Alia, Kalki, Vidya at 'CityLights' special screening
After their national award winning performance in the critically acclaimed film ‘Shahid’, director-actor duo Hansal Mehta and Rajkummar Rao is returning with the film ‘CityLights’ which will release on 30th May. But before the public release, a special screening was organized for people from the film industry last Sunday in Mumbai and the response was really great. Alia Bhatt, daughter of Mahesh Bhatt whose production house Vishesh Films is involved with the film was one of the main organizers of the screening. The list of guests, who turned up for the screening at the Light Box Theatre in Mumbai, featured several big names of Bollywood.
Inspired by the British-Filipino film ‘Metro Manila’,‘CityLights’ is the story of Rajasthani farmer Deepak Singh and his family. They migrate to the metro city of Mumbai in search of a better life but upon arriving are faced with several challenges. This is the first film of both the director and the lead actor that will be released after their national award win. Naturally there was lot of expectation from the film and going by the reactions it may have fulfilled it. Among those who attended were Vidya Balan, Irrfan Khan, Kalki Keochlin, Huma Qureshi, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Arbaaz Khan. Everyone was unanimous in their praise of Rajkummar Rao who seems to have delivered another stellar performance after ‘Shahid’.
Newcomer Patralekha who plays the wife of Rajkummar in the film was not far behind. Her performance also caught the eye of the viewers. ‘Dabangg’ director Anubhav Sinha expressed on Twitter how much he liked the film. Tarun Mansukhani also tweeted, praising the near flawless acting performances and the efforts of the director Hansal Mehta who he felt has outdone himself as director. Producer Mahesh Bhatt went to the extent of saying that he is thinking about retiring as director because Hansal Mehta will replace him.
Alia Bhatt reportedly broke down after seeing the film. She later told the media, "After watching the film, I was speechless. It was outstanding. We already have a national award winner, Rajkummar Rao in the film. But Patralekha...This is her debut film and she has acted so well which I don't think I can ever touch upon." She added, “After 'Highway', I always used to see if people have tears in their eyes. Then I think that the movie is a hit. I came out crying of the theatre, so the director was very happy." The producers are now planning to hold another special screening for director Anurag Kashyap and his industry friends.