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Shanghai Review

Critic Score 76

Good- 14

Average- 1

Bad- 0

Total- 15

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Overall

76

Brilliant

 
 

 

Indicine Review

 
Indicine | Indicine Team

Like most Dibakar Banerjee films, Shanghai too is fast-paced, has a multi-layered plot, the proceedings are real and every character is well-etched. The film is engrossing and has enough shock-value attached, to keep the viewers hooked. But for a film that starts off so well, it loses track somewhere in the second half. The climax was a major let-down.

Known for extracting fantastic performances, Banerjee successfully gets Emraan Hashmi to shed his serial-kisser image and perform. The result? Emraan shines, in what is easily the best performance of his career. As for Abhay Deol, he does very well apart from the forced Tamilian accent. Kalki emotes well, but she’s done such roles several times in the past.

70

Recommended
 
 

Critics Reviews

 
Bollywood Hungama | Taran Adarsh

The finest aspect of Dibakar Banerjee's films is that you can't articulate what he's going to come up with next and how unerringly he's going to engage you in his creation. All his movies so far have picked up issues that concern us, but the temperament was so diverse that, if you weren't aware, you might not have estimated that they were all helmed by the same director.

The casting is offbeat, but beguiling. One could've never anticipated Abhay and Emraan acting in the same film. Emraan is your regular guy, so there is an instantaneous connect with him. Besides, it's a new Emraan that you witness here [paunch, blackened/stained teeth], which is in sharp contrast to his on-screen romantic representation. Influenced by Dibakar's thought process, Emraan takes the plunge and wholly submits to the director's visualization. This is a defining moment in his career and I am sure, even Emraan must've rediscovered himself in this variety of film-making.

80

Recommended
 
 
DNA India | Aniruddha Guha

The pace is breakneck. Banerjee and co-writer Urmi Juvekar pen a tight screenplay, one that gives you little room to breathe, the story moving swiftly. Shanghai is not the kind of film where one-liners come thick and fast, yet dialogues have gravity. The narrative is propelled by Namrata Rao’s deft editing (with Ishqiya, Band Baaja Baaraat, Kahaani, and now Shanghai, she’s emerging as one of our best), and Mikey McCleary’s background score. The sound of dhols to denote cacophony even as life seems brittle elsewhere is a neat trick.

90

Recommended
 
 
Glamsham | Martin D'Souza

SHANGHAI also dwells on how the poor are remote-controlled into doing exactly what the people in power want them to. Jobless, they become ruthless when given a dose of power by the higher-ups, to usurp the peace of the city. Pitobash Tripathy as Bhagu gives a flattering impersonation of how the uneducated/unemployed are used and abused.

Banerjee engages the viewer throughout, taking him on a journey to decipher the motives of the government and the 'inquiry commission', which most know what they stand for. But amongst the bad and ugly in the film there is also the good within the system that actually shocks. What is even more shocking is that Banerjee boldly exposes the real killer but also smartly hides the fact. Something no filmmaker has had the gumption to do. That I think is Banerjee's trump card in SHANGHAI; he has banked on his ability to deceive!

80

Recommended
 
 
NDTVMovies | Saibal Chatterjee

Shanghai draws much of its strength from a taut screenplay (Urmi Juvekar and Dibakar Banerjee) that never overplays its hand and leaves a lot to the imagination of the audience. It is an immeasurable pleasure to watch a Mumbai film that hinges as much on the unstated or barely suggested as it does on what is uttered and spelt out.

The performances, especially those by Abhay Deol (despite his dodgy Tamilian accent) as a man who can clearly see what is wrong but is prevented by bureaucratic red tape from spilling the beans and Kalki Koechlin as the woman who seethes in anger but, like all the others in her camp, is utterly helpless, add to the consistently edgy quality of Shanghai.

80

Recommended
 
 
Rediff | Raja Sen

Yet what words, what actors. Emraan Hashmi, as the scruffy videographer out for a quick buck, delivers a knockout punch as he masters a complicated role. From his infuriatingly goofy laugh to poor attempts at making conversation, Hashmi proves himself the best of a very fine ensemble. He occasionally shoots porn — this is off-camera, we see him ask his subjects to clear up and hear the hurried sounds of straps and zippers — and later, when the film's heroine is about to sit on his bed, he instinctively barks that she sit somewhere else, because the bed's dirty. It's a throwaway grunt but Hashmi nails it — just like he nails highly energetic pelvic thrusts in a streetdance, one where he keeps biting his tongue, faux-scandalised by the words of the song. It's one of the best performances from one of our leading men in quite some time, and in one chilling pre-climactic moment, when sitting on the floor and confounded by the situation, his plaintive wail is fittingly reminiscent of the late great Ravi Baswani's angst in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro's darkest minute.

80

Recommended
 
 
Sify | Sonia Chopra

Dibakar Banerjee masterfully adds in humour in the bleakest scenes. There are the funny bits where a ‘neta’ stands against a green cloth, so that the “junta effect” can be digitally added later.

Performances are extraordinary. Emraan Hashmi proves to be the film’s scene-stealer, giving the film comedic relief while being equally effective in the serious portions. Kalki Koechlin gives yet another flawless performance; she has proven to be a masterful performer with tremendous screen presence.  Abhay Deol is understated and intense at once. Prosenjit Chaterjee is superlative. Supriya Pathak, Farooq Sheikh, Tillotama Shome, Pitobash and Anant Jog give crackling performances.

90

Recommended
 
 
The Times Of India | Madhureeta Mukherjee

Director, Dibakar Banerjee's adaptation of Greek writer Vassilis Vassilikos's book 'Z' is impressively Indianized. The story-telling is embossed with naked realism, rawness and brutal honesty. Be it blood stained bodies, close-ups of blackened faces, or ugliness (of body and soul) - he bares it with gut, grit and gore. But it's not the first time we've seen the struggling aam aadmi made scapegoats by mantris who go back to plush seats in their power hubs. It's not the first time chapters on humanity and morality are shamelessly ripped from political text books. The story is predictable (expect for a few scenes), and the revelations that follow, don't send shockwaves or make your bellies churn.

70

Recommended
 
 
Nowrunning | Mansha Rastogi

To be frank, when you see names like Dibakar Banerjee and Abhay Deol, you involuntarily start expecting the world. They are known to not compromise with the quality of the film come what may. But Shanghai is absolutely different. It is a welcome change to not see a hackneyed treatment of a plot done to death but that isn't enough.

The film maintains its pace and is neither slow nor pacy. Dibakar should be credited for keeping the proceedings real and not exaggerated. Political murders and efforts to cover them up have been kept as close to reality as possible. Yet you miss the entertainment part. Banerjee didn't let any fun seep into the script if we ignore Emraan's small jibes. This might not go down well with the section of people who love some amusement too.

60

Recommended
 
 
Koimoi | Mrigank Dhaniwala

The screenplay of Shanghai, based on the novel Z by Vassilis Vassilikos, is engaging from the word go. The screenplay writers (Urmi Juvekar and Dibakar Banerjee) have ensured that the viewer is pulled into the murky world of political machinations. The characters are wonderfully etched; their interpersonal relations beautifully evolve as the drama progresses.

Abhay Deol is simply superlative as the straightforward IAS officer. His South Indian accent is so well-done that it is impossible to imagine him as not being the character of Krishnan. Emraan Hashmi is boisterous as Jogi Parmar, the sleazy but well-meaning videographer. His look is also commendably authentic. He does a wonderful job. Kalki Koechlin emotes beautifully. Farooq Sheikh, as Kaul, is a delight.

90

Recommended
 
 
Mid-Day India | Janhavi Samant

Dibakar excels at this of course. He revels in our tawdry lower middle class excesses, the gudh and the gobar, but above all our obsession with worship – Kalki’s hero-worship of her professor, Bhaggu’s blind devotion to his political leaders, and Krishnan’s following of his aspirations. He also deftly brings out on a platform issues like displacement and disparity that are rarely seen in our films. At times though, the film does appear disjointed and scenes seem lined up all in a hurry.

80

Recommended
 
 
Zeenews | Ananya Bhattacharya

Dibakar Banerjee and his incisive take on Indian politics hits people below the belt, and hits hard, with the caustically cutting political thriller called ‘Shanghai’. The director has dived whole hog into the dirty game called politics, and has crafted to perfection a staggeringly brilliant offering. The flawless acting of the spectacular cast is another feather in the hat of the filmmaker; and with ‘Shanghai’, Banerjee has catapulted himself to the league of directors who enjoy an enviable status in the territory.

80

Recommended
 
 
India Today | Vinayak Chakravorty

Dibakar and his co-screenwriter Urmi Juvekar set their tale in the Hindi heartland, in a smalltown aptly named Bharat Nagar. Without frills, the film starts off on a thriller note. A road accident leaves a prominent left-wing activist (Prosenjit Chatterjee) in critical condition. The activist, Dr Ahmed Ali, was in town to campaign against a business park that will render several families homeless. The only witness (Kalki Koechlin) is convinced the accident was a cold-blooded set-up for murder. The situation gets volatile when a petty porn filmmaker (Emraan Hashmi) turns up claiming he has video proof that could bring down the government. A top bureaucrat (Abhay Deol) is summoned for damage control.

80

Recommended
 
 
Dailybhaskar | Mayank Shekhar

Between artistry and analysis, Dibakar Bannerjee, one of the most exciting filmmakers around, chooses to entertain first. He doesn’t shy away from slipping in an “item number” either. This is what separates his deeply observant, highly visual cinema (Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, LSD, or this one), from socially conscious art-house movement of the ‘80s. This film, like ‘80s parallel films, is co-produced by NFDC. It will probably connect with crowds far more.

Yet, in its breathless pace, the film sadly fails to shine any light on several facets of democracy that would play key roles in a high-profile case such as this – opposition parties, for one, higher judiciary, for another. Even the dead activist’s wife (Tillotama Shome) who becomes a face for the alert media is strongly introduced but quietly forgotten.

70

Recommended
 
 
Movietalkies | Movie Talkies

However, when it comes to direction and story-telling, Dibakar remains at the top of the game. Unlike other directors, who would have been tempted to rope in heavy doses of melodrama and an explosive confrontation between the forces of good and evil at the climax, Banerjee chooses subtlety and intelligence instead, adding a degree of authenticity and credibility to the plot.

60

Recommended
 
 
Indiaglitz | Joginder Tuteja

Still, what saves the film to a reasonable extent are the performances. Emraan Hashmi is extremely loveable, especially in the first hour when his child like persona is well demonstrated. It's a new actor that you see here and hats off to his and Dibakar's conviction that an altogether different persona is seen. Abhay Deol is fantastic and proves once again why his name is taken with such respect in the industry. Kalki is decent though one expected more meat in her character. Prosenjit is hardly there. Farooq Sheikh is plain natural and is actually one of the characters that entertains most. Pithobash Tripathy could have been utilised better while Supriya Pathak is superb in her solo scene.

50

Average Movie
 
 

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