Film Critic: Goher Iqbal Punn
Star Cast- Abhay Deol, Emraan Hashmi, Prosenjit Chaterjee, Pitobash Tripathy, Kalki Koechin, Farooq Sheikh.
Genre- Thriller/ Romance
Banner- PVR Pictures
Director: Dibakar Banerjee
Music Director – Vishal-Shekhar
Costumes Designer – Manoshi Nath
Release Date- 8th June, 2012
Whenever one thinks of quality cinema, the name of Dibakar Banerjee hits the mind. He is the director laced with the skills of unique filmmaking. His cinema is different from the rest. If you have stumbled upon any of his movies, you can easily figure out that Shanghai is Dibakar’s cinematic product. His cinema instantly develops the viewer’s taste right from the first frame and the interest level gets high with every opening scene till the climax. His subjects look unique but they are taken from our routine life. Khosla Ka Ghosla, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and Love Sex Aur Dhoka, this man showed his tremendous class and intellect in filmmaking in these flicks. His distinctive style of filmmaking makes him different from his contemporaries.
Shanghai’s story is not novel but has been presented on screen with brilliance and that is the beauty of the storytelling. This kind of plot we have witnessed many a time on celluloid but it is Dibakar’s direction which appeals the most and which gets us glued to the screen by making the interest level intact throughout the flow. Banerjee’s offbeat take on the subject matter is what entices the viewer a lot.
The film is about a socialist and political activist Ahmedi (Prosenjit Chatterjee) who fully opposes a forthcoming infrastructure project in Bharat Nagar which is backed by the ruling political party. Ahmedi faces an accident at a rally and gets murdered. Police palm off the killing as a drunken accident. Shalini (Kalki Koechlin), Ahmedi’s adherent, is aware of the fact that it is a planned murder. Krishnan (Abhay Deol), a high ranked bureaucrat is roped in to the matter for the investigation. Jogi (Emraan Hashmi), a local videographer), comes up with a claim of having the evidence.
Shanghai, a political thriller, is interesting right from the opening scene till the end frame. The three leading protagonists of the film try hard to brawl against the system in their own possible manners. Dibakar Banerjee’s grammar of cinema is supremely apt. He knows the rules of his cinematic grammar well and he makes it sure not to do any major mistakes. Minor mistakes are always ignorable. So with Shanghai, the minor faults in execution and scripting are ignorable. Banerjee knows the depth of the bureaucratic background very well and he depicts it on screen with aplomb. The scenario of politics in India, the man is well aware of it as well, is dished out with conviction.
Script is strapping, though there are few faults but as mentioned earlier they can be ignored, and is written by Dibakar Banerjee and Urmi Juvekar. Both deserve brawny points for the job. Dibakar is a great storyteller and his direction deserves distinction marks. Editing is first rate. Cinematography by Nikos Andritsakis is brilliant. Vishal-Shekar’s music is average.
You witness an altogether a new Emraan Hashmi in Shanghai. He is blackened with stained teeth. Normally we see him as a lover boy on screen but this time around, he is in utterly different avatar. He slips into the character’s skin and brings out the luminous results to allure his fans. He will certainly add tremendous amount of new fans with this piece of acting.
Abhay Deol looks superb in the role of a bureaucrat. He delivers the fine performance as usual. The actor is always praised high due to his choice of subjects (the movies he works in) and his acting prowess is marvelous.
Kalki Koechlin is exceptional. The actress always endows the viewers with her brilliance. With every released movie, she is getting more skilled. Prosenjit Chatterjee is efficient but he does not get good scope in the film. Farooque Sheikh is outstanding. Supriya Pathak enacts supremely well. Others too raise the spirits.
Final Verdict by the Critic:
Shanghai is not a routine Bollywood cinema but a movie with serious topic that is interesting and attention-fetching. Recommended!
Shanghai is a film being directed by Dibakr Banerjee, a critically acclaimed director. His earlier films “Khosla Ka Ghoosla”, “Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!” have been both loved by the audience and crtics alike. As reported the movie is based on a Hindi adaptation of a political thriller which was originally written by a novelist of Greek origin. The name of the writer is Vassilis Vassilikos. The story deals with the murder of a very active politician, and the story is based upon that. Needless to say that the film falls in the thriller category which is supposed to keep you glued to your seats till the last minute.
Dibakar Banerjee also promises that both the leads, Abhay Deol and Emraan Hashmi will be seen in completely new avatars in this movie. Dibakar says that Emraan is known for his dark, suave image with the tagline of the serial kisser. However, according to the director, this film will showcase him in a completely different light altogether. He is put in a dark, small Indian town where there are no pubs, bars, scantily clad women, but only dust coupled with its dirty, cheap, vulgar political regime.
Abhay Deol is also in a character that he has never done before by him. This time he is standing for this dark, cruel, political establishment, instead of fighting against it. According to Dibakar Banerjee, the audience will be left thinking as to what is going on his mind every time he gives them one of those cold stares through his glasses.
The President of PVR Pictures Kamala Gianchandani seems very hopeful about the film too. Even he resonated that having such tremendously talented actors perform such real life characters, so much out of their conventional comfort zone will be a treat to watch.
Even Kalki Koechin who is the female lead in Shanghai has donned a new avatar for this performance of hers. So far, Kalki has always been noticed in subdued roles. Or even if not subdued nothing very rebellious! But in this film she has presented herself nothing short of a rebel. In the film Kalki plays the role of a girl called Shalini, who returns to her small town after completing her university education, and gradually becomes a part of the local politics. The role of Shalini is that of a very intelligent, passionate and virtuos girl. She believes in calling a spade a spade, and is absolutely unpretentious. Shalini is also very angry with the working of the political system of the place.
The shooting of this film was done in Latur, Maharashtra, and film is going to be released very soon. Hopefully this interesting combination of Dibakar Banerjee, Emraan Hashmi, Abhay Deol, Kalki Koechin would have something good in store for the audience.