If you are short on time, here is my three word review of “Life in a Metro”
Go see it.
If I could, I would have given a money back guarantee in case you did not like it. The story revolves around six love stories played out with a common thread running through them.
But before you go on, maybe it is best to know what kind of movies I like. Because any review is at best a reflection of likes and dislikes of the person writing the review. From the recent years, these are some of the movies I loved (in no particular order) – Dhoop, Seher, Water, Dil Chahta Hai, Main Meri Patni Aur Woh, Bheja Fry, Yahaan, Khosla Ka Ghosla, Omkara, and Swades. That is not a complete list but maybe just enough to tell you what kind of movies I like. If you do not connect with this list, we are probably very different people and my review holds little meaning for you.
I am NOT going to tell you the names of the characters, or who are the pairs or the many situations. That is for you to find out. I am just going to tell you the emotions and thoughts I carried back, with some minimal help from script details.
Words that came to my mind while watching the movie and later as I replayed it in my mind are these: sensitive, real characters in real situations, beautiful poetry in the songs and the dialogues. There were a few scenes which seemed over cooked but they are just a few and I happily forgive the director (Anurag Basu) because the rest of the movie is just so poetic.
The surprise package is Shilpa Shetty – watch out for her. I haven’t seen all her movies but from what I have seen, this is her best performance by far. She is the big boss in this tale. And then you have Konkana, Irfan and Sharman giving solid performances. Shiny is very good too. Kay Kay is good but I would rate him lower than others because his expressions and mannerisms are so alike his other works that I felt I was seeing Kay Kay and not the character he was playing. Kangana is good and looks her part. And if I had a choice I would have cast Waheeda Rehman instead of Nafisa Ali. Sure Nafisa is a beauty even at her age but she appears wooden in some scenes which otherwise had good potential to move you. And Dharmendra was not very good either.
The songs have great lyrics and beats and are nicely woven into the storyline. The characters themselves never sing – thank God for that.
Except for the Dharmendra-Nafisa story, all the other threads are well sketched and get sufficient time in the script. The movie is full of thoughts that leave you thinking for a long time after. But you need to be alert for some of the lines else you will miss them because the director never pushes them. He just leaves them lying around like gems to be picked up. Hear Shilpa describe her failed marriage and finish it with a superb line which goes something like “ab hamare beech ki khamoshi aapas mein ladai karti hai”.
A small peek into the script – The character of Irfan is done extremely well. Konkana is your typical suave, polished, intellectual girl dreaming to fall in love with someone like minded. Understandbly, she dislikes Irfan who is your typical crude, loud talking, no qualms about lying, roving eye kind of guy. How their love story develops is a class act and the underlying message about what really makes good character is superb.
I’d hate to tell you about specifics and ruin the fun of chancing upon gems. So, heres the conluding line:
If you want to see a movie with greater characterisation, genuine poetry, real life delimmas and real life lessons, go see “Life in a Metro”.
The Dharmendra-Nafisa link is shown in an extremely subtle manner. It couldn’t be depicted loud, clear and youthful.
Companionship at its best! That is what one can ask for at +60 age.
I think the sober love was simply innocent and lovely!
Gunveen, I second you on the need for this story to be subtle. Yet, something was amiss which is why I thought it was not well cooked. I will have to go back and watch the movie again because I no longer remember the specifics. What I do remember is that Nafisa was not up to the mark in the acting department, which I why I would have preferred a Waheeda in her place.
You are right in saying that Nafisa lacks acting skills. ‘Major Saab’ is proof enough.
On the other hand, she could be termed as the epitome of soberiety and grace in the otherwise loud, brash Bollywood. Maybe Basu was left with little or no choice.
Waheeda on the other hand, is too old for this role. Was watching the ’91 movie ‘Lamhein’ yesterday in which she looks relatively old, yet acts fabulously.
I can’t think of anyone else with a strong screen presence lest we are happy with Raju’s mother in the movie called ‘3 IDIOTS’..It was indeed a shame to have her in a support role.
‘Tum Bin’ is another interesting watch. Swades, Taare Zammen Par, Cheeni Kum, Jhankaar Beats, Pyaar ke Side effects are others that I can’t seem to get enough of.
You’d be surprised to know Dharmendra was born in 1935 and Waheeda in 1936. Nafisa on the other hand was born in 1957. If I were Basu, Waheeda it would have been. She looked good enough in Delhi-6. Nafisa was not chosen because of just her grace but also because she fit the (traditional) bill of beauty – flawless skin, beautiful eyes, etc. Which is fine, but my beef is she has negligible acting skills and her hindi diction is terrible.
Kishori Balal (‘Kaveri Amma’ in Swades) swept me off my feet, but then maybe she is too motherly to fit a love story (which is such a shame). I would also have considered Suhasini Mulay (Sid’s mother in Dil Chahta Hai), she has tremendous screen presence and may I say far more gracious than Nafisa. Any of these but wooden Nafisa!
I am tempted to go ask garam dharam why he came across as cold!!
ps: I must say I have always had a crush on Waheeda and so Nafisa does not stand a chance. 🙂