Starring – Abhay Deol, Emraan Hashmi, Kalki Koechlin, Farooq Sheikh
Director – Dibakar Bannerjee
Producer – Dibakar Bannerjee, Ajay Bijli, Priya Shreedharan, Sanjeev K Bijli
Banner – PVR Pictures
Music – Vishal Shekhar
Genre – Romance, Thriller
Rating – ***
By Prerrna Seth/ Kreative Access Media
Dibakar Bannerjee’s ‘Shanghai’ is more than just a lampoon on the complex political system of the country that’s slaying our democracy. It shows the real India and what’s hampering our growth. There are few who are fighting for the common man’s right who get assassinated fighting for truth like social activist Dr Ali Ahmedi (Prosenjit Chatterjee). And then there are few who have a little power and are smart like enquiry commissioner Krishnan (Abhay Deol) who gets successful to an extent. But in the end the real culprits are not punished, there is just another enquiry commission made to look over the matter.
So what is more important, making our cities look like Shanghai or solving our internal problems?
Gripping and intriguing are the two words that completely define ‘Shanghai’. From the word go, you are titillated to know what will happen next. Bannerjee makes sure that for once, the audience doesn’t blink an eyelid. Political rallies, riots are portrayed in a convincing and realistic manner. Well cast actors, strategically placed songs, unconventional camera angles scream of a very different film that proudly has the story as its main USP.
The three lead actors Abhay, Emraan and Kalki prove that cinema is not just about good looking people roaming around in alluring locations. It’s the basic content, the story that makes a film. Abhay impresses with completely taking over the Madrasi twang. He pronounces choice as chwois, impeccably charming us with his versatility. Respect. Emraan Hashmi is not less, as a filthy looking, tobacco chewing man who makes sidey porn films. He stays in character throughout and steals the show whenever he is on screen. He probably is the best thing that could happen to Shanghai, after the story of course. Kalki is good as ever but somehow, I have started to find her very monotonous. Pitobash is cute, Farooq Sheikh is impressive and Supriya Pathak was a surprise package. Prosenjit Chatterjee speaks with his eyes and is a powerhouse performer.
Okay, now coming to what the film misses, no. 1 is a mass appeal. An average Indian cinegoer goes to a cinema hall to forget everything, sit back and enjoy. Most of us would give a blind eye to what our political goons are doing and would not want to see the same thing in a film. Unless, you are showing a No One Killed Jessica, that has all the masala elements to keep the viewer entertained, there is very less chance of people watching your film. But that’s what Bannerjee is looking at here, only viewers who can think over the matter and try to bring out a change in their own capacity.
The background score gets too loud at places. Music is okay, the lyrics making it stand out. Scene transition confuses and the screenplay goes too much back and forth straining your brain cells. So if you want to really watch this film take your brains with you.
Pros: Story and the star cast
Cons: confusing screenplay
Verdict: Watch it to know more about the real India
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— Kalki Koechlin (@kalkikanmani) June 6, 2012