8 A.M. Metro uses a modern transport system to explore an old-fashioned encounter between strangers. Raj Ra’s Hindi-language film has books, poetry by Gulzar, and characters who take it nice and easy. Even the names of the characters seem to have been plucked out of a well-thumbed novel: she is Iravati (Saiyami Kher), he is Pritam (Gulshan Devaiah).
During a visit to Hyderabad, the emotionally reserved Iravati befriends the kindly Pritam. He helps her overcome her fear of train travel, infects her with his love for literature and praises her poetry. The traffic isn’t one-way – Iravati too is helping Pritam deal with his own situation.
The metro network, usually associated with speed and momentum, slows down to allow Iravati and Pritam to get to know each another. Both of them are married and with children. They find common ground through the cerebral as well as the trivial. In the gentle rhythms of their encounters, the possibility of a new kind of companionship emerges.
The writer-director wants you to stop stealing glances at your cellphone and listen keenly not just to the ultimately life-altering exchanges between Iravati and Pritam but also the silences that punctuate their conversations. It’s a tough demand in these attention-deficit times. It’s even…