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8 AM Metro | Film Threat

May 29, 2023

A platonic friendship threatens to catch fire in the smoldering drama 8 AM Metro by director Raj Rachakonda. Iravati (Saiyami Kher) is a wife and mother who writes poetry in her spare hours. She gets a call from her little sister Riya (Nimisha Nair) from a hospital in Hyderabad. Riya is in her ninth month and has experienced some bleeding, can Iravati please come? Iravati is terrified as she would need to travel to Hyderabad alone, as her husband is tied down with audits at work. Turns out Iravati has a huge phobia from being accidentally left alone on a train by her father (Moin Jaan) when she was a little girl. Riya lets her know Hydrabad’s metro is very clean, safe, and very cheap.

“They start a friendship that allows them intellectual stimulation while also helping relieve social anxiety.”
Waiting on the platform, Iravati breathes hard and breaks out in a cold sweat. Preetam (Gulshan Devaiah) notices her turmoil and offers her a drink of water. Talking to Preetam calms her down, but she makes sure Preetam sees the wedding ring on her toe. Preetam lets her know he is happily married as well and offers to accompany her on the train. Iravati is grateful as the conversation made her distracted enough to survive the ride. Later we see Preetam buried in books about tribal cultures and poetry, with his wife Mridula (Kalpika Ganesh) calling him to bed. Iravati, still terrified of riding alone, meets up with Preetam again and finds out they both commute at the same time. Raf finds out Iravati writes poetry. They start a friendship that allows them intellectual stimulation while also helping relieve social anxiety. However, their innocent interactions threaten to generate friction that could ignite their feelings for each other and burn down their families. 
8 AM Metro is like that old-school bubble gum that is deceptively plain on the outside but juicy in the center. The screenplay by Rachakonda and Shruti Bhatnagar firsts presents a normal family life with all its mundane routines. Then the story confounds us with why would she be afraid of riding by herself until the devastating flashback explains all. At that point, I was hooked. There is this tension that the audience brings to the scenario as to whether the friendship will burst into attraction. This is reinforced by the constant soap operas in the hospital room, dripping with flings. It comes back to the question posed around 45 years ago in Saturday Night Fever about whether men and women can be just friends.

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