True Review

True Review: City Lights

True Review: City Lights

by The Daily Eye Team May 29 2014, 2:24 pm Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins, 21 secs

Critics Rating: 4.5 STARS

Cast: Rajkumar Rao, Patraleka

Direction: Hansal Mehta

Production: Mukesh Bhatt, Vishesh Films, Fox Star Studios,Mahesh Bhatt.

Based on:Metro Manila by Sean Ellis

Duration:126 Minutes.

Hansal Mehta’s City Lights, produced by Vishesh Films and Mukesh Bhatt; and presented by Mahesh Bhatt is testament to the changing tides of the cinema landscape here in India. Although elements of traditional formulaic Bollywood do govern the film, the gritty content facilitates the emergence of an unprecedented hybrid breed of cinema, with heightened realism and drama. The storyline penetrates the veneer of glamour and opportunity of the city to unmask the Mumbai’s countless scabs of decadence, despair and darkness. City lights is a sordid tale commenting on the contemptuous underbelly of the city that devours millions of starry eyed hopefuls looking who come to the city looking for success and happiness. The protagonists migrate from a village in Rajasthan to Mumbai is search for prosperity and a bright future for their daughter, however after being swindled; the couple begin to be grimly swallowed whole by the city.


Rajkumar Rao lives up to his newfound reputation since his debut film “Shahid” and delivers a exceptional and powerful performance. Patralekha however, is the star of the show, as she delivers a stellar performance conveying the subtle nuances of her character with poise and grace. Even the supporting characters did justice to their roles, a few standing out for their superior performances, bringing the film full circle to a seamless product with a smooth finish.

There were however, some holes in the direction, a few moments on camera where the depth of emotion, drama and suspense were lost due to the actors being placed awkwardly and sloppy camerawork and score diluting the essence of some great shots. The entire score of the film seemed absurdly misplaced though, the music seemed to trivialize the key dramatic moments and seemed to be on a sort of tangent from the storyline. It seemed as though the attempt was to adhere to traditional Bollywood music to avoid alienating the audience, however the result was a confused score that seemed to be taken from a different film and overlaid on City Lights.


Having the necessary critiques being made, it is quintessential to acknowledge that films like City Lights are the proverbial beacons shining their light on a new path, a new paradigm of Indian Cinema that emphasizes on nuanced and dimensional storytelling rather than over the top glamour and flash to distract an audience from the lack of a story and characters. Another acknowledgement that must be made is the fact that Hansal Mehta was able to achieve such technically proficient work on a meagre budget that is merely a modest fraction of the budgets of these large scale “blockbusters”.

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