Movie Review- Shanghai: The big, bad world of bureaucracyReported by Deccan Herald on Friday, 8 June 2012 (on June 8, 2012)
Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Abhay Deol, Kalki Koechlin
Director: Dibakar Banerjee *
An activist from London arrives on a chartered flight with a starlet. The "phoren item" goes to do a desi number at the launch of an infrastructure project, and the activist heads straight to a rally for a rabble-rousing speech against the same project.
And there begins the irony of a land called India where all shanties dream of becoming a Shanghai.
Dibakar Banerjee's political thriller forces open the big, bad bureaucratic closet from where dino-sized skeletons tumble out. Yes, we have seen the skeletons before, but Banerjee doesn't dress them in Bollywood straitjackets. So, corrupt netas and crude cronies pack a believable punch here, along with hired killers. No sermons, not even an unwanted tear... Shanghai just holds a mirror against the naked evils that shame India.
The activist (Prosenjit Chatterjee, all grace and enigma) is mowed down in front of hundreds of his supporters. And the murderers go street-dancing afterwards. The long arm of the law is chopped off by vested interests.
Emraan Hashmi, a small-time videographer who also makes some local-flavoured porn, stumbles upon stuff that throws light on the murder. Kalki Koechlin, now doing a Sherlock Holmes into her professor-cum-lover's killing, finds her Watson in Hashmi.
Together, they go knocking at a certain Krishnan (Abhay Deol as the Tamilian IAS officer probing the political murder). As the one-man enquiry commission, Deol knows he is no superman. As the poor and powerless trip over the red tape, Deol just stares at his boss (Farooq Sheikh, in a gem of an act). But the volcano does erupt, and Deol lets all the pent-up lava topple a chief minister (Supriya Pathak, where were you?)
Adapted from Greek writer Vassilis Vassilikos' Z, the movie is a fine craft by Dibakar Banerjee. And the cast makes the best of it. At least Hashmi leaves his kiss-past behind him to embrace a role of a lifetime.
A good watch.
Links: Full news story
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