The yawning hiatus that is being created between the haves and the have-nots is becoming a major area of concern for the policy makers and social thinkers. Civil Society's other major arm, i.e. cinema and here it is meant the mainstream cinema was not contributing its might. But it seems with Mahesh Manjerekar CITY OF GOLD things could change.
Interestingly enough, while Mahesh Manjerekar has informed that his film has been adapted from a drama, Gillian Tindall wrote a book more than fifty years ago by the same name, i.e. City of Gold. It again was a curtain raised about the manner in which the city of Mumbai was evolving and Mahesh Manjerakar's CITY OF GOLD is a kind of reality check on the manner in which city has become oblivious to its most important part and parcel, the mill workers who were responsible for its vitality, diversity and cosmopolitanism.
Sachin Khedkar and Mahesh Manjerekar are emerging as a new director actor duo that is trying to create some cinematic expressions, which underline the vitality of the life in Mumbai as it unfolds in Mumbai. To make CITY OF GOLD really realistic Mahesh Manjerekar has given an important role to Seema Biswas in the film.
One thing that also needs to be underlined about Mumbai is the role that the mills have played in the landscape of the city and the manner in which it is slowly giving away to the high-rise buildings. The manner in which the mills are being erased from the landscape of Mumbai, it would not be long, when there reference would only be found in the books and journals.
Mills had been in use as location for quite a long time in Hindi films, Mukesh Mill being the most illustrious among the peers, but seldom was the mill worker who worked in landscapes shown in any of the films where the old derelict buildings formed a part of the landscape. It indeed is an ironic situation as there is no cinematic documentation of such an important cog of Mumbai's visual history. The long shots of the rooftop of the Mills in Mumbai has been used on a regular basis, but seldom has its interior façade been depicted through camera as it has become disfigured.
One thing that needs to be underlined through CITY OF GOLD if the city has forgotten to address is, the manner in which the mill workers are getting shrunk from all the sides. The mill workers are also responsible for an important urban heritage, the chawls, and they are also facing pressure to get converted into SRA.
Mahesh Manjerekar has developed a particular knack in highlighting issues of neighborhood that cannot be pushed under the carpet. May be, after the attempt of Mahesh Manjerekar in CITY OF GOLD more such films would come in the offing.