Shanghai


Shanghai
Release Date: June 8, 2012
Directed by: Dibakar Banerjee
Cast: Abhay Deol, Kalki Koechlin, Emraan Hashmi, Farooq Shaikh, Pitobash, Prasenjit Chatterjee, Tillotama Shome

Before I start this, as the film progressed in the second half, I heard a few carcasses mumble, “Kabhi experiment nahi karunga next time. Masala film hi dekhni chahiye thi.” (I shouldn’t walk in to serious films that revolve around a certain plot. I should have gone in for some song-dance rubbish.)
A minute later, one of them finally said, “Isse acha to Rowdy Rathore dekhne jaate the.” (We should have rather gone for Rowdy Rathore) That’s where I loudly grunted “Oh Bhenchod!” Five minutes later, everyone starts clapping at a line from the film. Vindication perhaps.

Let’s start rolling now. For a change, we see our frontal characters driven by a certain reason for what they do in this film. May it be personal vendetta, lust, love or simply anger. Shanghai goes on to show how actually how all of us become a part of a bandwagon, unknowingly, that could possibly steer into a dark abyss. The tone of the film remains subtle, right from the background score to the performances put in by the protagonists.

The editing is as crisp as a Sada Dosa. The characters’ self-reflective moments aren’t strapped with a thick voice-over, instead, there are pauses. The defining seconds that Shalini Sahay (Kalki) uses to think upon the foreseen deterioration of circumstances, or that small moment where T.A. Krishnan (Abhay Deol) goes back in his seat to take the morally right way or the idyllic path, this is how Shanghai works. Jogi Parmar (Emraan Hashmi) has perhaps one of the most layered and complex persona. You see him  dancing, videotaping and running. All with a blitzkrieg of ragingly different emotions.

Dibakar Banerjee assorts pieces of his script and puts together a boiling exclamation point, that could be deciphered as a question mark as well. The modern political debauchery is handled with the utmost irrelevance that it deserves. Nikos Andritsakis’s camera work and Namrata Rao’s editing get the hat-tips along with Abhay Deol’s perfect depiction of a South Indian. Again, he doesn’t go overboard, but he gets every detail right.

No bottom lines here, Shanghai is the winner.

My rating: **** (4 out of 5) 

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  1. I agree – you’d think masala movies are made because Directors can’t make anything other than masala movies – but I see that a lot of people appear to think that a movie is good only if there is humour in every minute of the movie irrespective of the genre!

    • I’m not making any general references to the any of the masala films. And if I don’t forget, there was a time when entertaining films weren’t humorous throughout. It’s just a recent idiocy spreading over. Shanghai also has a lot of subtle comedic moments.

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