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ISLAND CITY (Hindi) - A not to be missed extremely intelligent take on life that puts you on a serious thinking mode like an innovative, experimental, thought provoking book. (Review by Bobby Sing) (Movies To See Before You Die - Drama)

28 Sep, 2016 | Movie Reviews / 2016 Releases / Movies To See Before You Die / Drama

A few days back renowned director Sudhir Mishra shared a valuable insight through his tweet remembering the maestro filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, and he said,

“The master once told a group of us in Tokyo that if you think you’re a director then you must have many stories!”
The quote at once got me sold, as that’s exactly what I look for in each and every film I see and the book I read, meeting a wide range of characters which is not really possible as an individual relating and interacting to a limited number of people in a life span of say 70 years.
These fresh, novel stories give us the opportunity of being with many new unknown characters studying their contrasting thought processes enriching our own being, and that’s precisely what Ruchika Oberoi’sISLAND CITY offers in her rare insightful film conceived in an almost perfect manner justifying the maestro’s quote.
With an apt title as ISLAND CITY, this is a brave, powerful film that forces you to stop for a while and think about the way we all have been living since the last two decades with the technology turning us into mere mechanical robots living like an island far away from our real close friends and family.
The film follows an intelligently crafted narration introducing the viewers to its lead characters in three distinctive related stories or sections representing aimless robotic living, loneliness and purposeful feeding of our minds cleverly conceived by the successful marketing agencies. It gives you an insight into the life lived in the metros like Mumbai, Delhi-NCR or Bangalore with a sharp sarcasm. A strong satire on the present style of living wherein we are more interested in constantly looking into our web connected gadgets (affecting the mind & spine both) instead of the people around. In fact this is the net-savvy age where we wake up searching for the mobile phones lying somewhere over the bed instead of anything else.
In other words here is a rare Hindi film which truly excels due to its exceptionally innovative writing, futuristic execution and performances along with adequate dosage of fun, sarcasm, tragedy, empathy and blind following too. But here instead of revealing the three interconnected stories ruining their immensely valuable surprise element, I would like to give you an indicative hint that ideally should inspire you enough to search for this movie and go for it at the earliest to cherish a novel experience rarely offered by our Hindi Cinema.
The first story is titled FUN COMMITTEE
- And its about most of us working for various multi-national companies regularly reminding us of their ‘so called liberal policies‘ which always take an extra special care of their employees, their personal needs and the leisure time too. In fact it makes you recall the numerous times you had actually thought of picking a gun and shooting them all in that awful round table meeting in the last many years, enacted by one of the most underrated but fabulous actor Vinay Pathak.
The second and the most shocking story of the three is titled GHOST IN THE MACHINE.
- Introducing you to a simple middle class family with their sole bread earner (the husband) lying on his dead bed in the hospital, it’s about how this sudden tragic instance ‘positively’ changes the entire life of his wife, two young school going boys and the old mother living together. (Yes you rightly read the word ‘positively’)
The most appreciable and eye-opener section of the film, this one brutally honest story makes you accept and realize two extreme blunt truths of our new-age lifestyle which many would like to ignore or never think about.
A. In the present ‘gadget led life of this new millennium’ there are moments when we prefer ignoring and avoiding our close loving family members too for that one episode on TV or for that one continuing discussion/post/tweet at Facebook or Twitter. 
(I think it will be hard to deny this ugly truth!)
B. At times, may be unwillingly or confusingly we do feel like celebrating the ‘absence’ of someone close who constantly keeps interfering in our individual life, personal aspirations or way of living. May be with a deep guilt or regret, we often feel like living alone without that one annoying person due to our own selfish motives or satisfaction. 
Is thinking in that manner, refusing to sacrifice one’s own identity or life really a grave sin……is the question this story asks from its insightful viewers?
(Frankly, you are going to get this perfectly only after watching the film.)
This particular section of ISLAND CITY hits you the hardest, due to its ‘never before’ kind of shocking revelation and the flawless performances by Amruta Subhash (as the wife) and Uttara Baokar (as the mother) along with the young boys. Plus the way Ruchika brilliantly expresses this extremely difficult thought focusing on a typical Saas-Bahu TV drama running parallel to the actual storyline is nothing short of a rare, courageous insertion seen in an Indian Hindi film after a long time.
The third story is rightly titled CONTACT.
- And its about an average looking girl going through a mental transformation as she starts hearing praises for her beauty all of a sudden from a pleasant undisclosed source.
Interestingly this third section of ISLAND CITY, looking into the possibilities of gradually influencing the mind through constant positive suggestions made me recall two much appreciated cult English classics namely BEING JOHN MALKOVICH (1999) and A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971) which also talked about exploring the human mind in a completely different and innovative manner (that might be offensive for many). However if a Hindi film makes you recall these two outstanding gems from the much advanced cinema of the world’s renowned directors, then its nothing short of an unexpected, worth applauding achievement for sure as per my personal opinion.
The key character of the girl in this story is superbly played by Tannishtha Chatterjee who gets a decent support from Chandan Roy Sanyal playing her steady boyfriend.
Collectively, yes at times the three stories do get into the predictable zone for a while but the characterization doesn’t let that kill the flow and the performances contribute in the whole intriguing process with a stunning ease.
Admittedly it’s not easy to write and visualize a film like ISLAND CITY without compromising with the usual songs or spoon feeding loved by the Hindi film viewers. Thankfully debutant director Ruchika Oberoi makes her film exactly as she wished to and that’s precisely the reason it turns out to be like a fresh morning breeze in the overstuffed pollution of all mediocre Hindi movies made on the similar repetitive plots.
Supporting the thoughtful director, the cinematography compliments the proceedings beautifully and the background music excels at places with the use of the rarely heard Sitar expressing the right mood.
On the other hand, no doubt ISLAND CITY makes you think, sympathize and laugh too in a thoughtful satirical manner at the absurdities of this media-based life. Yet it isn’t a happy film at all giving you a clear idea. The three stories in the film do not have any positive culminations and they all end at a very shocking as well as sad note with no motive of impressing or reassuring the viewers with some kind of calculative end (another reason why it is a rare Hindi film and one of the best of 2016 unarguably).
Summing up, ISLAND CITY deservingly moves to BTC’s "Movies To See Before You Die" List for its second and third setions in particular. So if you are game for such out of the box, deep, and disturbing stories forcing you to sit back and think, then do search for the film and watch it at the earliest making an extra effort.
Rating : Movies To See Before You Die (Drama)

Tags : Island City Review by Bobby Sing, Island City (Hindi) Film Review by Bobby Sing, Must Watch Films List at BTC, Movies To See Before You Die list at bobbytalkscinema.com, Must Watch Hindi Films List at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Hindi Films Reviews, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com
28 Sep 2016 / Comment ( 0 )
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