Watching Shanghai

It’s been a while since I did a film review so my note-taking isn’t quite as good as it once was. What I mean by that is that I can’t make head or tail of most of my scrawl. Given below is what I have been able to fathom and it’s mostly in order, I think. To read the review I wrote of Shanghai, click here.

Entered hall and hit by a bomb of sweaty body odour. Ew.

Film has started late. Hall still stinky, which, given what Bharat Nagar looks like, could be considered ambient effect. However, would prefer to just see the world of Shanghai, not smell it as well.

Pitobash just slathered black paint — in slow mo! — on the guy who’s been proudly promoting Prosenjit. Totally on Pitobash’s side.

Erm, why is Kalki K staring like that?

Enter Prosenjit.
Must. Not. Whistle.

Full respect to Prosenjit for being able to look into Kalki’s eyes affectionately. Her stare is freaking me out.

Superb crowd shot as Ahmedi and gang wait in car while a political party’s workers block the road with some random celebration. Sums up reality of Indian politics in this one quick scene: it’s a performance. Also, it’s a head rush for those in politics (madly dancing party workers). It provides the media with its livelihood (photographers pop up and take pictures). The citizens are the ones who are not only not served but also inconvenienced and trapped (Ahmedi and gang immobile in car).

This replacing of “Hello” with “Jai Pragati” is funny. Also underscores what a hollow word progress has become.

Cannot believe I’m going to say this but Prosenjit is pretty darn cool when he places himself between that cop and Kalki.

Kalki-Prosenjit liplock. What’s the bet there’s a wife that’s going to pop up any moment now? I’m actually feeling more worried about Prosenjit. Kalki’s got the look of one of those people who’ll eat their lover’s liver or something.

Krishnan on phone with Amma — there’s real India for you, a country of pestering mummies and momma’s boys.

Foreign born Bollywood starlet is singing something about “imported kamariya” and “India jaan le gayi”. Meanwhile, Pitobash and Emraan getting jiggy with it on the streets. It’s almost like the two poor men are expendable entertainment just like the item number starlet.

Emraan Hashmi’s good. Very unaffected, despite all the make-up etc.

Great use of reflections in the scene where Farooq Shaikh and Abhay D talk to the CM. Simple poetry of how the focus is not upon who they are but how they seem.

“You are who to accidented man?”

Shalini is saved on Jogi’s phone as DREEMGRL. These are the kind of details that make Dibakar Banerjee films so much fun.

This Bharat Nagar is a little bit like Westeros. There was some daylight earlier but as the film goes on, it’s always night.

All of Bollywood seems to be hurtling to the hinterlands. Or at least what they think is the hinterland. Dabanng, Singham, Ishaqzaade, Isquiya, etc etc.  they’re all among India’s great, rurban, unwashed masses. But Dibakar’s doesn’t feel fake and/or caricaturish. Of course, no one chooses to go into a South Indian small town or village. All these places must be north Indian. On the plus side, at least Dibakar has kept his unity-in-diversity spirit going with a South Indian hero.

“Arre toh wahan marna tha na, jahan light ho.” Yeah, no subtext there.

Of course there’s Ahmedi’s wife. What’s the bet she’ll have been his student?

Tillotoma Shome in bathroom — heartbreaking.

Bingo. Ahmedi’s wife was his student.

TS and KK scene — TS gets anger, disdain, contempt, pity across without any of KK’s crazy eyes. KK, on the other hand, just looks like she should be put in a straitjacket.

What’s scarier than waking up to a naked Prosenjit next to you?
A naked Prosenjit with a crushed skull.

How did Jogi see the driver? Well enough to recognise him days later?

Ok, WHAT the hell? Shalini going nuts beating the crap out of the van chap and maid. That’s just ridiculous.

Someone behind me: “Dude, she’s, like, mad” (while watching Kalki have her meltdown). Word.

No, don’t wipe the yellow besan off. Just sit there looking splattered in technicolor while talking about the trials of being a poor, helplessman, why don’t you? This is probably supposed to be some sort of mirror of the blood-splattered Kalki from before, but I’m sorry that meltdown was ridonkulous.

What kind of goons, in this day and age, don’t wreck the computer but do overturn lamp? Makes no sense.

So when Jogi was told about the tape before by Damle, he didn’t think of looking for it. Now it strikes him. How convenient. It would be a shame if he had an epiphany before the climax.

Not feeling so hot about this theory that a woman has to be in love with a guy to have any motivation to fight the good fight. Shalini loved Ahmedi so she persists with the investigation. His wife didn’t so she becomes a politician. Meanwhile, Jogi is doing it all without any personal motivation. He didn’t care about Ahmedi. He isn’t pushing to get his friend’s murder noticed by mentioning that he was killed just like Ahmedi was. So men can be selflessly idealistic but women need an emotional anchor? Screwed up.

Man but I love Farooq Shaikh. He’s such a fantastic actor. Paneer tikka scene at the end — he manages to bring in humour in this tense, brittle moment. Superb.

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4 thoughts on “Watching Shanghai”

  1. About your question- “How did Jogi see the driver?”. I don’t think the identity of driver was a secret to begin with (he was arrested on the night of the ‘incident’. So,most people knew who the driver was.) I liked the movie. Dibakar Banerjee is a director to watch out for. Great performance by the cast especially by Abhay Deol and Prosenjit. Climax sequence was really good( but I am not sure whether the BGM for that sequence is an original one. I think I have heard it in some other movie). One thing that struck me at the end was- even though the perpetrators of murder of Ahmadi were brought to justice but the cause for which Ahmadi fought was defeated.(I.B.P continued as usual though C.M and government was changed). To be honest, it is kind of a happy-sad ending.I am eagerly waiting for Gangs of wasseypur to hit the screens. I hope it is good too.

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