Planet Bollywood
Shor In The City
Producer: Ekta Kapoor Shobha Kapoor
Director: Raj Nidimoru Krishna D.K.
Starring: Tusshar Kapoor, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Preeti Desai, Pitabash Tripathy Nikhil Dwivedi, Radhika Apte, Sundeep Kishan, Girija Oak, Zakir Hussain
Music: Sachin-Jigar, Harpreet
Lyrics: Sameer and Priya Panchal
Genre: Drama
Recommended Audience: General
Film Released on: 28 April 2011
Reviewed by: Ankit Ojha  - Rating: 8.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.11 / 10 (rated by 410 viewers)
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The barrage of quality entertainment has begun! With Dum Maaro Dum giving the movie-lovers some superhot dumdaar entertainment, and I AM being yet another quality competition this week from maverick director Onir, directors Krishna DK and Raj Nidimoru are back with yet another film post the terrific comedy 99 that became the talk of the town during the dry spell in the 2009 producer-multiplex standoff.

Shor in the City – one film that promises to deliver power-packed entertainment that doesn’t insult the intelligence of the viewer. With this being the duo’s third film itself (anybody remember Flavors?), they’ve already carved a niche of doing something hatke throughout, which makes the expectation level pretty high. Also, the banner producing this film has already carved a niche of doing something crazy almost everytime they come up with a new product (Love Sex Aur Dhoka and Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai being testimony to this statement of mine), and the combination does sound deadly enough for us to expect something a cut above the usual churn of Bollywood movies of late.

Shor in the City is different for so many reasons. Firstly, it’s the only non-Golmaal Tusshar Kapoor film that shows promise. Secondly, it doesn’t seem “inspired”; if that’s what rip-offs are called these days. Lastly, it comes with a decent soundtrack for a gritty film that has a couple of tracks having replay value. Does it retain the promise to be different, or was it just a promotional gimmick? Read on to find out.

Set in a linear fashion, Shor talks about the Ganesh Chaturthi and the situation five men face in the days that pass between the celebration and the dissolution of the idol. Tilak (Tusshar Kapoor), in the pirated publishing business has just married Sapna (Radhika Apte), and starts reading Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. Abhay (Sendhil Ramamurthy) returns from the States to Mumbai to start afresh from his past, wanting to start a small-time business. On his arrival he encounters goons who start threatening him with his newfound love, Sharmila’s (Preeti Desai) life. Mandook (Pitobash Tripathy) and Ramesh (Nikhil Dwivedi) (Tilak’s friends), get a job offer from a politico Tipu to rob a smalltime bank, the money of which would go to Sawan, who is in dire need of money to fund himself for getting himself into the regional team. Each needs to get past their demons to deal with life. Many guns, bombs, torn lives and spontaneous decisions later, do the people fight with their inner demons?

As I’ve stated before, if you have a solid story with a well-woven screenplay, your film acquires immediate appreciation. Here, aside from the technically commendable product, the viewers get to milk every penny’s worth with the terrific storyline, having a very watertight screenplay by DK, Nidimoru and Sita Menon. This along with the terrific execution by the director-duo finding a connect with the multiple problems of the lower-class adrenaline hungry crooks, achievement hungry middle-class and the higher middle-class trying to make it big with a small business, but finding it difficult due to circumstances posed by the local goons.

Each story has very strong characters, be it of Tusshar Kapoor’s fil-oa-soa-fee that he finds from The Alchemist, or even of Abhay trying to deal with his inner demons of an unclear past. Also important is Sundeep Kishan’s character Sawan and the chaos in his mind, torn between the evil ideas he concocts to fulfill the bribe requirements to get into the regional cricket team, and silently watching his girlfriend being forced to marry someone she doesn’t like. Each character has a certain depth not seen in a Bollywood movie in a pretty long time, with immense detailing on first person, so that we as the audience are put into the character’s shoes, with what they feel and what they want, so much so that even if they’re evil, we sympathize with them. What I like about each character is the customized happy (?) endings they get by the movie’s slightly disturbing, slightly firm end.

Technically, the movie’s top-notch. Camerawork by Tushar Kanti Ray captures a lot of explicitly detailed close-ups, whilst also experimenting with steadicam operators and handheld camerawork in instances, and I must here also credit the storyboard artist and the cinematographer. Editing is mind-blowing, helping the movie to attain it’s gritty, fast-paced feel. Music and background score are top-notch as Sachin-jigar try out different flavors of music to dish us some really zany, some really mushy songs. The titles remind me of DK-Nidimoru’s previous 99, as they’ve successfully used outdoors and motion tracking of the titles. Visual effects and color grading are commendable.

Every movie starring Tusshar Kapoor as one of the leads is met with extreme skepticism because apparently, when he’s not doing the dumb act in the Golmaal franchise, he doesn’t impress. What people don’t notice in the midst of all the wrong choices he has made in life are the underrated performances he has given in movies like Khakee, Life Partner and Shootout at Lokhandwala. Here too he shines like never before in a role he’s dug into with glee. Sendhil Ramamurthy is already known about so much from the American television series Heroes that we already know what a performer he is. Yet I’ll still say that he’s both a natural and a charmer. Radhika Apte appears in bits and spurts, but she’s sure to make you fall in love with her simplicity and her subtle smile. Preeti Desai looks confident, but from my perspective she didn’t have to play anything challenging either. Pitabash Tripathy as Mandook is funny, and his jokes and antics make you laugh hard. Nikhil Dwivedi does a good job, and one’s now more than willing to forget him for My Name is Anthony Gonzalves. Zakir Hussain goes about his role like a fish in water. Others are terrific too.

To conclude Shor in the City is neither your typical mushy romance, nor the hardcore masala you’re looking for, but something completely different from either of them. The best part about the film is that you end up relishing each and every bit of the film, the characters, their problems, and the city they live in : Mumbai, the city of dreams (very well captured in four more films I remember as of yet – Bluffmaster!, Anand, Aamir and Wake Up S!d). This is neither your India-is-poor-and-tragic drama, nor is it a we’re-rich-and-we-don’t-have-problems drama. Instead, it’s a drama focusing on each person’s inner problems and traumas, and their own small solutions. Do yourself a favor and watch this film, a tribute to Mumbai like never before!

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