Hazari Pal lives in a small village in Bihar, India, with his dad, mom, wife, Kamla, daughter, Amrita, and two sons, Shambhu and Manooj. As the Pal are unable to repay the loan they had ...
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Jennifer Jason Leigh,
Hazari Pal lives in a small village in Bihar, India, with his dad, mom, wife, Kamla, daughter, Amrita, and two sons, Shambhu and Manooj. As the Pal are unable to repay the loan they had taken years ago from a moneylender, their land and property are auctioned, and they are rendered homeless. Hazari and his family re-locate to Calcutta with hopes of starting life anew, save some money and go back to Bihar, as well as get Amrita married. Things do not go as planned, as they lose their entire savings to a con-man, Gangooly, who took their money as rent by pretending to be a landlord. Then Hazari gets an opportunity to take up driving a rickshaw manually through a local godfather, Ghatak. He gets to meet a American, Dr. Max Lowe, and together they strike up a friendship along with a local social worker, Joan Bethel. Misunderstandings crop up between Joan and the Godfather, resulting in the shutting down of their shanty medical clinic. When Hazari sides with Joan, his rickshaw is taken ... Written by
Among the problems that beset the production were fire-bombings, mass demonstrations, media criticism, accusations of murder, a skyrocketing budget that eventually settled at the $27 million mark, and Warner Brothers' 11th hour pullout that nearly bankrupted the producers. See more »
The gods have not made it easy to be a human being.
No they haven't. But I guess that's why it feels so goddamn wonderful to beat the odds.
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I think City of Joy is one of those films you either do or don't connect with. It's a study of growth, of friendship, of acceptance. It's a coming-of-age film. It's a study of how similar humans everywhere are in spite of vast cultural differences. It's a well-shot location piece. It's a character study. It's an action film, in its own way. Patrick Swayze and Om Puri put their hearts into their roles. The supporting cast is interesting and effective. The script has drama and emotional depth.
Although the plot certainly can't claim absolute originality, director Joffé's nuanced look at the cultural milieu and the care with which he portrays the characters' relationships and internal struggles make this a worthwhile, enjoyable film.
"Roadhouse" and "Dirty Dancing" were both lots of fun, but for me this is Patrick Swayze's best performance, and one of my favorite films of its kind.
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