Shanghai is a well-made movie. It boasts a tight story, a highly-strung screenplay, a suspense ridden ending that is so extremely understated that you dont realize how much of your finger you have chewed up and some first rate acting from the cast.
The story is centered on the attempted killing of a political leader who is trying to fight for the rights of slum dwellers being evicted from their dwelling to make way for a business park. He is deified by his student turned lover who along with his other followers try to find out the truth about the people behind the accident. The Government orders an enquiry to be headed by a Tamil bureaucrat who tries to conduct the investigation honestly and runs into obstacles in the course of justice. It would be unfair to give away the rest of the story and spoil your evening at the movies.
Abhay Deol worked hard at getting the Tamil accent right and though it sounds a bit too forceful at times I guess one needs to play it up a bit to make it sound more effective. His body language is also bang on. He is always tightly wound up, ramrod straight and obsessed with his tie- a man who believes in his principles. I loved Farooque Shaikh who plays his pragmatic boss. Good to see him in such great form. Emraan Hashmi gets a chance at playing a character who does not have to kiss anyone and he acquits himself honourably. I almost expected a Sufi song to start playing in the background when he came on but the director has used him wisely and well. Kalki is in danger of becoming typecast as the off balance passionate person and she walks through this role with ease. Pitobash Tripathy who plays the slightly deranged goon Bhagu is outstanding
My advice - do not eat crackly snacks in this movie. The crunching may drown out some crucial dialogues needed to understand whats going on. Also make sure the person behind you is not tall and nudging your seat. You turn around to tell him and bang! goes another dialogue. Immerse yourself in this drama and you will come out totally satisfied and singing Bharatmata ki Jai. Dibakar Banerjee Zindabad