Life in Metro
Cast: Shiny Ahuja, Shilpa Shetty, Konkona Sen Sharma, Irfan Khan; Director: Anurag Basu; Producer: Ronnie Screwvala; Music: Pritam; Rating: ***
This week’s big release is Life in a Metro. Frankly, I was a little wary of Metro. It seemed like yet another multiplex movie with multiple stories, too many tears and faux urban grit. But Metro turned out to be an unexpected delight.
Metro is about love and longing in Mumbai. It’s about how this maximum city fuels big dreams but crushes small desires.
It’s about the difficulty of finding affection and grace in lives convoluted by ambition, crowds and compromises.
Shilpa Shetty and Konkona Sen Sharma play sisters. Shilpa’s husband, played by Kay Kay Menon, is having an affair with his colleague, played by Kangana Ranaut who is also Konkona’s roommate.
Their sexual trysts take place in the flat of another employee, played by Sharman Joshi, who also likes Kangana. Meanwhile Konkona, a 30-year-old virgin, longs for companionship but rejects Irfan Khan because he peers, a little too hard, at her cleavage.
Shilpa finds laughter with Shiney Ahuja who she meets at a bus stop. Beyond this interlocked mating dance are two lovers who spent their lives apart but seek out each other in old age.
This couple is played by Nafisa Ali and Dharmendra. Just the sight of still dashing-Dharmji, standing on a railway platform, is enough to make your heart soar.
Metro is full of small pleasures. Writer-director Anurag Basu doesn’t make shrill statements about loneliness or sexual promiscuity. He doesn’t judge his characters.
The acting is uniformly good. Shilpa Shetty is surprisingly effective as the betrayed wife but the stand-out performer is Irfan Khan. He does the earnest, seriously un-cool 40-year-old virgin to perfection.
Dharmendra’s track feels a tad too long and composer Pritam makes far too many wandering minstrel-style appearances. But these are minor quibbles. I enjoyed Metro. I think you will too.