Reviews Round Up: The critics review for Shanghai have been extremely positive so far. Director Dibakar Banerjee is getting all the praise for making a real film which showcases probably the biggest problem in India – corruption. All the actors are being applauded for their sincere performance and Shanghai is being touted as Emraan Hashmi’s finest performance till date.
Here is a quick look at all the Shanghai reviews so far.
Total Reviews: 16
4.5 stars: 3
4 stars: 7
3.5 stars: 3
3 stars: 3
DNA 4.5 stars: 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. Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai walks the thin line between mainstream and meaningful cinema, and does so beautifully. The rare, well-deserving Rs100cr film? Who cares? There’s more to cinema than box office records and opening weekend numbers; Shanghai is the perfect example. Watch.
Koimoi 4.5 stars: 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. While the viewer is engrossed in the story, he identifies with the moral dilemmas that various characters face. What the script doesn’t allow them to do is to take sides, and in that it holds a mirror to the contemporary situation of the Indian state. More than this, the screenplay works at the plot level.
Sify 4.5 stars: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. Banerjee (Khosla Ka Ghosla, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, Love Sex Aur Dhokha) gives us a film that’s as much a biting political thriller as it is a comment on corruption and the concept of development. This is one of those rare films that is as pertinent as it is compelling. Cannot. Be. Missed!
Bollywood Hungama 4 stars: SHANGHAI is an affluent work of art by a master storyteller. Most significantly, it’s a film of our times. It evokes myriad emotions in you. It leaves you horrified, distressed… it may even make you livid. I’d go to the extent of pronouncing that SHANGHAI is one of the bravest and most commanding movies of this decade. A contemporary film about our times, our lives. It keeps you involved and concerned right from its inception to the harrowing culmination. This is not your usual Bollywood masala film, but a serious motion picture that has a voice, that makes you think, that makes a stunning impact. A must watch!
Rediff 4 stars: Banerjee’s genius has always been most visible in his meticulous detailing, and this latest film is expectedly crammed with beautiful nuance. A minister strikes poses alone ahead of a green screen, his droves of supporters to be chromakeyed in later. An opportunistic hoodlum takes English language classes, eager to score a job where he can wear a necktie. An IAS officer, in turn, warily slips his tie on only for meetings, and conducts his evening prayers with the help of a laptop. High-ranking policemen play badminton, and swarthy politicians jog on treadmills with assistants standing by holding water and snacks. And helpless indecision is expressed fantastically by a man twirling a paneer tikka, too worried to actually eat it. The little touches are smashing, fleshing out most of the characters and making them into more than words and actors.
Mid-Day 4 stars: Other than Kalki, whose girl-on-the-verge-of-nervous-breakdown kind of acting has become a little monotonous – also are pretty noteworthy. For starters, Prosenjit looks jaw-droppingly beautiful as a social activist. It is a pity that he isn’t around too much in the film. The actress playing his wife is also really talented, even in a bit role. Abhay is his usual restrained self, but you can tell the super-fine Madrasi accent he’s worked on so diligently. Emraan, of course, is the jack-in-the-box.
NDTV Movies 4 stars: 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. Shanghai projects the dark, dank, redolent-with-danger innards of small-town India to absolute perfection. The most striking aspect of Shanghai is its marvelous use of sound, both ambient and otherwise, to build up dramatic tension.
Zee News 4 stars: 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.
India Today 4 stars: Shanghai is an angry outburst packaged well with wry humour. It is the heartland political thriller that several among the Bollywood lot have tried to make lately but didn’t quite have the guts to. Just for that, this film is pure gold.
Glamsham 4 stars: 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. SHANGHAI is for the discerning viewers.
Rajeev Masand 3.5 stars: Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai is a crisp, take-no-prisoners drama about seeking justice in the complex landscape of the Indian democracy. The film benefits from the compelling performances of its cast and the director’s sharp eye for detail while narrating a simplistic, and at times predictable story that traces the inevitable nexus between Indian politics and crime. The grand revelation in the end is a tad underwhelming, and the big evidence far too conveniently acquired. Yet, Shanghai is consistently watchable despite these lapses.
Times Of India 3.5 stars: 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.
Daily Bhaskar 3.5 stars: 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.
First Post 3 stars: Shanghai is a film that echoes the times we are living in, in an India that seems to thrive on corruption and is driven by selfish greed, with no effort being made towards any constructive change whatsoever. The director, Dibakar, has captured that essence extremely well and it reflects in all aspects of the film – the cinematography, the characters, the language and the ensemble cast portraying the decaying system in the country.
Nowrunning 3 stars: 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. Performance-wise, even though the story doesn’t involve you much, the cast has done a supreme job.
Movie Talkies 3 stars: 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. If you are looking for a movie where the hero wins the day by sly manipulation rather than bashing up the bad guys with his bare fists, then Shanghai is the movie for you.