Inner City is a melodrama about a reluctant pimps’ attempt to hide his true profession from his girlfriend. A man has recently relocated to Mumbai, where he and his friend have struggled to sustain suitable work. With a lack of any other options, the two become pimps. Our main character is a like a barker in a seedy alley way, where he approaches potential Johns and espouses the beauty of the various girls within the run down building a adjacent, in an attempt to get them to open up their wallets. We see him at work when the film starts, freely ready to promise one potential customer virtually any woman or sex act that he desires as he guides him to the stairwell leading to the brothel. We then see this juxtaposed with a quiet moment afterward, where he stands with his friend discussing the disappointments of where they’ve found themselves in life. Gone is the motor mouth hustler, replaced with a more introspective and mortally minded man. His number one concern is the fact that he is continually lying to his girlfriend when she asks him about his line of work.
When we see him and her together, it is a peaceful domestic scene, even further removed from the sleazy environment where we first met him. He observes religious practices, and sips tea, making idle conversation with his girlfriend about their hopes for the future as they leisurely watch the passing boats move down the river. He tells her that someday he’ll take her out on one of the boats. This will not come to pass, however, due primarily to the alarming lack of discretion exhibited by his best friend. While the three are finishing up an outing and preparing to depart to work, he foolishly blurts out “I hate being a pimp.” Our main character’s girlfriend turns on him at this statement immediately, but the two are somehow able to smooth everything out as they try to convince her that he didn’t mean it literally, he’s frustrated with his troubles at work. He swears to her then, upon her very life, that he is not a pimp. This seems to have worked for the moment, but the look on her face tells us that the matter is not yet closed.
Sure enough, later on in his grimy alley work place, the girlfriend appears just in time to hear him closing a deal with a customer. They both give each other devastated looks and then she turns and runs, weeping as she makes her way back to the train home, the relationship destroyed. This is an especially unsatisfying ending after all that we’ve just seen. There are so many story threads here regarding how this man ended up in this profession, and how he hopes to survive, or how his girlfriend has not suspected this previously? The simplistic dramatic twist ending feels tacked on and we can’t help but feel that his romantic life is not the true focal point of this story. Despite the weakness of the script, the film is shot beautifully and keeps our attention with it’s handheld, naturalistic camerawork shot on location.
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