After wowing the British public with her Big Brother performance, Shilpa Shetty gets back to her day job as Bollywood actress. Shedding her glamorous image to play a neglected housewife tempted by infidelity, she's one of a handful of Mumbai residents whose everyday lives are the subject of Life In A Metro. Writer/director Anurag Basu's loosely-knitted collection of short stories do well to avoid the usual melodrama and song sequences associated with Hindi films, but his sex in the city style portrayal of metropolitan India is far from thrilling.
You'd be forgiven for forgetting Life In A Metro is set in one for the world's busiest cities. The frenzied pace at which Mumbai's real inhabitants go about their daily lives is noticeably missing from their screen counterparts, who have plenty of time to tend to personal affairs. A bored housewife (Shetty) embarking on an illicit friendship with an actor (Shiney Ahuja); a 30 year old virgin (Konkona Sen Sharma) on a mission to find a husband; and a young call centre worker who makes extra cash by hiring out his flat to cheating couples are just some of the wackos thrown into turmoil in their pursuit of love and happiness.
"FAILS ON AN ENTERTAINMENT LEVEL"
Emotions run amok and hearts are broken, but somehow this doesn't translate into tension and high drama. While clearly inspired by classics such as Brief Encounter, The Apartment and Robert Altman's Short Cuts, Basu's attempt to weave disconnected stories together like common strands of rope fails on an entertainment level. Only the tale of the feminist virgin who meets her match in a chauvinist, played to comic perfection by Sharma and Irrfan Khan, raises genuine interest. The rest of the stories, including Ms Shetty's underwritten role, have been done before and better.
In Hindi with English subtitles.
Life In A... Metro is released in UK cinemas on Friday 11th May 2007.