Starring: Rajkumar Rao, Patralekha, Manav Kaul
Directed by Hansal Mehta
One of the perennial tales that my maid shares with me over our morning tea together is about the Rs 69,000 that she was duped of in a kitty. Still haunted by the loss of her hard-earned money, she often wakes up in cold sweat in the middle of the night. Citylights unspools similar misfortunes, setbacks and despair in the life of its hard-up protagonist Deepak (Rajkumar Rao). The film gives due credit to Metro Manila, Sean Ellis’s much celebrated British-Filipino crime drama, of which it is a remake. Hansal Mehta told me that he hasn’t seen the original. Yet, he has been able to craft a fine, affecting film from the adapted script handed over to him.
The theme—of rural exodus and exploitation of the poor—fits...