Movie Review – Shanghai

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June 9, 2012 by Mithil

I am Dibakar Banerjee fan and you don’t have to be rocket scientist to know why. Right from the inception of witty Khosla Ka Ghosla to todays astute Shanghai he creates cinema like nobody does. Each of the four movie’s are so distinct in terms of plots, characters and the writing. Very few makers in Mumbai are this audacious and commonsensical like Dibakar, whose mastery came into fore after the release of Love Sex aur Dhoka. In this movie which he also wrote, he interposed 3 subplots with such ease that it would leave a wide eyed guy mumbling ‘how does he do that?’. So it was no mystery that I was following his next movie and eager to get hands on the tickets. And guess what I got to see it on first day with my friends.

The movie starts off focussing on a social activist Dr. Ahmedy who comes to a city to launch protest against the prejudicial development by a state governing political party. The Dr is however brutally murdered by the goons of the party and a false commission is launched by the authorities to investigate the predefined accident and prove the credibility of the party. The gods however are not in party’s favour and in comes IAS officer T.A. Krishnan to head the commission. To support him are the assistant to Dr. Ahmedy and a rowdy local video shooter.

In beginning the movie revolves arbitrarily from one scene to other often making it difficult for the viewer to grasp the story. One needs a wee bit of patience to get through the first 20 min and then the story starts to exude, little by little the plot becomes clear and by the time interval arrives, you can feel the intended thrill decking up. Second half goes smooth, minor drops but the story picks quite methodically. One can only articulate awe for the little things that often goes unnoticed like the T.A. Krishnan twitching his limbs in nervousness or the way he does his prayers with help of computer. Some other scenes in the movie lets you believe of watching an art movie. The riot scene towards the end is reminiscent of the one in City of Gods, that doesn’t get into the Indian-ness of the movie. It reiterated the present state of the country, laden with corruption, bogus promises and vulnerable aam aadmi. Primarily resting on Indian politics as the backdrop, it digs deep into it without being patriotic or conclusive about the situation. And that’s where Dibakar needs a pat on his back(more of 4 stars).

The star of the show is undoubtly Emran Hashmi. Forever hibernating in the Bhatt camp, he has come alive upon unleashing. The commitment to the character is astonishing, with paunchy state and stained teeth like attributes he churns (triumphally) out the most demanding ever(more of recent) for a Bollywood actor after Amitabh Bachan in Paa. Kalki Koechlin as Shalini plays her part well but often too remorse driven. She however is responsible for most intense scene of the movie when she bludgeons the killer with frying pan. Abhay Deol potraying T.A. Krishnan does his part proficiently but is particularly secluded. Maybe I was expecting a lot after his role in Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, or maybe the character was meant to be about it. His astuteness in climax is pleasing and just about compensates the shortcomings. Special mention should also got to Pitobash for Bhaggu, he does great particularly in that song sequence.

If you’re confused about going to Rowdy Rothore or Shanghai, I’ll advice you to go for RR. In that sense you can’t berate the movie and whine about the superiority of RR(personal experienceL ). But and that’s a big but, if you are witnessed to the cinema of Dibakar Banerjee and his unconventional style of filmmaking, then take the plunge and discover one of the best movie this year. It might not win at BO but it will surely win over you.

Let me know what you thought of Shanghai

Image Courtesy – IMBD

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