Shanghai directed by Dibakar Banarjee reminded me a bit about Kahaani, may be because of its rustic, close to life character portrayal. Though it did not have the mystery element that Kahaani had us on the edge, it is a well crafted movie with some nice performances by the leads. It is nice to watch movies with artistic value that also have a good scope to be commercial successes.
The star cast includes Abhay deol, Imran Hashmi, Kalki Koechlin and Prosenjit Chatterjee from Bengali cinema. Abhay as usual gave a nice performance with ease and control fitting well into the character of a high ranking south Indian bureaucrat (Krishnan) who is heading an enquiry commission that is investigating the planned accident of Ahamedi, an activist played by Prosenjit.
Kalki is a very fine actress as you might have seen her in Dev D or ‘That Girl in the Yellow boots” She fits into the role, or these roles come and find her, we will know only after we see more range from her. But she never leaves much to complain when she comes on screen. Another good performance for her to get more releases soon. She plays the love of Ahamedi who is trying to get the authorities to take action on the culprits behind Ahamedi’s hit and run. May be this character was another reason that reminded me of Kahaani.
The quite different performance was given by our smooches king Imraan Hashmi. He plays Jogi a low level videographer who makes a living covering events and doing soe prono on the side and gets into this whole story because he was at sight with his camera during the hit and run. He has slipped well into the character of jogi not just in looks but also in his way of walking and other physical mannerisms.
Being the nephew of the Mukesh bhat/Mahesh bhat clan Imraan Hashmi was mostly a family production commodity till a while ago and with more recent movies like ‘Once Upon a Time in Mumbai’, ‘Dirty Picture’ and now Shangai, he is in with some more attractive and better roles. He is again proving that he can do a good character without the smooches and the good looks. The movie also has Farooq sheikh and Supriya Pathak adorning guest but important roles along with Pitobash Tripathy who you might remember from the well received role he did in “Shor in the city”. Pitobash did well in this one too.
The story or the background I will not delve more as it is better experienced when watched on the screen. If you like political thrillers that take you hopping between streets, chopdis and minister bungalows in a fast paced movie, you will like it. Though the movie would sound to have a lot of violence, I think they have considerably reduced on any Gory scenes and stuff. But since the theme revolves around the political and crime nexuses there is more intense elements than needed for kids. So My take would be to watch the movie without kids…
I saw it as usual at the Big Cinemas in Fremont in the San Francisco Bay Area as this weeks main release, so, watch it, you will enjoy it.