May 15, 2007

Life In A Metro – A Review

Filed under: Most Read,movie reviews,Movies,opinions — Kaveeta Oberoi Kaul @ 12:58 pm
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Kaveetaa Kaul


A certain immunity insidiously develops over time if one is part of a metropolis..especially if experience has not provided an alternate lifestyle. One gets accustomed to Life- In- A- Metro, its eccentric and erratic ways, torpedo engined pace, ego centric paradigms, demanding emotional bonds, unquestioning surrender to its gargantuan appetite for devouring the spirit. So much so that when a ‘big deal is made of ‘metro life’ one wonders what the fuss is all about. Isn’t this what life connotes anyways?



Therefore when one sets out to view a film the title of which screams out ‘Life.. In A Metro’ one has sub consciously resigned oneself to expecting an exaggerated, superfluous. hyperbolic, frenzied account of the above mentioned characteristics. You are as excited as a terrapin on land. The one factor that does elicit a whiff of curiosity is the ensemble cast. A smorgsabord of actors who have lately proven to be delectable in their prowess..Irrfan Khan after Namesake and ‘Maqbool’ has almost acquired the status of ‘demi God of ‘parallel cinema’, Shiney Ahuja, the SRK of the financially challenged maker. Kangana Ranaut the impoverished version of Ash, but an actress with great potential, Konkona Sen, the actor with the most-est, ability, proficiency and enviable roles, KK the man who does not flinch, even in the presence of a “Sarkar” and has carved a niche slowly but surely .



Lastly the Director Anurag is a man whose last films“Gangster’ had managed to erase the flop tag that is uncaringly pre fixed on a maker, irrespective..Whether the inherent talent is crying out for recognition , is hardly worth a is evident with his earlier Ekta kapoor debacles and Bhatt camp films, ‘Saaya’ and ‘Tumsa Nahin Dekha” Who cares and is concerned with the reason for a non success. You can go cry yourself hoarse, finally have to accept your destiny. But he was lucky to have survived, most are not, and got his chances to prove his mettle all over again. .after the huge success of ‘Murder’.

The film’s focus on life vis a vis sex and money is as good a take off point as any. Relationships struggling to balance themselves entrapped in the vixen hold of these, provides the conflict plot. Who survives and how real is that which has, is finally the crux of the story.


Does it encapture the turbulence of metro life? Yes and more. From the first scene to the last one is kept rivetted. The dialogues and screenplay as if providing a slice of life in its un corrupted almost pristine version. Never a false moment, contrived emotion. This proves to be the strong-point of the film. One forgets oneself, loses sense of separateness from the characters. No small feat!



Flaws however, do make their presence felt. First the inclusion of Dharmendra and Nafisa Ali. Their story somehow seemed redundant and did not fit in. Considering that sufficient thought may have gone into development of characters and the rationale , one is thinking aloud. If it is meant to convey old age homes as the growing phenomenon of metro life , the perhaps the logicality does impress. But then again..Why Nafisa Ali. She hardly appeared as fit candidate. If at all her presence was integral to the film, since Shilpa met Shiney there, then why the love angle? Unless yet again we decide to logicalise it. Perhaps the intention was to mirror the ‘live and let live’ adage in cities. Where traditional old shackles, long past their expiry date, are broken to welcome the advent of a new freedom, Love Happens..irrespective of Age. One wishes however the pair was different. Victor Banerjee, in the role of Dharmendra would have been fantastic.

The only scene which worked with the couple was a dying Nafisa Ali in an Ambulance and a traffic bottleneck that reuses to melt. How often we experience that..its scary! A truism of Metro life. Second flaw is the jarring break with the band playing at the height of emotional pitch of a scene. Why O Why? But besides these two, which in the final analysis, do not amount to much, unless one wants to make a gung ho of it as have some critics, obviously with a personal axe to grind, the experience is Fulfilling.


Irrfan Khan and Konkona Sens track provides guffaws and the much required light interlude. Surprising this coming from two actors so far known for their serious performances. It proves their versatility as much as Anurags brilliant writing. However, the duo whose story was the most appealing was Shiney Ahujas and Shilpa Shettys. Shilpa had signed on for the film previous to her halo-ed ‘Big Brother days’. Destiny has been kind to Anurag..all his actors had metamorphed into mini stars during the making of the film. The film is said to have been conceived during the filming of ‘Gangster’, when none of these hadas yet staked their claim to celebrity hood. So the Gods have been kind, deservedly.

Kudos to Shilpa and the Director, her performance is her best so far. Who could have imagined that she’d make you cry one day.. I mean films like ‘Garv’ finished her chances forever one would have imagined.

Shiney should now be officially declared the ‘eternal jilted lover’ after Hazaaron Khwahishe, Gangster, Woh lamhe..he has perfected the longing in his languid eyes, stubbled Devdas look, utterly romantic guy look to the hilt. He probably breezed through the part..but came out quite a winner.


Sharman Joshi, was the surprise package. Here is a guy who knows his marbles. Confident, self assured and professional. The story with Kangana and KK reminded one of ‘Yes Boss” ..similar dilemma, money vs Love as also the dream restaurant et al. Has Anurag intentionally lifted the story or is it that this phenomenon is so widespread/ubiquitous in a metro that singling it to a film would be unfair?


Kangana..Now she seems like someone form the silent era of Indian cinema, with accent to boot, re-mixed with the lost-in-the-woods, American babe look! Quite a combination. Is it appealing? Mmmm..donno.. Ask the guys.! Talent wise she is one who you can bet on.


KK you love to hate. Anurags depiction of a typical male chauvinist , replete with double standards, open to promiscuity, to a fault, but unwilling to accept his wifes needs, was unnervingly real.. though one hopes fervently their tribe is diminishing. But elucidating on this would go beyond the ambit of this review. Suffice to say that Anurag was honest enough to admit the prevalence of this decadent male, without excuses. However , why Shilpa decides to accept him once again bespeaks of how it is the inherent strength within a woman, her mental construct fed on a host of factors, social, economical, psychological which will ultimately dictate and reflect on her decision making process.


Musically, the song ‘In dinon’ hauntingly melodious..was the one you take home with you. The album on the whole..Certainly not Pritams best .


The success of this film will provide great hope to makers who have been marginalized due to the staggering star system. Dearth of talent was never the criteria. It’s the lack of backers who shied away from a project that did not reek of ‘Names’. Perhaps slowly audiences and Producers are being compelled to accept that a good film, is a good film, is a good film..irrespective of the marketing, packaging, glitz and glamour,empty star attraction and even more inane story telling.. Think ‘Ta Ra Rum Pum’.


The ‘Khans’ and the ‘Kumars’ should go view this film. The writing is up on the wall . They have bullied the industry for too long.


Lets not make the mistake of alluding to this film is ‘small’ by Bollywood’ film standards. UTV has been lavish in choice of cast and locales considering that shooting on Mumbai roads is an expensive affair. The budget appears to be more on the 7-8 crore bracket.. excluding publicity . Coupled with expert marketing and aggressive PR, the desired result has been gratifying..The film will have recovered its cost in a week or two ..which is commendable. Anurag Basu at his sensitive best..a ‘must watch’..

Favorite scenes: Refreshingly remarkable writing and performances in the scene between Irrfan and Konkona on the rocks, where he enquires of her as to why she’d rejected him. Unforgettable as also when he takes her on the roof and urges her to shout out her angst. Shilpa running out of Shineys friends house confused, tormented and guilty! A film I’d want to watch over again.


Rating 4/5

Featured post on Sulekha



  1. Hi Kaveetha,

    As usual Great review !!!Thank you.Lastly, I just wish our directors come up with some interesting and unusual star combinations than the usual ones( rani-abhishek, kajol-srk etc) like bipasha-kaykay,john-ash,rani-rahul bose,rahul bose-ash,aamir-ash,kajol-rahul bose,sushmita-kaykay
    saif-ash,irfan-kajol,srk-bipasha,srk-vidya,aamir-vidya,abhishek-vidya,hrithik-vidya …. i can go on and on.

    Comment by Nitin — May 15, 2007 @ 2:24 pm | Reply

  2. Yeah..great review. That dharmendra angle i dint like also. Irrfan and konkona were my choice. tho I think that the shiney and shilpa pair did a great job.But she took him back..such a loser..its so regressive. I liked the end very much more than the beginning….i found it slow.

    Comment by Neha — May 15, 2007 @ 10:37 pm | Reply

  3. I forgot to add. this is after a long time that we did not get the tics of a film. Fame, Infiniti, fun nowhere even for the last show. Great opening..90%

    Comment by Neha — May 15, 2007 @ 10:38 pm | Reply

  4. Hi Nitin..Thanks

    Interesting combos..sushmita kay kay especially..probably on soon.But right now I am blinded and totally biased towards this absolutely brilliant performer.. Irrfan Khan.

    Hi Neha..Thankoo..

    I like Dharmendra but not in this role…and why she took him back? I have no clue it was really disappointing..Probably she hadnt seen Kank where Rani left Abhishek.. WHY? Ainwayee..for a lark.
    And its good to hear its doing well.. One was up to here with news only of YRF films drawing masses..Are our audiences growing up or am I being overly optimistic??

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — May 16, 2007 @ 10:55 am | Reply

  5. Hi Kaveeta,

    Enjoyed reading the review. It seemed so professional. Do you write for the print media in another name? If not, you should.. better than all the Subhash Jhas and toi critics. Dont mind it..its only a suggestion.

    I liked Dharmendra and nafisa alis angle. It was so cute. They also acted so well.

    Comment by Ashima — May 16, 2007 @ 1:16 pm | Reply

  6. Kaveetaa ji, i feel it is a good movie but not great movie. UTv and their publicity and Pr teams did a great job or nobody might have even gone to see it. Annd like you said the stars achieved success while the movie was getting made. Irrfan Khan and Konkona and the dialogues were the best.

    Comment by Anjaana — May 16, 2007 @ 4:03 pm | Reply

  7. Hi Ashima,
    I received this query from a reader at Sulekha as well. No I am not reviewing professionally but write ups generally do appear. But ‘kal ky hoga kisko pata’..
    Hi Anjaana ji,
    Without the firm backing and support of UTV there were chances that the initial which this film has received might not have been so. A production house well geared in its professional ethics, and knowledgeable about the ropes is such a huge advantage.Ans yes the stars having gained success while the film was in its scheduling stage has also been a boon. Destiny has been kind to Anurag..hope it is for other makers who are honest to their craft and not businessmen or peddlers to the core.
    This film should indeed wake up the MSM and ‘big’ houses who have gained mileage purely on the basis of their star power. Its time to sell the coffee. Watch out.. Indian cinema is on REVIVAL mode.. may the best survive.. I am hoping strongly the audiences have learnt to discern between a ‘good film and a ‘hyped’ film by now.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — May 17, 2007 @ 9:06 am | Reply

  8. Hi Kaveetha ,

    I would like to add(with reference to Ashima’s request) here something ,it will be wonderful if some television channel comes up with an idea of hosting a talkshow with you.I will be delighted seeing you on the small screen.You are hugely talented ,articulate,intellectual etc.. deep understanding of cinema or life in general and thorough knowledge of anything under the sun…
    I feel its the TV channels loss if they don’t approach you .I want to see you hosting a talkshow like koffee with karan – may be ‘ konfessions with kaveetha’,’kaveetha’s stop’, ‘katta metta with kaveetha’ …..and so on.Hope you won’t mind ‘k’ fixation.Believe me i’m not a sycophant , i truly believe you are the best for the job.After seeing so many shows which are so predictable with stupid(or routine) questions being asked and ready made answers (which even a school going can predict..) and lastly thank you for the review.Great!


    Comment by laxmi — May 18, 2007 @ 10:46 am | Reply

  9. Hi Laxmi,

    What can I say to such a truly wonderful comment! Thank You.. You are such a pet.

    Star Tv Bosses.. Are You Reading??? You truly missing something!!

    Hey Ashima and Laxmi.. how about staging a dharna outside Stars offices.. “Give us Kaveetaa’ 😉

    Before I get swollen with narcissism let me quickly puncture a hole and meditate on the transience of my being..

    Aham Brahmasmi! Anicca!

    Thanks guys..

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — May 18, 2007 @ 5:53 pm | Reply

  10. When Kangana speaks it is as if some angels speaks on her behalf. I doubt if there is any actress in Bollywood today with the voice quality of Kangana. Juhi has good voice modulation (Tabu except Namesake is very flat), but when it comes to voice quality, it is Kangana all the way. I know people have liked the Irfan/Konkena track best, but I liked Kangana. When she smiles….she rearranges the beats in one heart.

    OK Irfan & Konkena were good too. For a second I found his compliments about she being very beautiful, kind of hollow, I mean when you have Kangana in a movie, how can you praise anyone else, but then it occurred to be that we are talking of transposed axis. It is a different playing field.

    Dharmendra spooning Nafisa has but me on a diet, I am officially off sex. Don’t get me wrong, their track was cute and it was great to see Paaji, but that spooning bit was Disgusting and should have come with some warning. I was traumatized. One moment you are on cloud nine with Kangana and the next moment, bang, there is Dharmendra spooning Nafisa. I have to see an Ophthalmologist and get my eyes washed.

    Overall good acting. Good movie.

    Comment by Shaan Khan — May 26, 2007 @ 11:30 am | Reply

  11. So ..that would mean ..umm that you like kangana?? ..Tee hee.. kidding.
    Like I said.. the guys would know.. I find her a good actress who physically resembles a coffee (demitasse) spoon, vertically balanced.
    About her voice..havent really noticed. the accent kinda kept me bemused..But you aint heard nothin yet.. havent heard mine..Approached to dub a zillion times but elegantly refused.. Serious. But ofcourse there can always be second best! Kangana’s in the runing..if you say so. How about Rani Mukherji?? ( wicked smirk)
    Yaa paaji and nafisa aunty…well.. individually they are great, but as a pair, Nahin..nahin..bebas junta par yeh anyay kyon??

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — May 26, 2007 @ 4:49 pm | Reply

  12. Having had a grand father who did not learn to speak a word of the Desi languages (communicated via grand mother to the world at large in Bombay), I have got very sensitive to words and sounds.

    Rani does not have clarity. She does not sound like a native speaker of Hindi/Urdu. She is good too. Irfan (amongst guys) makes up with his voice the shortcoming in his face. Good voice and good command. He is the Juhi Jawla of men. Nana P has an irritating quality in his voice.

    What a shame that this movie may not even make 100 to 120 million INR. I suggest that Anurag Basu (like Kangana) thinks of teaming up with THE studio.

    Comment by Shaan Khan — May 26, 2007 @ 6:00 pm | Reply

  13. You arent serious Shaan.. I cited Ranis example with a wicked smirk in parenthesis..she has a grating voice which can get disturbing.. a real put off.

    THE studio will dominate, and chew him up…Independence and creative liberty is an absolute must, which are alien terms there.UTV is good enuf methinks.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — May 26, 2007 @ 6:22 pm | Reply

  14. Years ago as an RA to a prof at my university (I was a student then working towards a Masters)I told a student (was requested by my Prof to go easy on this person) that she was great except, a few things. I then went on politely praising her while deconstructing everything about her paper.

    She later met my Prof and told him how much I liked her paper.

    Comment by Shaan Khan — May 26, 2007 @ 6:38 pm | Reply

  15. That was thoughtful, caring, sensitive and diplomatic. But why would you think these and such like traits are a common forte and especially with THE studio, if in fact this is what you were alluding to?
    Personal experience of a kind tells me a whole different tale which reeks of pomposity, feudalistic tendencies, unfair ultimatums, veiled threats, monetary name a few.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — May 27, 2007 @ 8:20 am | Reply

  16. Life is complex. It is like the Arabic word “Taqwa”. It means “love of”. It means “fear of”. It means “awareness of”. I can go on and yet not completely define “Taqwa”. It is difficult with “love” alone to get things done. Look at Iraq or former Yugoslavia, do you think Saddam or Tito could have ruled with love alone ? Sometimes the choice of actions is based on the environment. USA today after turning itself into a Saddam like clone are realizing this bitter truth.

    Comment by Shaan Khan — May 27, 2007 @ 7:57 pm | Reply

  17. Lol.. Shaan surely you perceive the essential difference between being at the helm of affairs of a country at war and that of leading a corporation. It might be incumbent on the former to adopt myriad tactics, the latter is at best a partner in a commercial enterprise, with much to gain from another’s creativity.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — May 28, 2007 @ 5:45 pm | Reply

  18. Military leaders always end up doing well in corporations.

    For the last fifty sixty years most corporation in the west are teaching their employees on the principals of Sun Tzu “Art of War”.

    Business is the new war. Once we conquered territories and also we conquer territories.

    Comment by Shaan Khan — May 28, 2007 @ 5:53 pm | Reply

  19. I was under the impression that making films was like making love and not akin to making war. It was passion driven..with art as its soul.

    Tell me I am wrong.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — May 28, 2007 @ 5:56 pm | Reply

  20. You are mixing apples and oranges. Film making is yes akin to making love but the business end of it is ALL WAR. Hence those that cannot control the business end will always endup with the short end of the stick.

    I say learn the business first.

    Comment by Shaan Khan — May 28, 2007 @ 10:52 pm | Reply

  21. In the best interests of the argument suppose we agree on the ‘learn the business first’ angle.

    This at once demands that we relegate The Studio to managing business affairs strictly granting creative liberty to the maker..doesnt it? They cannot hope to be masters of the game in all its aspects! They can either be the ‘orange’ or the ‘apple’. Which is exactly my contention in the first place..they are an interfering lot.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — May 29, 2007 @ 3:57 pm | Reply

  22. Kav:

    In this respect they are no different than most well run companies. Some of the best companies have their Production Division report to Marketing Division(generally Production reports to Finance). Never do we see Production head the company. Honestly as I see it, things may not be ideal. But this pursuit of idealism has to be questioned. Some chaos, bullying, irrationality etc is like the small unemployment rate which is natural and present in all economies.

    Life itself needs some stress. Life without stress is as unlivable as like with huge stress. Hence the old saying when life serves you with lemon make lemonade.

    Don’t worry be happy.

    Comment by Shaan Khan — May 29, 2007 @ 4:59 pm | Reply

  23. OH I’m happy Shaan!

    Just intrigued to bits ..dying to know just what is your equation, dear friend with The studio? Your loyalty is disarming !

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — May 29, 2007 @ 5:06 pm | Reply

  24. Thus the eternal question that humans have grappled with, ” Who is Shaan Khan” 🙂 But so as to not stress you out completely, let me also state that I also supported MS. I thought bringing it down was going to be detrimental to business. The Clinton admin went after MS and we saw what happened. Hence, as much as I recognize that small businesses provides depth and stability, it is big business which is the engine that could. We need Halliburtons etc. INDIA needs The studio.

    Comment by Shaan Khan — May 29, 2007 @ 7:52 pm | Reply

  25. A Capitolist with the heart of a Philanthropist..Paradoxical my dear Watson er Shaan!

    India needs a studio which will back films of the kind Mexico, Brazil, China have manged to produce. Stars dont need mollycoddling anymore and a perpetuation of their tribe.. which is what The studio is doing at an alarming pace.. Films may get bigger, but certainly arent getting better.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — May 30, 2007 @ 8:32 am | Reply

  26. Honestly

    I say what I believe. People try to assign all kinds of reasons. Some attack me too. Nonetheless I believe in what I believe till someone gives me good reasons to update my thought.

    I believe in small government and big businesses.

    I believe that everyone has a right to practice their religion in the manner they feel correct. I believe that religious people don’t kill and murder but it is the lack of religion that makes people intolerant.

    I believe in equal rights for women (Men are different from women, and hence I am better at somethings while the women are better at other things. Together we compliment each other overcome individual short comings).

    Yes, I also believe the Bachchalans are scum bags (not that there are many saints in Bollywood).

    But as I have said many a times I am open to change. I do agree that there is room for film makers with passion, but they will only succeed if they adopt a more universal cinematic language (making very personal movies that only you understand is out).

    So my dear we agree on somethings and disagree on other.

    Comment by Shaan Khan — May 30, 2007 @ 7:51 pm | Reply

  27. ‘Universal cinematic language’ most certainly..which is precisely why I quoted the example of Mexico, Brazil etc..and which is also why I believe that the studio will not, atleast in the near future, adopt makers with passion.

    Right now they are too sold on selling their films..and stars are the perfect guarantee.The day markets open up to the extent that they can ditch their star friends, Oh you can be sure they will hitch on to the band wagon in full swing and greatvigor.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — June 1, 2007 @ 12:56 am | Reply

  28. Awesome Review Kaveetha! I have posted it on Naachgaana as well. Hope you’ve been keeping well,



    Comment by Akshay Shah — June 5, 2007 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

  29. Thanks a ton are a pet.

    I’m doing fine..and you?

    Sorry for the delay in laptop was showing attitude like the gujjars in Rajasthan..Alls well now..on both fronts 🙂

    And thanks for posting it on NG… Love that site.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — June 6, 2007 @ 8:27 pm | Reply

  30. The review is good except for the comment about Victor Banerjee. Dharmendra has done exceptionally well in the role and I do not think Mr. Banerjee would have done much of justice to the role. As far as I have seen Victor Banerjee, he fits a special type of character; the stoic, depressed, egomaniac. His efforts at emoting the naunces of expressing romantic love leaves much to be desired. Dharmendra is versatile and fits the role quite well.

    Comment by Sri — June 9, 2007 @ 1:15 am | Reply

  31. Perhaps…but my reference was not to Dharmendra alone but the pair. With Nafisa ali somehow the combination lost a ring of truth which otherwise was the forte of the film. None of the other characters looked forced or contrived. But this is subjective sri. It must have worked for you like it has for quite a few I have met.

    As for Victor bannerjee’s ‘efforts at emoting the naunces of expressing romantic love leaves much to be desired’ I dont agree. he is an extremely versatile actor, with a romantic air about him. Perhaps you may not have seen him in roles which required him to be soft, romantic, warm. Have you seen Joggers park? That may give you a peek into the brilliance of this actor. Which is not meant to undermine Dharam Paajis talent, but a choice about suitability.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — June 9, 2007 @ 5:59 am | Reply


    FANTASTIC review Kaveeta, and as promised link to mine above….


    Comment by Akshay Shah — July 29, 2007 @ 11:11 am | Reply

  33. this looks like the indian middle-upper class pretense of being as “advanced” as western urban culture

    Comment by sameet — November 11, 2009 @ 3:25 am | Reply

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