Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Traffic Signal depicts life on the streets of Mumbai through a traffic signal, where all kinds of people live, survive, jostle and yet remain human. A hard-hitting film that exposes the underbelly of Mumbai.
In a day scores of people go past multitudes of Traffic Signal's scattered all over the city. People sitting in their vehicles impatiently wait to get going. Though this waiting lasts but a few minutes it feels like a lifetime to them.
However unknown to them there thrives an industry that derives its livelihood from these people waiting at the Traffic Signals. The work force of this industry is not less than that of an average sized multinational. It comprises of a gamut of people thrown in together by fate or hunger. There are oddities to the likes of eunuchs, handicapped and impaired beggars, lepers, street kids, drug addicts, and prostitutes, vendors selling flowers, fruits, sunscreens to sunglasses.
Yet it doesn't end there. There is an intriguing world lurking behind all the poverty seen at these traffic signals.
Each signal is said to have a manager who collects a certain percentage of the day's revenue from each of those working at the signal. The pecking order broadens further and each manager is supposed to hand over his weekly collection to the person who is in charge of the region that covers a dozen or more signals. The ladder is raised in its hierarchy and the collector of each region deposits the money with the local Mafioso, (a local king pin) who then ensures that it reaches offshore to his master.
Traffic Signal is a story of one such signal, which is representative of all other signals around the city. Silsila (Kunal Khemu) a young orphan, who was born and who took his first tiny step at the signal is now its manager. For him the Signal is his workplace and a home where he lived. He's a sensitive soul with a heart of gold who considers the people like his family. He loves all those working at the signal, which in a way is his family but would spare nobody when it comes to business. He has a mentor, named Jaffar, who also is the collector of his region. Both he and Jaffar work for the local Mafioso, Haji and would even lay down their lives for him. Inherent in the social structure, lies a nexus between the local Mafia and Politicians, though at that level Silsila is almost nonexistent. Yet by a force of circumstance Silsila gets drawn into the bigger game and finds himself to be responsible for the annihilation of his own world, something to which he's dedicated his life.
Silsila is in love with a young girl (Neetu Chandra) who owns a small embroidery business in the city. An engineer with honest values arrives to prevent a flyover from being constructed. Silsila is then asked by Haji to eliminate him.
Silsila agrees and finishes him off only to realize that the builder and politician plan to displace the street children. Now with the help of the children, Silsila takes on the corrupt system. His deeds are irreversible and he would most certainly not be able to get things back to normal.
I See You