Movie Preview: Traffic Signal ...

By IndiaFM News Bureau


Character Sketch

Kunal Khemu as Silsila

He was a mere ten days old when his parents were rendered homeless

owning to a zealous anti – encroachment drive from the Municipal

Corporation of Mumbai. The family shifted with the others to another

locality on the Kelkar Marg. Having spent a number of days with

inadequate food and no hope in the future; his mother took to begging

at the Kelkar Marg signal. Lugging a ten day baby in hand proved to be

an incentive as it aroused sympathy and both the mother and son made

good money, good at least in their present condition.

Ever since he was a kid, Silsila was everybody’s favorite. After his

mother’s death he was virtually adopted by ‘Mausi’, a respected and

elderly old woman in the ‘basti’. (or community) But the one person who

adored and protected him the most was Jaffar, the local ruffian dreaded

in the locality.

In the film Silsila plays the Manager of the Kelkar Marg Signal. A

manager is one who collected revenue from all those making money at the

signal, whether by begging or vending knick-knacks. Although his job

was limited to collecting money, Silsila went beyond. For him everybody

living in the Kelkar Marg locality was like a family. He looked after

their needs, found pleasure in their happiness and made their sorrows

as him own.

Neetu Chandra as Rani

She came to the city of dreams with a purpose. A wish to make some

money so that she could go back to her hometown and settle for good.

Her sister Chutki who helps her sell traditional garments that they

have bought from their hometown in Gujrat accompanies her. Unknown to

the ways of the city life she displays her wares at the roadside and

gets snubbed by Silsila who tells her that she’d have to pay a

percentage of her earnings as a rule. Their first meeting ends in a

scrap, but things become amicable as time goes by and eventually they

fall in love. It is with Rani’s strength and support that Silsila

stands up against all odds to challenge the system.


Take a walk down its mean streets and one gets the essence of

Mumbai; pause a while at one of its Traffic Signal and one gets the

essence of life. 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


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


Traffic Signal is a story of one such signal, which is

representative of all other signals around the city. Silsila 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. His deeds are irreversible and he would

most certainly not be able to get things back to normal.

What would Silsila do in such a situation? Someone who had never

hurt anybody in his lifetime. A person with a heart of gold who was

left to fend for himself and the future of those who’d been devastated

because of him. Silsila being a practical person knows that he can

never take on Haji who is too powerful and way beyond him. Yet no

matter what and how he has to get his life and the lives of his family

at the Traffic Signal back on track how he gets around to do it is the

summing up of the film Traffic Signal.


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