic to see the swashbuckling Dharmendra of yore playing this silly role.
Overall however, the director has intertwined these multiple stories very well, and there is no disconnect as he switches from one to the other. The editing is mostly very tight, the cinematography superb.
There are some sad moments, and some funny moments and no sickening melodrama. And the end is happy.
The performances of Irfan Khan, Konkana Sen Sharma, Shilpa Shetty, and Kay Kay are very good and make the movie worth a watch. Definitely not a movie to be missed. But it is an adult movie, not because of any sex scenes or violence, but because the theme of the movie is love and sex. Sex and romance…in the city.