What is it all about?
Imagine a Bollywood flick set during 1982 but without a single song during the gritty two hrs thirty minutes even after having all the ingredients, pathos of a Bollywood masala affair. Mahesh Manjrekar does this in 'City Of Gold', and he is smart and effective.
Manjrekar intelligently in 'City Of Gold' has mixed the 'real' incident that happened in Mumbai mills during 1982 with pathos of Manoj Kumar's 'Roti Kapada Aur Makan' with his own gangster flick 'Vaastav' and delivered a bruising, visceral experience of a gritty, no-holds-barred drama.
The Story.......of course
Today, there is hardly anyone who hasn't visited the swanky shopping malls, nightclubs, lounge bars, clubs and other such lifestyle destinations that have sprung up across Mumbai. However, very few know that buried deep below lies the dark, dirty and painful reality of thousands of mill workers, who once worked the cotton mills in this very same area.
Rising and toiling to the wail of the mill sirens each and every day, seven days a week, these workers embodied the true unbridled zeal and unflagging spirit of the city and played a pivotal role in the evolution of Mumbai as the modern-day business capital of India. And then it suddenly was as if they never existed. Following the mill workers' strike in the mid-80s, these mills began closing down rapidly and the mill workers mysteriously disappeared.
The movie takes this real incident and tells the story of a family in Mumbai chawl which get affected and the life of each individual in the family.
What to look out for?
The movie talks about the era in Mumbai 1982 when the closure of mills in Mumbai was on cards with the owners wanting to sell it and the mill workers demanding compensation. The movie takes a realistic but dark view on the mill workers excruciating struggle to survive as they hope against hope while the frustration moves further, drawing their kids into a life of crime, brutality and murder as the only avenue open to them. Mahesh Manjrekar's background in gangster flicks is
evident in the movie and the hangover of 'Vaastav' still gives the hic but the drama is highly developed giving it slickness.
Manjrekar's impressive filmmaking craftsmanship and sharp storytelling skills make this 2 hrs 30 minutes film fly.
The movie grows on spinning its bruising tale around chawl near Wadia hospital in Mumbai where photographer Ajit Reddy moves along in the thick of the action creating the required impact as its shifts its focus to foreground different characters, often fleetingly introduced with a promise to expand on their stories later.
Pradyuman Kumar's action and Prashant Rane's art along with sharp cutting by Sarvesh Parab are fine compliments for Manjrekar's vision.
In addition to shooting style, the movie gets its real colours from its seasoned and unseasoned actors. Seema Biswas as Aai is fantastic. Siddharth Jadhav as Speed Breaker is outstanding Veena Jamkar as Manju is superb, Shashank Shende is fabulous, Sachin Khedekar as Rane is competent, Satish Kaushik and Kashmira Shah are brilliant, Sameer Dharmadhikari as the
egoist mill owner is fabulous and Vineet Singh as Mohan is brilliant.
But the surprise show stopper in this cat walk of performance is Karan Patel... He is a packet of talent.
And of course those boys in the flick who loved to hold a bottle in one hand and a revolver in another, all are marvelous actors.
What Not ?
The movie starts as a rare social drama on the struggle of the common mill worker who has no option but to trust his leader or the owner but ends as a gangster flick which almost threatens to ruin the fine effort before that.
The reason is lack of detailing, study and keeping just one track. At least a point or two from the mill owners side could have been explained, the corruption in the union could have been highlighted, the nexus must have been shown, the helmer forgets about this areas that could have given layers to his saga and given more identification. Instead it becomes more of a personal story where one of the affected kids kills the mill owner a capitalist as the kid turns into a gangster.
The movie in its excitement glamorizes teenage violence showing them thrillingly living with booze and guns that may be disconcerting to some.
Conclusion: Realistically dark, bloody and gritty 'City of Gold' is powered by solid performance which demands viewing but its for those who are in for such.