Life in a..Metro
Cast: Dharmendra, Nafisa Ali, Shilpa Shetty, KK Menon, Kangana Ranaut, Shiney Ahuja, Irrfan Khan, Sharman Joshi
Direction: Anurag Basu
Get this: life’s like a juicy melon.. or to be more precise like good ole Jack Lemmon from that Oscar winning black-and-white giggle fest The Apartment (1960). So ulp, here comes the ultimate movie that belongs to the chori department – truly this one’s more about the movies which used to be shown at the Metro cinema than about the metropolis itself. Sad.
Indeed, move over Sanjay Gupta-Bhansali, Anurag Basu is here. For sure, the cinematography of Life in a..Metro is classy, the visuals ooze an European feel, a couple of the performances are topnotch, the dialogue goes Wordsworthian talking about “windows of the heart”. And a combating married couple even declares, “See, now even silences are fighting with each other.” Wow.
Yet Basu who has always been something of a copycat (Murder, read Unfaithful) attempts a Guinness Book of Records kind of feat. Bleat. Instead of one, he strives to jam quite a few plots and scenes from here and there, all tied up by – you better believe this – music composer Pritam and two morose rockers singing their lungs off at bus stops, terrace tops, railway stations. Scary.
<b1>Alright, so here’s how the many movies-for-the-price-of-one goes. Lemmon becomes Sharman Joshi lending his apartment key to his office superiors to do-go-creak-creak-on-a-bed with their secretaries, phone operators, whoever (there’s even an extended collage of women on phones going haywire). Incidentally, Amitabh Bachchan had done the same Jack Lemmon role in Raaste ka Patthar (1972) but it’s been forgotten just like its heroine Nita Khayani.
Want a spoonful of special love ka biryani? Move over to Dharmendra and Nafisa Ali doing a combo of senior citizen lovers from Brief Encounter and a touch of Bridges of Madison County. Uncle and Aunty even get into a cool charpoy and nuzzle. What a puzzle! Whatever tempted Dharmendra to do this embarrassing role? Wasn’t Kis Kiski Kismat enough?
Now back to Sharman Joshi. He’s madly in love with Kangana Ranaut who’s in love with her already married boss Kay Kay who’s NOT in love with his wife Shilpa Shetty who just might be in love with Shiney Ahuja (expressive as ever).. and hello, the Shetty-Ahuja track has shades of Wong Kar Wai’s Mood for Love
. Really, how esoteric.
About the only saving grace of this roundelay is the wacky relationship between Irrfan Khan (superb) and Konkona Sen Sharma (superb too) who meet over a dot-com agency date. Now, that could have been substance for an entire comedy. Instead you get a mind-boiling saga about sufferance. There isn’t an individual who doesn’t shed a tear here – unless you count hard rocker sutradhar Pritam whose music score does strange things to your eardrums.
The final credits ensure that everyone in the Metro lives more than happily ever after. How comforting. Truly, entertainment is no more than a sugar drug, isn’t it?
The director’s technical dazzlery (even if that means several orange-lit and balcony edge shots) is commendable. Besides the thorough lack of originality, his view of a city is as far from reality as suburban local trains made of silver, platinum and gold.