Mahesh Manjrekar’s City of Gold takes a neo-realistic look at the downfall of the textile mills and its workers that reigned supreme three decades ago in Lalbaug-Parel (that’s the title of the Marathi version of the film), the heart of Mumbai. But what could have been classic cinema ends up being commercial celluloid. While Manjrekar persuasively highlights the piteous and penniless plight of millworkers, he touches the politics of the plot only peripherally thereby losing on the immense potential of tapping the capitalist corruption that led to the collapse of an entire culture.
The film traditionally opens in a flashback where Baba (Ankush Chaudhary) narrates how his family was struggling for survival in early 80s. His father (Shashank Shende) was a retired millworker awaiting his pension while mother (Seema Biswas) was somehow scrambling to make ends meet. His siblings comprised of a cricket-crazy brother Mohan (Vinit Kumar), sister Manju (Veena Jamkar) working at a beauty parlour and the youngest being the hot-headed Naru (Karan Patel).