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|Index||64 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Shanghai(U/A)-------------Rating: 3/5 GOOD
*It is a political thriller which starts slowly but ends up with a great twist... *Emraan ashmi character was awesome. where kalki-abhay were average.... *Songs were not good except "bharat mata and khudaaya" where as direction and camera was taken into the realistic feel....
- Story starts very slow but wraps up fast in the climax..... - Actress was disappointing in her performance....
Prime leader of a campaign against a big government project is killed in what appears to be a road accident. An IAS officer is ordered to probe the incident and the veils of falsehood begin to drop.
Another masterpiece delivered by Dibakar Banerjee (director of "Khosla
ka Ghosla" & "Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!")
Based on a novel "Z" the plot
is set in a small town on the verge of so called "PROGRESS" at the
expense of the cattle class. The story moves in the backdrop of Bharat
Nagar soon to be converted to Shanghai. Without revealing the plot
much, the movie delves into the murky and dangerous political games
played by ministers and bureaucrats without conveniently removing
obstacles or people in the way (either by bribing or murder).
Abhay Deol once again, as a South Indian (Madrasi ) IAS officer, delivers a hard hitting performance . Emran Hashmi (my favourite) in a very believable porn film maker's character is amazing Farooq Sheikh has still not lost his touch and is subtle but effective Pitobash as Bhaggu (from the very first scene of the movie) is the surprise package as one of the small-time goonda Kalki and rest of the characters fit perfectly in the plot.
Music by Vishal Shekhar & the song "Bharat Mata ki" stands out.
The movie is a wake up call for the masses and shows the other side of "PROGRESS" which we all choose to turn a blind eye.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As a subject this was indeed a brave and path-breaking choice made by
Dibaker, who is sure going to be respected much more as a director post
SHANGHAI. However, at the box office there is going to be a different
story all together as the film certainly has much lesser elements for
the masses going against all the expectations from the director of
Khosla Ka Ghosla, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye and Love Sex Aur Dhokha. In fact
all these three films had a certain dose of fun and comedy in their
narration which was widely appreciated both by the critics as well as
the viewers. But as far as SHANGHAI is considered,it is undoubtedly
going to be a "Critics movie" more than the masses.
The film is based on Greek writer Vassilis Vassilikos' political novel "Z" on which director Costa-Gavras also made his project titled "Z" (French) in 1969, which means "He is Alive" in a symbolic form. It received 2 Oscars and was widely appreciated by the Academy Award Jury and many more festivals all over. Having seen Costa-Gavras's classic, I can say that where "Z" is a sober, intense and realistic adaption of the novel, there "SHANGHAI" tries to walk on the same line while adding many deliberate commercial angles in its script to cater the Indian taste. For instance, the inclusion of 2 songs which don't really serve any purpose, the avoidable extra-marital affair of the honest leader and Emraan Hashmi portrayal as a porn film-maker. It seems that Emraan's illegal profession is simply added just to make the proceeding more spicy, whereas the inclusion never gets used properly in the entire script.
In the first half it all keeps moving at an average speed with Kalki impressing the most, followed by Emraan Hashmi. But there is very less of Abhay Deol in this period of film and he actually comes into action post intermission with a brilliant climax. Set in a fictitious city, the film talks about the same old predictable settings of political conspiracies, corrupt system, greedy politicians and their loyal workers ready to kill anyone for their party benefits. But SHANGHAI actually scores much higher than all the earlier political thrillers made in the country mainly due to its subtle and calm treatment of an intense plot which keeps you engrossed especially in its second half. Yet, if you are only there in the theater, looking for the entertainment as enjoyed in Dibaker's previous films then you might feel majorly dissatisfied in the end.
Here I would like to point out a very questionable drawback in the film which was not expected from a director like Dibaker. Now just imagine that a political leader (in 2012) gets a tip that a videographer has a tape which can reveal the real truth about his criminal activities. Now if he sends his goons to raid the videographer's house then what instruction they would have or what will they go for searching. Obviously they would go for all the tapes, computers and hard disks visible in his house because that's where the evidence can be hidden in the first place. But in SHANGHAI, a group of people raid the videographer house, throw everything out on the road but very strangely leave a whole CPU (Computer) lying right under the main editing table just like that.
Ignoring the above mentioned point, SHAHGHAI scores well due to its polished performances lead by Kalki, Emraan, Abhay & Pitobash. Frankly, imagining Emraan Hashmi in an ugly kind of getup and then, the "Kisser Boy" accepting the role too, shows the commitment from both the actor and the director towards their profession. Emraan takes a major transforming leap with this in his career and Abhay Deol once again proves that he has got a great understanding of the medium which he uses perfectly while selecting his projects. Being the only leading female character, Kalki shines brightly as a surprise package of the film because the girl could have been easily declared as a misfit to the role due to her western looks. But she honestly scores even better than Emraan & Abhay as the distressed girl fighting for her interest. After the lead cast comes Pitobash who is repeatedly exceptional in his short role along with Prosenjit Chatterjee, making a strong impact as the opposing leader. Farooque Sheikh and Supriya Pathak show their sparks towards the end and the supporting cast performs well in their brief roles.
Musically SHANGHAI also made me think about another sheer wastage of efforts in the Film Business. The question it raises is that when you are only going to use 1 or 2 songs in the movie itself then why to record a whole soundtrack of 6-7 different songs which are not going to reach the listeners at all unless the film becomes a big hit. As a result, though Vishal-Shekhar come up with just an above average score in this flick, still their whole effort of composing and recording the other songs of SHANGHAI would go un-noticed. Nevertheless, Cinematography remains the asset of the film as always in a Dibakar Bannerjee directed movie.
On the whole, for me SHANGHAI remains a fine political thriller but not a great one and certainly not a film made for the masses. It lacks the entertainment factor needed to win over the viewers and it also doesn't have the pace of an energetic powerful thriller (may be due to the absence of a suspense element in its predictable plot). But the film undoubtedly becomes a worth praising effort majorly due to its execution and superlative performances derived from the entire cast by the talented director.
Admittedly, my review here is based on the fact that I have seen the original Oscar winner "Z". But despite of this fact, SHANGHAI still remains a different kind of attempt from director Dibakar Bannerjee wherein he is not able to surpass his previous three films comparatively.
To those who may be wondering why this film is tilted 'Shanghai', jog
back your memory to times when politicians promised to transform Mumbai
into Shanghai. Set in a fictional Bharat-nagar which is effectively a
metaphor for any large Indian city, the movie is a take on how common
lives get affected due to the politician-builder nexus with all ills
brushed under the carpet in the name of modernization.
'International Business Park' is a mega redevelopment project that seeks to displace slums in Bharat-nagar blessed by the Chief Minister (Supriya Pathak). When a leftist Dr Ahmedi (Prasenjit Chatterjee) stands up for slum dwellers, he is quickly eliminated in a planned murder attempt which is made to look like an accident.
When Mrs Ahmedi (Tillotama Shome) demands a probe, a Bureaucrat TA Krishnan (Abhay Deol) is appointed to look into it. Trouble brews when he digs deeper than what is expected from him. Shalini (Kalki Koechlin) and a videographer Jogi Parmar (Emraan Hashmi) play key roles with Pitobash delivering a great performance at Jaggu.
The film is an adaptation of the novel "Z" by Greek writer-diplomat Vassilis Vassilikos. In fact, the book formed the base for a 1969 French film also titled 'Z' which inter alia bagged two Oscars. Apparently, the film is set in a right-wing military run country and it is about a leftist who gets killed while he plans to speak at an anti-military, nuclear disarmament rally. The developer-angle is more relevant for India though!
In fact, after a spate of comedies, it is nice to see Bollywood showing interest in strong themes or current issues. From the maker of near- realistic flicks like 'Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye' and 'Khosla ka Ghosla' director Dibakar Banjerjee's choice of subject is commendable. Also, it was a good choice not to resort to item numbers to sell the film. Instead, he has preferred to focus on its characters and some dramatic tension.
The characters in Shanghai are realistic. You can't really slot them into the stereotypes such as the altruistic good guys or the abominable bad guys. Instead, they are all regular people with their own agendas with circumstances bring out the best or worst in them. It could be politicians in power, self serving bureaucrats, a student supporting a professor she has an affair with, aimless street goons, etc.
There are just a few drawbacks that deny the film from becoming awesome. Emraan Hashmi's character could have done with a little more meat. The motivations of the leftist, especially one who travels in a private jet could have been better explained. Abhay Deol's Tamil accent is inconsistent and the 'Madrasi' reference is racist.
The storyline itself could have done with some suspense rather than focus purely on drama. Probably the ending could have been better; but hey, it's closer to reality. Specifically, there is one bit that beats me; the celebratory mood at Bharat-nagar slums. If they were celebrating the development, then what was the need for the leftist's intervention? Or, what were they celebrating with fireworks?
Overall, 'Shanghai' is a decent watchable film. Nonetheless, don't expect it to have something that would blow you off your feet. It has some good acting and it deserves some credit for coming up with characters with shades of grey.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Director: Dibakar Banerjee
Writer: Dibakar Banerjee, Urmi Juvekar
Yes, we know it's an adaptation and since there is a lot to write about, we shall get straight to the point. Shanghai, 2012's most sensational political film, whether liked or disliked, has managed to create enough waves to get everyone talking. While the critics have unanimously hailed it as a success, the film has not managed to impress.
Now, the concerns with the script:-
1) Abhay Deol (T.A Krishnan) is an IAS officer who is made to preside over a state government initiated inquiry of a murder of an activist. He is investigating a matter in which IBP, an infrastructure company, could be possibly involved. He also happens to be the Vice-Chairman of IBP. This doesn't make sense nor is it factually possible. While an IAS officer can be on the board of a company through government directives, it is legally not possible to conduct an inquiry if he is on the board of the firm whose conduct is in question.
2) Krishnan is shown to be the CM's favored man. He is aware the state government is using the infrastructure project as an election agenda. Throughout the investigation, his work is hindered by the state government, either by direct reprimand through the secretary of CM Farooq Shaikh (Kaul) or sterner tacit directives, as when the CM's order halts the commission. Clearly, this is a paradox. One, because in reality or in a script, a CM would not put a man at the helm of an inquiry if his loyalty is in question or if he is extremely honest. Two, if a shrewd politician does commit this blunder as in the film, why does he go against the government? No possible motivations have been explored. Also, what keeps him from understanding the state government's motives and advantages in supporting IBP until the fag end? He is shown to be clever, but came across as rather naïve.
3) The biggest issue with the film was the turning point when Emraan Hashmi (Jogi Parmar) decides to help Kalki Koechlin (Shalini Sahay). Parmar is the man who determines the final outcome or climax of the film. He is emotionally compelled to do so because of the murder of his relative/guardian and business partner who possesses a tape that will bring down the government. This tape, by far, is the most important finding of evidence by any character in the film which implicates the murderers convincingly. Yet, Parmar's relative conveniently discusses this with the very people whom the tape implicates? This simply doesn't work; a square peg is being fit into a round hole.
4) Further, the result of this is the goon who would have likely killed Jogi Parmar's relative, asks Parmar if he has knowledge of the 'jackpot' tape in question? Again, this does not work for two reasons. It conveniently makes the script move forward as Parmar now has a motivation to avenge his uncle. Two, the goons who know these two men work together actually come and inquire instead of simply getting rid of Parmar, who would likely have knowledge of the tape but wouldn't disclose it under the given circumstances.
Problems with characterization:
1) Prasenjit Chatterjee (Dr.Ahmedi): why does he land in a chartered plane with an item girl who will subsequently perform at an IBP function? Since there is such specific focus on this, as a viewer, one would expect this information to be later introduced to discredit his character or just be used for that matter, instead it's just left open. He kisses Shalini passionately, throwing light on their past, but again not so much. A womanizing activist, how does this help the film or his character?
2) Shalini Sahay's: character is best described as a phantom. We don't know her past, why or what has she studied abroad, why is she an activist now, how she makes her living, where she comes from or where is she going? Her role primarily is restricted to crying for the half-dead activist and running around the city. A major detail about her father's involvement in a scam is again left as a lose end.
3) Tillotama Shome (Mrs.Ahmedi): who is she and what is her purpose? The most random ending I've seen to a film since Kashyap's Gulal, where Mrs.Ahemdi's picture appears on an IBP poster. All of a sudden, the viewer is expected to shift the entire focus from the story of government & administrative malpractice & failure to the interpersonal relation of the Ahmedi's or to the conniving nature of Mrs.Ahmedi. The film could have been exactly what it was without this detail or even this character.
Further, while I'm not against songs, the item number seems misplaced when it actually becomes a song. So does the song "Bharat Mata Ki" when Parmar magically bumps into the murderer Pitobash Tripati (Bhaggu) and a full-fledged sequence commences. It felt slightly out of tune with the film, as though one had succumbed to commercial pressures. The camera work too, was jarring and the close-crops were too close for comfort.
Banerjee, India's leading filmmaker, has not managed to make an impact or beat the standards his own films have set in the past. At the end though, we cannot forget the intent and effort behind such a film. It has no doubt raised standards of filmmaking in India and throws light on issues that otherwise mainstream cinema simply ignores. With brilliant all round performances, attention to detail and the sheer courage to take such a project to fruition, this films is definitely a must watch for all.
Yes, the movie is must watch. A wonderful effort by DB to precisely
highlight the true picture of Indian coalition politics and the price
some of our regions are paying on the name of development. The
brilliance of the movies stays in its actors and the subtle manner of
the way situations and instances have been pictured. Compare this with
Rajneeti and you will understand the difference. Emraan Hashmi steals
the show in spite of tough competition from Abhay Deol in terms of
acting. Kalki Kolechin disappoints with uniform expressions across the
However, I would rate this movie a little low considering that when you have stalwarts like Dibakar Banerjee, Abhay Deol, Emraan Hashmi and Farooq Sheikh, you expect the movie to grip you within first 5-10 minutes itself. But movie took the entire first half to built the pace. The background and gravity of the situation is not given enough time and importance as the movie rushes through first couple of events. Songs, except for Bharat Mata Ki Jai, not required in these kind of movies. But come second half and movie picks up brilliantly with unexpected and excellent climax. Verdict: Definitely watch it, but with patience.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I used to be a fan of Dibakar Banerjee. I literally loved his direction
in 'Oye Lucky Lucky Oye' and 'Khosla's Nest'. 'Love Sex and Dhokha' was
an unusual item in the bag. With great anticipation i went on to see
the first day first show of 'Shanghai'. Incidentally i was with a girl
and it was her B'day. I had her believed that Shanghai would be a great
movie. The trailers were critical and i knew this was going to be a
dark subject movie unlike the previous ones.
I might not be a good critic but i can profoundly say that the movie sucked on every level. Keeping aside the 1500 odd movies that i have seen, even if i was a naive i would rate it awful! I mean the story, acting, direction and whatever it takes to make a movie were essentially dismal. i destroyed a B'day....please you don't.
DON'T WATCH IT
There were many reasons for which I went to theater to watch this film,
1. Acting skills and selectiveness of Imran Hashmi. All of his recent
movies were minimum guarantee movies. 2. 2 beautiful songs which I
wanted to enjoy in big screen (khudaaya and duaa). 3. Positive reviews.
But I was terribly disappointed with the movie. This was a 2 hour movie, but I felt like I spend around 5 hours in theater, I was totally uncomfortable. It was a horrible experience because I was having huge expectations. I felt asleep at times and woke up suddenly by hearing the screaming of kalki.. These are some of my findings. 1. First of all, I agree that this may feel like awesome for some audience. It is a dark political thriller, but its not entertaining, movie was moving slooowly. 2. Those 2 songs which I mentioned above were not in the movies. I don't know whether the dua song was cut, but the khudaaya song was made just for the film promo. There is no such situation in the movie where you can include that song. 3. I think Abhay deol was totally wasted. He is a good character, but not all suitable for this role.
Imran hashmi's acting was appreciable. Believe me he is very near to bagging a best actor award.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After hearing a few positive reviews about Shanghai, i was looking
forward to watching the movie, also because of good actors. But i was
disappointed by the movie due to the following reasons 1. Movie was
very slow, the entire storyline could have been shown by interval 2.
The character of Abhay Deol had not been created well 3. All characters
weren't given their due, 4. The Celebrations in the movie had no cause
whatsoever 5. The end did not clarify what happened beyond the last
event! A few good things 1. Scenes(not characters)had good detailing 2.
Plot was the same old, CM/PM involved in the conspiracy
Overall the movie could have been much better, given the actors.
Dibakar Banerjee's body of work is legendary. And the expectations from
his latest outing 'Shanghai', are gargantuan. Does the maverick
storyteller deliver in 'Shanghai'? The answer, well, is neither yes or
Based on the novel Z by Vassilis Vassilikos, 'Shanghai' is a political thriller, that is bleak, disturbing & rustic. Dibakar handles this story efficiently, but the problem lies in its script, which, appeals only in bits. The film isn't without merit, but, overall, the desired impact is missing.
'Shanghai' Synopsis: Four individuals find themselves tied up into a gruesome game of crime and politics.
'Shanghai' caters to a niche audience, it doesn't hold universal appeal. The narrative is hard to absorb & even erratic at times. The Screenplay is interesting in parts, but doesn't hold entirely. The first-hour, in particular, is extremely slow. The second-hour does offer some terrific moments, but the climax isn't strong enough.
Dibakar's Direction is efficient, as he captures the mood of the film & maintains it all through. Cinematography is grim. Editing is decent. Music by Vishal-Shekhar is passable.
Performance-Wise: Emraan Hashmi is fantastic, delivering the finest performance of his career. The actor has never been so good! Abhay Deol does a sincere job. Kalki Koechlin is decent. Prosenjit Chatterjee does well in a cameo, while Pitobash Tripathy is impressive. Farooq Sheikh & Anant Jog are absolutely astonishing in supporting roles. Supriya Pathak leaves a mark.
On the whole, 'Shanghai' works in parts.
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