Hansal Mehta’s Citylights has a brilliant, eloquent and heart wrenching trailer. The National Award winning duo Rajkummar Rao and Mehta are back after a solid and thunderous film like Shahid. While Shahid was mainly a biopic with real instances to infer from, Citylights is more on the lines of fiction and way more substantially diverse. The lives of a content Rajasthani family uproots when misfortune hits them hard. They flee to Mumbai in the hope of a better life but end up falling prey to hucksters.
At the first look, the trailer of Citylights will remind you of Sean Ellis’ Metro Manila. The limelight on rural exodus to how overpopulated metropolitan cities lacking the potential to accommodate everyone respectfully are the prime themes of both films.
What might differ is the tone of narration. The trailer presents a very plain picture of the story. A scene where Rajkummar Rao is in Mumbai looking for a job quite explains why Mehta refuses to go gawdy on a film of this vein. Even in the wonderful shots of the Queen‘s necklace, there hasn’t been any dazzling moves. Rather the shot has been taken from an angle where the lights seem dim echoing and setting the somber mood of the story.
What is yet to see if the film maintains its grave tonality or ushers an optimistic mood at some point. Human nature has an affinity for optimism and it is quite unlikely that an all downhearted story will manage to work well. One can argue that Shahid too ended with the death of its protagonist, but the last scene was laced with hope and a powerful message that hasn’t faded out still.
I can’t wait to watch Citylights for Rajkummar Rao. Since a sleazy Ragini MMS, the actor has come a long way in establishing himself as a performer par excellence. In the one small scene in the trailer where he breaks down is enough to convey that probably in this one Rao has surpassed his own best and will pleasantly surprise us yet again. A great trailer makes me elated, and I can’t wait for the film then. Citylights is on my can’t-wait-to-watch list.