SHANGHAI (2012)

A movie like Shanghai can easily be cited as one which is ahead of its time. In each of his previous outings, Dibakar Banerjee has brought out issues that have remained right in our midst and yet we always chose to turn blind eyes and deaf ears to it until that day when it reached our doorsteps. Be it the illegal land-grabbing of Khosla Ka Ghosla or the thievery which is so very prominent in urban Delhi in Oye Lucky Lucky Oye!!! and finally the three shocking stories about love, sex and betrayal taken straight out of issues from honor killings in UP and mms scandals in Delhi ,  shockingly portrayed in Love Sex Aur Dhoka. So when Shanghai came round the corner, my expectations soared. After sitting through this mesmerizing piece of movie making all I can say now is “Dibakar, Yeh Dil Mange More”.

The story is an adaptation of a novel ‘Z’ about the political assassination of a mass leader. Shanghai is such an apt adaptation that it will give you a feeling of being there and having seen that constantly and yet the greatest strength of Dibakar’s direction lies in the fat that no one can guess what is about to come next. The novel has been adapted to perfection to suit the Indian conditions. The scenarios, the characters and even the setting is just harrowing-ly real.

The plot revolves around the government’s initiative to turn an Indian city into something like Shanghai with the help of a multinational Company IBP. A mass leader scents betrayal for the common masses and urges the people to raise voice against it but he becomes pray to a brutal assault. The government is hell bent on proving the assault as an accident where as the task of blowing the lid off this act falls on the shoulders of the three most unmatched and worlds-apart individuals, a pornographic film maker (Emran Hashmi), a student of the victim (Kalki Koelchin) and a government official (Abhay Deol), who is leading the enquiry in to what happened on the day of the assault.

The setting might not feel as something original or path breaking as we have come across such stories before, but what really sets Shanghai apart or should I say a class apart is its immaculate treatment. Every scene is carefully thought off and lasts exactly as much as it should. Here in Bollywood we have a tendency to overdo the good things but thankfully that’s never the case with Shanghai. The emotions are not injected into the script but on the contrary flows with the characters of the movie. Be it the wicked smile or tongue twisting of Jogi or the subtle eye twitches and throat clearing of Krishnan or the fixed gaze of Kalki, Dibakar captures each of these nuances to the perfection and that’s what adds volume to the script.

There are plenty of thrills to keep you engrossed but it isn’t one of those thrillers which jumps out at you. It takes it’s time to set in and gradually grows on you. The bollywood-ish entertainment values are a bit on the lower side here as you may presume but we do have an item number in “imported kamariya”, which should raise a few beats. Watch out for the song “Bharat mata ki jay…”, I have never before seen a song with such lyrics being choreographed in a way that it is. Its just insane.

If you have not grabbed a ticket for this one, then do so at the earliest. Going by the trends in business, Shanghai will not last long in theaters and it would be a pity if you missed it.

Rating: 4/5 (4 out of 5 Stars)

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. subhra says:

    i have read some very good reviews for this movie including yours. planning to watch it soon…

  2. Aambar says:

    Yes my brother !!!…. You will love it…It not for everyone. It needs a thinking mind to be enjoyed.

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