City Lights is a recently released Hindi film that has received rare positive reviews and I was able to see it last Thursday and am very glad that I did as it has been taken off the theaters. I am not surprised as there were just a handful of viewers when we went for the only show in the entire city showing at the most inconvenient timing of 2.10 pm. In retrospect, I am not even annoyed for having lost my siesta. That film was that good.
This film is a collaborative film between Fox Star Studios and a famous Indian producer based on the English film Metro Manila produced by Sean Ellis. I have not been able to get a DVD of the latter to compare but have not stopped trying. If I do get a copy, I shall post a comparison blog.
The lead roles are played by Rajkumar Rao and Patraleka who I understand are in a relationship in real life too. I deliberately use the word actors rather than stars for these two, for they come up with fantastic performances and it is obvious that the direction by Hansal Mehta has achieved great heights because they are actors and not stars. Neither look glamorous and that is exactly what the roles call for. And for me a very important factor, there is no singing duets and chasing each other round trees and bushes in the film. There is background music and even a song the refrain of which keeps coming back on and off but, it is not disturbing.
The story is simple and the life shown of poor and naive immigrants into Bombay is so realistic that I could relate and even anticipate events, having lived in Bombay for many years.
If you can get to see it, please do not miss the opportunity. You will thank me for the recommendation.