Do you like silence in movies? Moments when the camera is looking at the actor and you are trying to figure out whats going on in his/her head? Shanghai has many such moments which make it a cut above the rest. I havent read the book Z which this film is adapted from but I have had the pleasure of experiencing the movie Z in Chandan (an old single screen theatre in Mumbai) during a film festival so I was very curious to see how Dibakar adapts the book.
It is set in a fictional town called Bharat nagar which a fictional party called I.B.P wants to turn into Shanghai. The man who opposes the idea, Dr. Ahmedi (Prosenjit Chatterjee) steps into Bharat Nagar for a speech. He is hit by a truck just after his speech. What follows next is a whodunit political thriller. Dibakar spends almost 30 mins in introducing the key players. Right from the opening scene Shanghai is an engaging film and the ensemble cast is one big reason for that. Every single actor even the ones who play the smallest parts fit in perfectly into the mood of the film.
I went in to see the leads Abhay, Emraan, Kalki and Prosenjit but with due respect to all of them I came out impressed with Anant Jogs mostly silent and powerful performance. For me his character represents the state of our nation. He and Pitobashs character are two sides of the same coin. One is a silent spectator and the other a willing accomplice who doesnt know that he is being used. Along with these two, the guy who plays the SSP, the guy who plays Emraans boss and many such small actors left a lasting impression on me. Atul Mongia (Casting Director) deserves a standing ovation for it.
This is by far Dipakar Banerjees best film and is a perfectly crafted and well designed thriller. I would credit the editor Namrata Rao for the therav and rhythm that the film has. Her editing is almost like zen meditation. Complimenting her perfectly is Mike McCleary's background score. The one in the climax is to die for. Both of them give the film its mood which is one of the best things about the film. The background music undoes all the wrongs of the weak soundtrack the film has. Lastly it is Nikos Andritsakis that makes the film such a real and raw visual experience. Except the placement of the song bharat mata ki jai and Kalki screaming at Anant Jogs house scene I couldnt find a single false note in the film. By producing this film PVR pictures have got rid of their past few sins.
Word of mouth - If you love silence, mood, therav in movies go watch Shanghai otherwise noise is still playing in it's 2nd week.
Rating - **** (Very Good)
Ticket Meter Worth a visit to the theatre at any cost