Friday, July 4, 2014


Cast: Rajkummar Rao (Deepak Singh), Patralekha (Rakhi), Manav Kaul (Vishnu), Khushboo Upadhyay
Genre: Drama
Direction: Hansal Mehta
Production: Mukesh Bhatt
Screenplay: Ritesh Shah
Based on: British Film Metro Manilla by Sean Ellis
Editor: Apurva Asrani
Distributed by: Vishesh Films, Fox Star Studios
Music: Jeet Ganguli, Background Score – Raju SIngh
Release Date: 30th May, 2014
Language: Hindi
Duration: 2 hours 06 minutes

CityLights is a film with intense Human drama. Hansal Mehta (Director) and Rajkummar Rao (Actor), duo of Shahid fame, have once again collaborated together to contribute a brilliant piece of art to the Bollywood. It is so painful to see how the innocence of an ordinary village and his family gets exploited in the citylights of metro. Hansal Mehta has wonderfully and very realistically encapsulated the challenges faced by a destitute family in the metro. Various adversities faced by the family viz.  loss of business in the village, rural migration, extreme poverty, exploitation by the city etc. are well captured in the movie. The movie left me with tears in eyes, rather actually broke my heart. Kudos to Hansal Mehta for making this movie so realistic, profoundly moving, tangible and believable and at the same time ‘minus melodrama’.

Deepak Singh (Rajkummar Rao) moves to Mumbai after losing his Saree shop (in a village in Rajasthan) to the debtors along with wife Rakhi (Patralekha) and daughter Mahi. Great moments of family togetherness, love between Deepak and Rakhi are shown while in village, which probably gave them confidence to move to the unknown Mumbai and try for a better living. Deepak’s friend Omkar, who was supposed to pick them up from the Mumbai railway station, did not turn up. Deepak is cheated and happens to lose whatever money he had. Life turns out to be really challenging for them with not having roof over their heads. Then starts their desperate efforts to survive.   

Deepak manages to get a job in Active Security Bureau, a group of security force, with his background of an ex-army driver, but his job is kind of life-threatening. Life takes a mysterious turn from there with his partner / boss in job Vishnu (Manav Kaul). It is difficult to understand his intentions. One kept wondering whether Vishnu is good or bad. Rakhi lands up as a bar-dancer, although very very reluctantly.

Does life improve for Deepak and family? What all events unfold in their journey to survive in the metro Mumbai ? Who all partner with them in their journey of survival and how? Do Deepak and Rakhi lose their rustic innocence in the citylights? Are Deepak and family able to re-establish the once-happy-family image? Are they able to manage to keep going against the inimical forces that surround them?  Is there any flash of light at the end of the tunnel?

There are certain heart-wrenching scenes: the manner in which Deepak sits in front of the Saree shop in the village while realizing that he has lost the same; their migrating to Mumbai with hope in the eyes, but losing the same the moment they land up in Mumbai; desperate attempts by Deepak and Rakhi to seek job / accommodation; helpless / embarrassed Rakhi standing in front of the Bar-Manager who tries to scan her whole body and the last one to mention is the tragic and shocking climax.

Both Rajkummar Rao and Patralekha (his real-life girlfriend) have added so much value to Deepak and Rakhi through their effortless performances. Manav Kaul as Vishnu has also given an exceptionally well performance. The music by Jeet Ganguli is absolutely soulful and as per the flavor of the movie. The songs ‘Muskurane’ and ‘Ek Chirraiya’ are very good.

CityLights, a brutally honest, dark and melancholic film. The shocking climax re-affirms the punch line: How far will you go for the love of your family?

Rating: 4 / 5 (Very Good)