Shanghai (2012)

We have seen quite a few political thrillers in the past. While Ram Gopal Varma concentrated on the evil mind a lot more and Mani Ratnam concentrated on the path and youth’s entry into politics, Dibakar Banerjee is the king of details.

The thumbs-up symbol has a reverse meaning in Indian bureaucracy. If too many people are saying you have done a good job, especially your superiors, then it means they are going to crush your self respect and take a decision in favour of their personal benefit. Dibakar Banerjee shows exactly this. From a slew of chapraasis to help the bureaucrats to personal assistants standing ready with the water bottle in the gyms, to assistants handing over tooth prcik to the officer so that he could clean his teeth! God save Mother India from these practises. Thank GOD, the economy opened up in 1992 and the Americans taught us how to value human labour.

Abhay Deol portrays the role of an IAS officer from Tamil Nadu, who listens to Vishnu Sahasranamam on his Laptop, speaks Tamil occasionally, who wears a tie whenever he is performing his duty, who has the ‘I am highly qualified’look on his face, who occasionally removes his spectacles and takes deep breaths to imitate and irritate like a pucca bureaucrat, who works on enquiries very methodically, who threatens his boss but still handles the larger picture well, comes as the clean winner in the movie. For those 2 hours he merges himself into the IAS role like iron binds to globin in human blood.

Emraan Hashmi’s first experiment without his popular act of smooching the leading ladies has indeed come out very well. This is the first movie of his that I paid money to go and watch.

Kalki Koechlin does a fine role. However this role was not as tailor made for her as her roles in movies like Shaitaan, ZNMD. Abhay Deol steals away the limelight from her. She is famous for portraying strong roles, but has compromised being the love interest of a professor who is already married.

Prosenjit plays the role of a professor supposedly from some university in New York. He appears in the movie for the first 15 minutes and is a welcome change.

The only weak link in the movie is the unnecessary drama around Kalki involving her domestic help. It could have been avoided as it seems too much of a co-incidence. May be it was to give more depth to Kalki’s role?

Shanghai glorifies the details in high profile enquiry commissions. Intelligent watch ! As the song goes, we have dengue, we have malaria, but still life goes on and we sing ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’.

–Varun Mannava Gowtham

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2 Responses to Shanghai (2012)

  1. AJai says:

    Liked the movie too… thought the direction and screenplay were terrific. will point out a minor flaw- Dr Ahmedi’s character is portrayed by Prosenjit Chatterji and not Anurag Kashyap

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