indian cinema heritage foundation

Traffic Signal (2007)

  • LanguageHindi

Take a walk down its mean streets and one gets the essence of Mumbai pause a while at one o 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 drives its livelihood from these people waiting at the Traffic Signals. The work force of this industry is not less than that 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 sunglasses.
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 kingpin) who then ensures that it reaches offshore to his master.
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 the 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 tend 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 if 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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