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Movies that bring Mumbai to life

Mumbai has always been a fascinating city, serving a perfect backdrop for a plethora of films. If a grey character was to be a city, it would surely be Mumbai. Owing to its captivating personality Mumbai is a muse for many, while some focus on the dreamy parts, some opt for the flip-side and show you how overwhelming this city can be. Here is a list of few *arguably* underappreciated films that perfectly capture the essence of Mumbai with brilliant storytelling techniques.

  • 1
    Salaam Bombay (1988)

    Pic Courtesy : tosshub

    Salaam Bombay (1988)

    Entertainment, Stay at Home

    Mira Nair takes the streets of Mumbai and without any refinements brings it to you. Two great aspects that bring the authenticity to this film are the characters and the setting. Chaipau, the central character of this film is played by an 11-year old boy – Shafiq Syed – who is actually a street child. Mira Nair along with her team sought out real gems from the Mumbai streets and brought them to the big screen. Another major key point of this film is that none of the scenes were shot on a set, it was all on the actual location; the streets. With exceptional storytelling, this film unfolds the many facets of street life, which sometimes tend to be safer than being recognized by the police. Chaipau ends up in Mumbai in search of his family and works as a runner for a tea stall. He observes the varied lives lived on this street and befriends a 16-year old girl, who has a history of her own. It unravels a sub-plot where a prostitute lives in constant fear of her child being snatched away from her, owing to her means of livelihood. A beautiful blend of emotions and drama, this film is many stories in one and is definitely a must-watch.

  • 2
    Life in a…Metro (2007)

    Pic Courtesy : @nflxso

    Life in a…Metro (2007)

    Entertainment, Stay at Home

    Struggling has always been a word associated with Mumbai, aptly describing nearly every Mumbaikar’s life in one word. A married couple play-acting in their obligatory relationship. While the husband gets involved in infidelity, the wife cannot help but wonder too, only to end up compromising for her daughter. A beautifully perfect girl is obligated to worry about her virginity as she heads out to seek her groom. And a simple guy is lost in the chaos around his work and his one-sided love whilst a sexagenarian reunites with his college ex-flame for a live-in. Life in a…Metro does wonderful justice in portraying these nine lives in this precarious city called Mumbai. The only thing that can out-beat this beautifully orchestrated story is their list of the most soulful songs, make sure you check them out.

  • 3
    Mumbai Meri Jaan (2008)

    Pic Courtesy : @indianfilmhistory

    Mumbai Meri Jaan (2008)

    Entertainment, Stay at Home

    There are often times in our life where we come across strangers on our daily route that end up being familiar faces; a causal head-nod, a wave or a simple welcoming smile. We never realise how much it comforts us to have one known smile amidst a crowd of angry train travellers until in a moment, it’s all gone. The 2006 bomb blasts in Mumbai was one such scenario where people lost it all in one blink. This movie narrates the lives of those who spiralled down into an emotional turmoil, re-thinking every ideal they held with great regard. A patriot who wouldn’t leave Mumbai for Silicon Valley, an unemployed character who decides to stay away from those of the ‘other’ community, a TV reporter whose own channel tries to win TRP over her grief of losing her fiancée in the blast while a street vendor tries to break-in into the plush world that keeps secluding him. Whilst the horrors unfold, it is the Indian cop that fuels the spirit of Mumbai into this film. As he remarks that Mumbai was born as a result of joining seven small islands, and what if this blast will break and divide it into pieces again? But we all know for a fact that, despite the horrific happenings, Mumbai was back on its feet braving all that came its way, together as one. This movie is an ode to the very spirit of Mumbai.

  • 4
    A Wednesday (2008)

    Pic Courtesy : @jhakaasmovies

    A Wednesday (2008)

    Entertainment, Stay at Home

    Besides the fact that this movie stars Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher in pivotal roles, it brings the topic of terrorism a brave new perspective. Naseeruddin Shah plays a common man residing in Mumbai who is tired of living in constant fear, on a constant lookout for yet another terror attack. He packs a flask of tea, a few sandwiches and puts his plan into action; disguised as a bomber he decides to teach everyone a lesson, especially the technologically challenged police that repeatedly fails to stop these attacks and get hold of the terrorists. In an attempt to save Mumbai, Naseeruddin Shah asks the police commissioner, Anupam Kher, to release four terrorists or else Mumbai would go up in flames. Bizarre right? Head on to the film to know why and how will this help save Mumbai.

  • 5
    Dhobi Ghat (2011)

    Pic Courtesy : @wordpress

    Dhobi Ghat (2011)

    Entertainment, Stay at Home

    While everyone wishes to stand out from the crowd, Mumbai never fails to remind you that you are, in fact, the crowd. There are countless migrants who flock to Mumbai in order to etch their distinct story but not everyone makes the cut. Dhobi Ghat is one such reminder, it is an interweaving of four different yet similar stories; Arun, an up-scale artist comes across Shai, an NRI investment banker at his exhibition. An unintended run-in that may or may not prove to be significant. In the mean-time, Shai befriends Munna, who is an aspiring actor but is currently stuck being a dhobi. On the other hand, Arun gets lost in the video-taped story of Yasmin, an ex-inmate of his current residence. Kiran Rao seamlessly inter-connects these four stories bringing to life this strange city that can both guide you or misdirect you in beautiful disguise.

  • 6
    The Lunchbox (2013)

    Pic Courtesy : @amazon

    The Lunchbox (2013)

    Entertainment, Stay at Home

    Mumbai’s dabba-waalas are as much the city’s lifeline as the Mumbai local and let no one tell you any different. This film depicts a sweet culinary tale between two strangers who happen to cross paths over a lunch box. Saajan Fernandes is an accountant whose only desire is to be left alone. Meanwhile, Ila is a housewife who simply wants her husband’s love. They both find their lost hope and companionship in their innocent banter over sarcastic notes and the delicacies prepared by Ila. As Shaikh, Saajan’s trainee remarkably mentions that sometimes the wrong train will get you to the right destination. The Lunchbox is a sweet and refreshing tale bringing alive the current Mumbai nostalgia we all feel.

  • 7
    CityLights (2014)

    Pic Courtesy : @toiimg

    CityLights (2014)

    Entertainment, Stay at Home

    Mumbai – the city of dreams – quite often is also the reason that crushes those very dreams. While the city welcomes everyone that comes at its bay, it somewhere asks for a greater rent in return. After having lost their village shop to debt, a simple family moves to Mumbai in hopes of doing better than just surviving. Deepak Singh and his wife Rakhi break into despair when the situation worsens and their daughter sleeps to bed hungry. Rakhi ends up working at a dance bar and Deepak gets himself into trouble in his quest to earn money. Brilliant performances by Patralekha and Rajkumar Rao will compel you to shed a bucket of heartfelt tears as their lives unfold. Will they get out of this mess and thrive in this overwhelming city?

 
  • Hetvi Vora

    Love the range of movies, from 1988 to 2014, these movies truly show Mumbai's true colours!!!

  • nishka210

    Thankyou for such beautiful recommendations!

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    Sep 01, 2015
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    Sep 01, 2015
    • Burger

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