Dibakar Banerjee has the tendency to make films that would not exactly appeal to most of India but they always end up gaining critical acclaim. I was pretty fond of his previous two movies- Khosla ka Ghosla and Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye! But Shanghai just didn’t strike the right chord with me.
The story is set in the heartland of India in a town called Bharatnagar. A road accident leaves a Left Wing activist, Dr. Ahemadi Ali (, in a pretty bad shape. Ahemadi Ali had come to town protest against a business park that would culminate in leaving several families homeless. Out of the ample eye witnesses around, Shalini (Kalki Koechin) believes that this was a cold blooded set up and is intent on finding out the killer. A revelation from a cheap photographer (Emraan Hashmi) claiming that he has proof which can bring down the government transforms the scenario into a volatile one. A top bureaucrat (Abhay Deol) is placed at the helm of chaos to control the situation.
For all those who like their dessert first, I will start with the good part. Once again,it throws light on the Dibakar Banerjee’s directorial skills. The movie has been shot beautifully. In a lot of ways, it has ressurected the career of Emraan Hashmi as he provided with a golden opportunity to shed his serial kisser/casanova image. This has brought out his versatality and given an assurance that he is more than capable of changing his hues and colours according to the demand’s of the director. This golden toothy grin character is one to watch out for.
Named as a political thriller, it failed to live up to it’s expectation. It was never expected to get the cash registers ringing or creating havoc at the box office. There were parts where the film completely lost it’s tempo and even if you didn’t pay much attention to it for a while, you wouldn’t miss much.It had a lot of cliches in it and everything that happens in the process of investigating the murder has already been witnessed in plenty of other movies. When the cat did come out of the bag, it wasn’t much of a shocker as I doubt whether anyone was predicting something else. Some of the dialogues which were supposed to intensify the situation back fired totally! For instance, Kalki says to Emraan “Mere saath jo karna hai aaj raat kar lo” and the surprise is Emraan Hashmi does nothing at all! With a character that he is portraying, that is something very hard to imagine.
We at OP give it 2.5 mainly for it’s direction and a much appreciated performance from Emraan Hashmi. Also it might take a while to know why this movie was named ‘Shanghai’ so bear with it!