Life In A... Metro - Review
Review by Jack Foley
THE presence of Celebrity Big Brother winner Shilpa Shetty has undoubtedly helped Life In A… Metro to attract more attention than it deserves given the lacklustre nature of this ensemble Bollywood drama.
Anurag Basu’s movie sets out to deliver a realistic and unpretentious look at the lives and emotions of a handful of city dwellers in contemporary Mumbai – but it’s a hopelessly cliched affair that’s hindered still further by some of its wilder artistic flourishes.
The film follows the fortunes of seven main characters, including Shetty’s beautiful Shikha, a wife and mother who is struggling to cope with a failing marriage and the suspicion that her husband (Kay Kay Menon) is having an affair.
When offered the chance of a fling of her own, following a chance encounter with Shiney Ahuja’s stranger Akash, she must balance the chance of escape with the loyalty and honour demanded of an Indian woman.
Elsewhere, office worker Neha (Kangna Ranaut) must choose between an adulterous affair and the affections of a charming new colleague (Sharman Joshi’s Rahul), and Shikha’s sister Shruti (Konkona Sharma) searches desperately for love and understanding while pushing against the unlikely advances of the socially awkward Debu (Irrfan Khan).
On the surface, Life In A… Metro promises the possibility of a sizzling hotbed of sexual desire and deceit that it never quite manages to deliver.
Characters feel too contrived and almost everyone is let down by a dreary script that frequently places a strain on the realism the director claims to have been seeking.
Several insights into Indian culture and changing attitudes are intriguing (mostly concerning Shetty’s character) but any potential is wasted by an MTV approach that insists on setting several sequences to the soundtrack provided by a band that integrates with the characters.
It’s like watching the comedy band from There’s Somethig About Mary being dropped into a reality-based situation and just doesn’t work (especially attempts to showcase an electric guitar being played in the rain!).
The hopelessly contrived finale is also over-egged and largely unrewarding given that so many of the outcomes have been telegraphed such a long way in advance.
The result is a tedious experience that seems to fly in the face of any of its noble intentions and which lacks the sophistication needed to help it crossover and appeal to mainstream audiences.
Running time: 2hrs 10mins