“CityLights”… Metro vanilla

Baradwaj Rangan

Spoilers ahead…

Something about metros makes filmmakers reach for metaphors about birds. Most recently we had Nadaan parindey, the song in Rockstar that had the protagonist calling out to pigeons that were displaced when a jungle made way for a city. It’s the other way around in Hansal Mehta’s CityLights. (About that title, apart from a man’s decision to make things better for a loved one, there’s no connection to the Chaplin classic.) Here, the birds fly into the city – they’re the hungry migrants who flock to urban jungles. A security guard named Vishnu (Manav Kaul) points to birds in flight and tells his colleague Deepak (Rajkummar Rao) that the creatures come from afar and stay close because of fear, and they’ll die if left alone. He could be talking about those migrants. Deepak is one of them. He left a debt-ridden existence in a small town…

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