It has to be straightaway said that those who praised Hansal Mehta-directed "Citylights" do not know films. They cannot be blamed because they have not seen sufficient number of good films.
Sean Ellis'"Metro Manila" and Hansal Mehta's "Citylights"
The real issue about the pseudo-realist film is that the American film studio is able to coordinate film adaptations across languages and countries by facilitating it and making due acknowledgments about it. For example, when Vijay Anand and Dev Anand made "Tere Mere Sapne", the Anand duo did not acknowledge that it was an adaptation of A.J.Cronin's "The Citadel". Now things have become transparent. Hansal Mehta also need not be apologetic that he has adapted a story from The Philippines. What Mehta does with his adaptation is the most depressing aspect of the film. He has made a drab movie about a drab reality and resorted to all the old cliches of the inauthentic art cinema of the late 1960s and 1970s in India. We see the deceptive, amoral Mumbai at every stage and it is shown in the most mechanical manner, the indifferent denizens, the compassionate fellow-traveller, and the sleazy underworld are drawn into the story in a very lazy fashion. The new directors must see Mahesh Manjrekar's "Vaastav". Mohan Bhandarkar's "Chandni Bar" was starker than Mehta's "Citylights".
The irony that the director tries so hard to evoke is much too cliched and stilted non-punch lines.
If this is the kind of "quality films" that these big, global film studios are going to produce and the critics are going to praise them then the glory days of Hindi commercial melodramatic cinema are at an end. Call this the MacDonaldisation of Hindi cinema.
Sunday, June 01, 2014
Fox Star India-Mahesh Bhatt-Mukesh Bhatt, Hansal Mehta-directed "Citylights", an adaptation of Sean Ellis' "Metro Manila", a British-Filipino production
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