Dibakar Banerjee, the talented director of films like Khosla Ka Ghosla and Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye, returns with a political thriller starring Abhay Deol, Emraan Hashmi and Kalki Koechlin.
Story: Based on Vasilis Vasilikos’s novel Z, Shanghai is about politics and corruption. Professor Dr Ahmedi (played by Prosenjeet Chatterjee), who is leading an anti-IBP movement, arrives in Bharath Nagar to deliver a public speech against the construction business park in the small city. He is involved in an extra-marital affair with Shalini (Kalki), who is a part of the movement.
Inspite of all the death threats, Ahmedi delivers the speech, but gets knocked down by a vehicle soon after. The driver is arrested and charged of drinking and driving.
IAS officer Krishnan (Abhay Deol) is asked to investigate the case. Jogi Parmar (Emraan Hashmi) is a videographer, who falls for Shalini and has footage of the moments preceding the hit and run case.
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.
A film like Shanghai, also demands that you keep your thinking cap on, it requires you to put the bits and pieces together to completely understand and follow the proceedings. Which is exactly why the film isn’t for everyone. The Dabangg / Rowdy Rathore loving audience of today, will walk out disappointed as Shanghai offers very little entertainment value.
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. Prosenjit Chatterjee is good in a small role. Others worth a mention are Anant Jog - who shines in a role that doesn’t require him to say ‘nonsense’ or ‘don’t mind’ after every sentence. Supriya Pathak makes an impact in very little screen-time that she gets.
Overall, Shanghai keeps you hooked for most parts, but it certainly isn’t one of Dibakar Banerjee’s best works.
Rating: For a great first half, good direction and fantastic performances.