Release Date: 30 May 2014
Starring: Rajkumar Rao, Patralekha, Manav Kaul
Direction: Hansal Mehta
Music: Jeet Ganguly
Duration: 2 hours 7 minutes
Just as not everything that glitters turns out to be gold, life in the metros is not always as rewarding as one might imagine it to be. Such is the game of life: while most of us complain about not having enough luxuries, there are those who are struggling to earn the basic necessities. Director Hansal Mehta’s CityLights features the life of one such family that moves to Mumbai, thinking that this city of dreams will never let them sleep hungry. An official adaptation of the British movie Metro Manila, CityLights earnestly describes the denouement of poverty on human souls.
Plot: CityLights narrates the story of an immigrant family from Rajasthan that moves to Mumbai to earn its livelihood. Having started off with high hopes of leading a better life, they soon discover the hardships of the city life.
Performances: If there is one actor in this movie who proves that acting is the only talent that thrives in Bollywood, it is most evidently Rajkumar Rao. This National Award-winning actor is so damn real that you would actually forget you’re watching a movie! With a goose-bumping performance in CityLights, this man proves his worth yet again. Truly a terrific actor!
Debutant Actress Patralekha, who also happens to be Rajkumar’s real life soul mate, is surprisingly another brilliant discovery for Bollywood. Her naïve persona and delicate demeanour invite you to lose yourself in the character.
Another brilliant supporting cast is that of Manav Kaul, whose presence makes it much more real and effective.
Music: The musical finesse of the film is the result of a very fine composition by Jeet Ganguly, who is popular for the songs of Aashiqui 2. The album has five, very meaningful songs that are soulfully soothing to the ears.
What’s Good: A stupendous performance by Rajkumar Rao which makes the movie so impressive and formidable. The adaptation has been beautifully done and makes the story extremely captivating. The music score is quite touching and renders emotional connect with the story.
What’s Bad: Slightly rough sub-plots and a perplexing climax are the two minor shortcomings that can possibly be ignored.
When a highly proficient director teams up with a super-talented actor, films like CityLights come into existence. It is a film that is so painfully real that it will make you feel the agony of the characters. Films like this are a blatant expression of reality and should definitely be promoted amongst the masses.
Verdict: Another soulful addition to the Indian cinema’s intelligent collection of masterpieces!