Of life in the maximum city: a simple sentence that could embody Anurag Basu’s “Life in the Metro”. The 2007 film is a multi-layered narrative that revolves around human relationships. Its style was simple, but not simplistic.
And it’s one of those films that serves as a kind of time machine when viewed through the lens of the present: a pre-scandal Shiney Ahuja, a young and promising Kangana Ranaut, and a Sharman Joshi with potential. The only thing that has remained the same in all these 13 years of Metro is perhaps the acting credibility of Kay Kay Menon and Konkona Sen Sharma, and of course the fact that Shilpa Shetty still looks the same. Sadly, we no longer have Irrfan Khan among us.
Anurag Basu has given us a few movies over the years; some bad, some decent and some good ones too. Metro was a good film that deftly dealt with the anthology form while giving us the experience of watching a full-length feature film. Perhaps the most admirable thing about the film is the way it connected the dots and explored the full potential of the talent in a limited time frame.
For the uninitiated: Life on the Underground consists of four main storylines. An older couple looking for some freshness and romance, an ambitious young man working for a manipulative boss, a young married couple who can’t stand each other, and a virgin who wants to meet the man of her dreams when the time comes. The way these stories overlap and intersect now forms the larger plot.
While all the performances are good, Irrfan and Konkona’s story stood out for me. Not only did their narration provide some much needed comic relief in the film, but their chemistry was undeniable.
It was a feast for the eyes to see two strong talents not only share the screen, but interact and infect each other with their energy. My favorite sequence in the film is when Konkona’s character is having trouble keeping it together and Irrfan’s Monty encourages her to cry. It’s cathartic and funny at the same time.
With the upcoming release of Ludo, it will be interesting to see how Anurag Basu tackles the anthology form again.