Director: Roland Joffe
Producer: Jake Eberts
Screenplay: Mark Medoff;
Camera: Peter Biziou;
Editor: Gerry Hambling;
Music: Ennio Morricone;;
Art Director: Roy Walker
The Movie City of joy is inspired Dominique Lapierre's 1985 international bestseller, City of Joy. Fleeing from the rigors of life as a surgeon in Houston, Patrick Swayze's Dr Max Lowe arrives in Calcutta with the blurred idea of seeking enlightenment. First night in Calcutta Max gets Assaulted and robbed and then he is taken to the City of Joy Self-Help School and Dispensary, presided over by a struggling but selflessly saintly British woman Joan (Pauline Collins). When Joan tells Max the name of the place, he asks, "Is that geographical or spiritual?" Says Joan, "It depends on your point of view."Max becomes cheerleader for the dispossessed people of City of Joy in their battle against the local mafia.
The movie begins with the sequence an Indian farmer, Hasari Pal (Om Puri), his wife and children leave their poverty-stricken village and head for Calcutta to find work. "Remember," says Hasari's father, "A man's journey to the end of his obligations is a very long road." In another sequence set in a Houston hospital's operating room. When Max's patient, a little girl, dies during a transplant operation, the distraught surgeon floats blindly from the hospital, apparently to book the first flight to India. But then these two men from very contradictory lifestyles and thoughts meet on the slum streets of Calcutta when Max gets robbed and assaulted. Hasari who finds Max on the street and takes him to Joan's clinic, initiating a friendship between a man who has nothing but love and faith and a man who has everything except a reason to live. Standing by is the wise-cracking, saintly Joan, who sometimes talks like a friend philosopher and guide-- "There are three choices in life: to run, to speculate, and to commit."
Adapted by Mark Medoff from Dominique Lapierre's novel, "City of Joy" is fraud from start to finish, though in fact it was shot mostly in Calcutta and employs a lot of Indian actors and extras. The setting is not the problem. It's the point of view, which is that of a concerned but hopelessly inept, sunny-natured tourist.
With his passport and money gone and with nothing better to do for the time being, Max grudgingly begins to work with Joan at her City of Joy Self-Help Dispensary. He delivers the healthy baby of a grateful leper mother. He sets about to put the dispensary in order and, when he sees the people in the City of Joy being exploited by the local "godfather," he organizes their resistance.
His inspiration is Hasari, a man of incredible spirit who works, daybreak to dusk, as a rickshaw man. It's not easy for Max to adjust. He misses his hamburgers. He asks to roadside hawkers about hamburgers. He's also impatient with the passivity of the people, who lack that good old-fashioned American get-up-and-go. Yet little by little, Max re-establishes his commitment to life, even as he witnesses terrible injustices and cruelties.
There is an attack on the local lepers orchestrated by the greedy godfather. The face of a pretty young girl (the daughter of Hasari) is cut with a razor. A great monsoon flood threatens to destroy the City of Joy and everyone in it. A decent man who appears to be in the terminal stages of tuberculosis receives severe stab wounds in the stomach and is on the point of death. This would be a vision of hell in any other movie, though not in "City of Joy." The godfather is told to stop and give up by the courts. The wounded young girl heals without scars. Nobody is lost to the flood and, when last seen, the tubercular man with the blood running out of his stomach is still walking upright.
Though the movie is based on the novel, all the aspects of the novel are not covered in the movie. It is impressively produced in Calcutta's teeming poverty-ridden streets and slums, Roland Joffe's noble attempt to portray the tenacity and strength of the human spirit comes off as curiously ineffectual due to predictable sequences and character growth. It can be inspirational for some people but at times the movie appears to be exaggerated. There is lot of violence shown in the movie so for some people it cannot be tolerable. Also there is lot of raw and vulgar words are used in dialogues plus the abusive language can be intolerable for some people including me.
City of Joy," which has been rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned) includes some violence and vulgar language. City of Joy Directed by Roland Joffe; screenplay by Mark Medoff, based on the book by Dominique Lapierre; director of photography, Peter Biziou; edited by Gerry Hambling; music by Ennio Morricone; production designer, Roy Walker; produced by Jake Eberts and Mr. Joffe; released by Tri-Star Pictures. Running time: 134 minutes. This film is rated PG-13. Max Lowe . . . Patrick Swayze Hasari Pal . . . Om Puri Joan Bethel . . . Pauline Collins Kamla Pal . . . Shabana Azmi Amrita Pal . . . Ayesha Dharker Shambu Pal . . . Santu Chowdhury Manooj Pal . . . Imran Badsah Khan Ashoka . . . Art Malik Anouar . . . Nabil Shaban Ram Chander . . . Debtosh Ghosh.
So we can say that although it’s a good movie but for me I will not prefer to see the harsh realities of life in such a violent way.