CityLights is an official remake of the international award winning film ‘Metro Manila’ that has received critical acclaim and won awards at ‘British Independent Film Awards’, ‘Amazonas Film Festival’, ‘Sundance Film Festival’, ‘Hamburg Film Festival’ apart from being the British entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the ’86th Academy Awards’.
‘Poverty is a disease,’ says a character in Hansal Mehta’s latest film Citylights.
Poverty is like working in a coal mine, you can clean yourself as much as you want but it embalms itself in your DNA.
We have all seen bad times, the degree might vary. We tend to romanticize that part during the good times; it makes us get up and go on because we cannot go back. It is our boogeyman — that thing in the closet waiting for us if we stop moving.
Citylights is an official adaptation of British film Metro Manila — a fact reiterated six times during the opening credits. But the manner in which it’s adapted makes the film a story of India, a story of every small town family that dares to dream and moves bed and board to the city of dreams — Mumbai.
Mumbai is a city that will break you, beat you down, spit on you and test you. If you still manage to get up, it will take you in its arms like a mother, love you and lull you till it breaks you down again the next day.
The only way to get what you want in this city is to love it but break it down because if you are not happy, there is no love in your heart.
City Lights tells the story of an immigrant from Rajasthan, who moves to Mumbai with his wife and daughter and their struggle for survival.
The film has a big heart and is a payback of sorts.
If Shahid was Hansal Mehta giving love to Rajkummar Rao, Citylights sees the latter reciprocating in kind to the director.
Composer Jeet Ganguly and lyricist Rashmi Singh leave a haunting impression with Sone Doand Muskurane’s terrific use in the film.
Producers Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt and Fox Studios deserve kudos for backing such a raw, visceral film.
What makes City Lights memorable is how Hansal Mehta infuses his struggle into it.
I have known Hansal for a better part of my life; we have seen both good days and bad. In this film, he gathers all his pain, pours it in a glass and makes Rajkummar drink it.