Movie Review:Life In A Metro(Anurag Basu)

by Srikanth Mantravadi

With not much to do I thought I would have a dekko at Life In A Metro-a movie I couldn’t watch till yesterday.My thoughts..

That Anurag Basu is talented was a well established truth.But the extent of his genius presented itself in the fullest to me as I watched this brilliantly crafted drama.Trained in the Bhatt school of filmmaking Anurag is a man who doesn’t restrain himself and is someone who shows delightful mastery over complex human emotions and bonds.So armed with a multi star cast containing some of the most unsung artistes Bollywood has produced.

Metro is a movie in flux.It moves at a brisk pace focussing on 9 people as they go along leading their lives in a frenetic Mumbai.Shikha(Shilpa Shetty) and Ranjeet are a married couple going through rough phases almost squabbling over everything and anything while Shruti(Konkona Sen) is Shilpa’s sister who hasn’t found true love in this world.Rahul(Sharman Joshi) is an employee in Ranjeet’s office who lets out his flat for his colleagues sexual escapades in return for a good word they would put in with the boss for his promotion.In his own words…Main yahan race jeetne aaya hoon koi morning walk pe nahin.. and even before one starts suspecting the character of the man Basu weaves in a father thread that seemingly justifies Rahul’s lack of rectitude.Neha(Kangana Ranaut) too is an employee in Ranjeet’s firm and sleeps with him in the belief that someday he would reciprocate her love.Rahul loves Neha.Meanwhile Anmol(Dharmendra) and Shivani(Nafisa Ali) find love after 60 after living for 40 years in separation.Anmol comes back to India to spend his little remaining life with her.Shikha finds herself drawn towards Akash(Shiney Ahuja) and soon she starts evincing interest in him as things get worse at homefront.There’s also Irrfan Khan in a ingeniously etched role along with Konkona and both of them stand out as first among equals amongst the sparkling star cast.

I also believe touching scenes that tug at the heartstrings cumulatively make a film.One need not agree with what the director is potraying on screen until and unless it is unconvincing.In Metro the same happens.One can only stare with disbelief as the characters get entangling themselves into a huge mess.Not one of them seem to have the patience to stop for a moment and dwell on the muck they are descending themselves into.Even as one see’s the Ranjeet-Neha thread coming to an end one see’s Akash and Shikha getting up close with each other.The only plot that is free from convolutions is the sweet sexagenarian love between Anmol and Shivani.Both of them are oblivious to the world as soon as they are together and one can only feel sorry for Anmol when his world comes shattering down.

Basu should be made to teach the likes of Nikhil Advani on the art of making taut multi starrers.It is good that Basu realised that having a talented star cast is only have the battle won.After all content is king.Even the kitschy Deewangi Deewangi in Om Shanthi Om with a galaxy of stars in it was a neatly choreographed and picturised song.

It is fascinating how Basu has managed to extract such exquisite performances from each one of  the cast.Irrfan is irrepresible as the peeping tom who vows to listen to whatever his wife will say after marriage.Konkona plays Shruti with accomplished ease something she has perfected with dainty little films.Shiney is spectacular in a small yet well fleshed out role.That one feels bad for him at the end is testimony to this fact.Kangana is once again in her elements playing the cliched role of a mentally unsound person with clinical efficiency.Sharman Joshi as the man torn between Neha,money and father love is great and lends gravitas to the role mixing in vileness with innocence.Kay Kay Menon pitches in a nuanced performance as the promiscuous husband who mends his ways in the end.But for me Shilpa’s portrayal as Shikha was the best of the lot for here is an actress who has revealed her midriff more than her acting skills yet explodes on screen with her riveting performance.

Technically the film is top notch with a non intrusive photography that plays mere spectator to the ongoings and is stylish at the same time.Another splendid aspect of the movie is the way the rock ballads have been blended into the movie.Pritam,James and Suhail play themselves as vagrant balladeers who lend a sufi touch to the proceedings with their evocative songs.The dialogue is doused in acidity and hardhitting.I think silence is a essential part of dialogue and it is put to good effect.What a hundred words can’t say a dead silence can.The lines mouthed by Irrfan come to mind..Yeh shahar jitna hum sabko deti hain us se kaiye jyada humse le leti hain(This city takes away more from us than what it bestows on us).