Think about it - A film that is so meticulously crafted by a fine filmmaker that you feel disgust while you praise the film; disgust at actually having known what type of country you living in without doing anything for good and just being part of the herd. This is exactly the feeling I had running in my veins as I came out of Dibakar Banerjee's masterstroke 'SHANGHAI'.
The film's story idea is nothing that we have never known; in fact it is almost like our every day life acceptance of the murky political and greedy life scenario we living in and happily being a part of it so as to not be left behind in being the smarter one among the crowd. However, it is the execution of the script that gives it scores to be completely free of the clichés known with every Hindi film. There are no overbearing and long dialogues, the awesome soundtrack score by Vishal-Shekhar was mostly chopped off the final edit as its inclusion would have definitely made the film's impact week, there is no acting but only characterization, the characters don't imitate any real person but only real India and the politics in the film has no mention of religion - something which we expect as must in every scenario.
Adapted from the novel 'Z' by Vassilis Vassilikos, the film is set in a bustling Indian city of Bharat Nagar which has a ruling party backed huge infrastructure project. A premeditated shocking road accident of a socialist professor opens up a can of political worms engulfing the main characters essayed skillfully by Emran Hashmi, Kalki Koechin and Abhay Deol. As days go by, those involved discover a hidden secret in the government's sector: a vision of a new metropolis, a pie dream, a dream called 'Shangahi'.
Just like its carefully sketched story, Dibakar has amazingly picked actors whom he knew he can make his characters and every actor justifies their presence in every frame their director has put them in. So it will be unfair of me to pick up any single actor.The screenplay moves as the pace is required - slow when it needed the people to think incident's as 'it's so common, tell us something new' and fast when it wants to create a tension about the situation of the nation we praise as our mother and how to smartly be a part of the system to change the system. The camera work lingers to your mind with every scene and the soundtrack and background score are to the point effectively utilized. However its the script and film maker's control on his vision and craft that are the real winners for this political thriller.
Regardless of the reception that this film receives in terms of box office collection, it is important that it be seen by every Indian. The film actually comes out as an exposé that is not meant to shock the audience but just be a slice of shameful life we are merrily living in. It's full of staggering irony that makes you smile yet cringe with shame.
A definite 4 out of 5 rating and a two thumbs up for film-maker Dibakar Banerjee. It's a fine, nuanced film that serves its purpose with a kind of fluidity we don't see enough on screen. Please watch it!