City of Gold- Manjrekar back in form! – A Must WATCH
Rating: 3.5 out of 5*
Starring: Ankush Choudhary, Siddharth Jadhav, Sachin Khedekar, Sameer Dharmadhikari, Karan Patel, Seema Biswas, Shashank Shende and Vinay Apte
Director: Mahesh Manjrekar
Set in the early 80s, City of Gold narrates the tale of mill workers who lost their daily livelihood thanks to the greedy mill owners who were hand in glove with the government officials and Ministers.
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Anna (Shashank Shende) and his wife (Seema Biswas) hit hard times after the closure of Khaitan Mill. They have four children, playwright Baba (Ankush Choudhary), bank peon Mohan (Vinit Kumar), beauty parlour employee Manju (Veena Jhamkar) and Naru (Karan Patel) who is a good for nothing turned small goon. Along with his friend Speedbreaker, (Siddharth Jadhav), Naru indulges in bhaigiri and is the only one who succeeds in bringing in some money whenever needed. Manju has an affair with the local bania’s married son and becomes pregnant. This shocks Anna so much, he suffers a stroke and is paralysed. Meanwhile, Mohan is having an affair with Mama’s (Satish Kaushik) wife (Kashmera Shah), who eventually delivers her lover’s child. However, the mill workers continue to suffer with one family committing suicide. Union leader Rane (Sachin Khedekar) tries to persuade the mill owners to reopen the mills but they are adamant on building residential towers on the land. How the fight between mill workers and owners ruins lives of both sections forms the rest of the drama.
Mahesh Manjrekar deserves kudos for attempting such a film which exposes the nexus between the mill owners, politicians and corrupt bureaucrats. It’s a dark reality that till date there are thousands of families that have suffered due to the untimely shut down of such mills. Manjrekar has chosen to focus on one such family in the film, the Dhuri family. The narrative is pacy in the first half but gets very violent in the second half as the proceedings get grittier. Full marks to Manjrekar and his team for mounting early 80s Mumbai without resorting to gimmicks of any sorts. Right from clothing style to transistors to old Black and White TV, all are straight out of 80s real life. The script however is the main hero of the film. With so many multiple tracks running parallel, it’s a tough job to balance it all out right till the end but the Manjrekar and his writer Jayant Pawar have managed it well. There is a good lavni during the opening titles of the film featuring Resham Tipnis.
There is a huge ensemble cast with each and every one pitching in their best. The best performers are Siddharth Jadhav, Karan Patel, Seema Biswas and Sachin Khedekar. Samir Dharmadhikari playing the evil mill owner is impressive too.
It is a must watch film for those who like serious cinema and have no idea what once stood in Mumbai’s Lalbaug Parel area where now stand huge multi storeyed towers and corporate offices. It’s a great come back to form by Mahesh Manjrekar after a long gap.