8 am Metro review: this simple slice of life about two people destined to meet highlights the importance of mental health in the most beautifully poetic way!

Aishwarya Srinivasan
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8 am Metro

8 am Metro starring Gulshan Devaiah and Sayami Kher feels like you’re inside an artistic Hindi novel about self reflection and finding a savior!

Is it possible for a man and a woman to have a relationship where they can tell each other anything without any judgment? Well, Raj Rachakonda’s 8 am Metro gives an answer to this question rather seamlessly. Not every relationship has to have a tag to it; some people just live for the moment and save each other in ways even words cannot comprehend. 

8 am Metro revolves around Iravati (Sayami Kher) and Pritam (Gulshan Devaiah) who unexpectedly cross paths with each other at a metro station. Since their first conversation itself the two connected with each other instantly. Since then the 8am and 6pm metro have been their regular spots for conversations about life, poetry, and their families. Ira is actually a housewife who has come to Hyderabad to take care of her heavily pregnant sister on the verge of delivery; her days in Hyderabad are numbered. Pritam is a family man who follows a monotonous routine of traveling to work everyday. But Ira has a fear of getting into metros or trains because of some horrific childhood trauma that still triggers panic attacks and their first interaction was in the midst of her having one. He wanted to put her out of this misery and to know her state of mind better, he educated himself on panic attacks via a book he bought from the bookstore he regularly visits. 

Through their daily conversations, the two save each other more and more everyday. Their friendship and him being a good listener to her makes her feel calmer. She finally has someone who makes her feel seen. He understands and appreciates her poems the way no one ever has in her life. Back home, she is just a housewife to her workaholic husband and a mother to her children who are way too young to understand anything. But here, she meets someone who becomes her escape from that reality everyday. This depicts the fact that your spouse doesn’t necessarily need to be your soulmate and finding a soulmate doesn’t have to always mean something romantic. A soulmate is someone who has the same wavelength about things as you do, a companion, a friend who makes you feel safe and heard. 

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I like the fact that while mental health is the core of the film, it talks about the subject subtly yet impactfully, without screaming it into your face. Even after so many conversations around it, there is still a lot of stigma from society and in a scene where Pritam acts as Ira and Ira acts like the society accurately, it portrays how difficult it must be for people to come out and speak about their illness. The film describes mental health and all of Ira’s feelings through Gulzar Saab’s poetry and every word just pierces through your heart and lingers in your mind even after coming out of the theatre.

The film does have some misses though. The supporting characters feel superficial and over the top sometimes which can make you lose interest in the plot. When you hear their dialogues you definitely feel that nobody talks like that. But Gulshan and Sayami’s performance overpowers all of this. They have good chemistry, without complicating it with sexual attraction or unnecessary feelings for each other, which would just distract us from what the film is trying to address. The movie thankfully does not have any dance sequences because stories like this simply don’t require any. But it does have songs and they are not only soothing to hear but also give that artistic feel it's going for. Ghoomey by Jubin Nautiyal stood out for me in particular. The start and end credits of the film feel the same as a Hindi novel which is what makes you feel like you’re inside the one Ira eventually ends up writing, of the same name!

Another message the story passes on is that we only realize the value of something when we lose it. When you say ‘one day I’ll do this for my parents’ or ‘one day I’ll make time for my loved one’, by the time you do that, it's too late to make memories because life can be unpredictable like that. You don’t need an extravagant gesture or money to make core memories, the most precious joys of life can be found in the little things. Throughout the film, you feel he is the only one saving her, but she has been unintentionally saving him too. She learns from his mistakes and lives her life to the fullest, making her a more confident version of herself compared to the beginning of the film. Whereas he simply comes to terms with his reality. They deal with past trauma, undealt grief, and negative thoughts together which makes you realize your bad times won’t last forever. Love will always find you in different ways. 

While their friendship was not like the quintessential ones that last forever but whatever moments they had with each other were their greatest turning points. Sometimes finding solace in strangers who know nothing about you can make you feel surprisingly liberating. Even something as fast paced as the metro can feel slow and humbling in moments of kindness towards one another. 

8 am Metro is currently playing at a theatre near you!

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