Film: Shanghai – Film Review
Producer: Dibakar Banerjee,Priya Shreedharan,
Ajay and Sanjeev Bijli
Director: Dibakar Banerjee
Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Abhay Deol, Prosnjit Chaterjee,
Piobash Tripathy and Farooq Sheikh.
Some real cinema from some real filmmaker!
Dibakar Banerjee’s adaptation of the Greek writer Vassilis Vassilikos’s
book “Z” is very close to perfection. Costa Gavras attempted the film
with the same title as that of the book “Z’, and was equally successful.
Why this political crime thriller set in today’s time frame works, is
because of the harsh reality that is smoothly translated into screen space
with equal ease and ruthlessness at the same time.
Set in a small town somewhere in India, Bharat Nagar, is
poised to become the next Shanghai. Plans are made to redevelop it
into an International Business park. On the eve of its launch, and with
the political elections round the corner, a political social activist Dr.
Ahmadi becomes a victim of an encounter, very smartly planned by
the people in power to be. That one particular shot where Dr. Ahmadi
(Prosenjit Chatterjee) is banged by the speeding tempo which pops
up 3-4 times with stupendous sound effect sets the tone of the film.
Shalini Sahay (Kalki Koechlin) one of the followers of Dr. Ahmadi
who is witness to the whole scene is just shell shocked and could not
believe her eyes, and strongly believes that the so called accident was
nothing but cold blooded murder, in front of hundreds of people and
police alike watching and acting like mute spectators. A murder she was
forewarned about and she could do nothing about it.
Now it’s a fight she wages against the perpetrators of the
crime single-handedly and manages to find the solace in Joginder
Parmar (Emraan Hashmi), a press photographer by day and an
adult film videographer by night, and an high rank IAS officer
T.A.Krishnan,(Abhay Deol), who are forced to succumb to their
conscience, with events and situations unfolding in front of them. Once
convinced and done with the blood, gore, deceptions, manipulations,
exploitations by the land mafias, politicians and their henchman’s and
bureaucrats and the so called powerbrokers who negotiates all deals on
human sacrifice, we see the rise of these unlikesly heroes doing their bit
to bring justice in their own capacity and work environment.
Abhay Deol is very much restrained and manages to project
the character of a South Indian officer with conviction and lends that
layer of maturity and respect that such bureaucratic character and
their positions demand to near perfection. Kalki Koechlin is just superb.
Her concern, her angst, her convictions, fear, shock and anger are
pretty strong and those expressions come across very powerfully. And
what can you say about Emraan Hashmi? He has really matured as an
actor over the years and this particular portrayal will take him notches
ahead of his other achievements.
Prosenjit Chatterjee deserved a bigger chunk, but all said
and done wonderful portrayal and very much in character. Same goes
for Pitobash Tripathy as a morchawlla Bhago and Farooq Sheikh as a
scheming politician are beautifully enacted and lend an added flavor
to the narrative. Vishal Sekhar’s music is okay and an item number
Imported Kamariya seems to be beautifully woven in the main scenario.
Bharat Mata Ki Jai sounds patriotic and is quite hummable.
But the highlight of the film is the settings, light, sound and
camera work. Background music by Michael McCarthy is outstanding.
Editing by Namrata Rao is crisp and fast and really momentous. All this
is complemented by superb camerawork.
And behind all this wonderful performances is none other
than the Director and a special mention for the co-writer Urmi Juvekar
who has managed to deliver a one of its kind celluloid wonder in
political genre. In short Dibakar Banerjee lives up to the standards he
has set for himself.
A must watch film for students of cinema, hardcore film
buffs and cine enthusiasts.