From the production house that gave blockbusters such as Love, Sex aur Dhokha, and Once upon a time in Mumbai, comes Shor in the City. Having done rounds of International Film Festivals and received positive acclaim plus some awards too, Shor releases at a time when the box-office is luke-warm owing to a lull due to cricket and subsequently no film for the past month being remotely successful. From the makers of averagely accepted films Flavors and 99, with Shor in the City, do directors Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK get third time lucky?
MUMBAI- inspiration, fascination, obsession for many of us. So many experiences to be told, so many tales in a single heartbeat. But in this city of dreams, where it’s believed there’s a little room for everyone, dreams come at a price. Every single one of them. The price being honesty, identity, love, perseverance, pride, or just plain moolah, anyone who wants to live his dream here, has to pay for it. Such is the case of Abhay (Sendhil Ramamurthy) NRI back to his homeland hoping to start a business but has to dole out extortion demands first. Or teenager Saawan (Sundeep Kishan) who has to warm the pockets of officials to ‘EARN’ a place in the junior cricket squad, and only then will he subsequently be able to marry girlfriend Sejal (Girija Oak), who has her own fight against arranged marriage, and avoid being paraded by her parents in front of strangers. Or the story of chindi chor (petty thieves) trio – Tilak (Tusshar Kapoor), Ramesh (Nikhil Dwivedi), Mandook (Pitobash Tripathy) who sell pirated novels, but one day set out to make a fortune, when they accidentally rob a bag of expensive ammunition. The three tracks run into each other during the course of the 10-day festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, the only possibly legitimate event for the city to break all norms of noise-pollution. And in true sense of the word, Chaos Begins!
As the posters have clearly established, the larger focus is on the male leads in the movie. It’s a two-way loyalty show, with the filmmakers having given every character adequate screen space, while every actor has justified their presence by giving stupendous performances. Sendhil (debuting in Hindi films is an established actor in UK and Hollywood: Heros and Its A Wonderful Afterlife), and Sundeep make applaud-worthy debuts, comfortable in their skin and being in character throughout. It adds extra zing as neither shows apprehensions of being newcomers, not trying too hard, yet maintaining fine balances in scenes separating professional and personal dilemmas. Tusshar, in a sober, pragmatic role (as last seen in 2007’s Shootout at Lokhandwala) is convincing. His restrained demeanor is pitch-perfect in the romance episode with Radhika Apte, which in my opinion is one of the most beautifully sketched in recent times, could have been ruined had it not been for the couple’s secure equation, which glows charmingly on-screen. Supporting ladies Preeti Desai (Sharmili), Girija have strong screen presence, but sadly not much to do. Despite being tough to choose one performance over the other, Pitobash is the undisputed winner, his eccentricities so endearing that you crave to see more and more scenes with him uttering wacky lines with utmost aplomb. The assortment of other cameos are brilliant, each a honest performer in their own right.
At the recently concluded FICCI Frames, in a session of debutants, comprising filmmakers Vikramaditya Motwane (Udaan), Abhishek Sharma (Tere Bin Laden), Kiran Rao (Dhobi Ghat), Habib Faisal (Do Dooni Chaar), Maneesh Sharma (Band Baaja Baaraat) and Karan Johar, an important point that was raised was that the industry followed a herd mentality when it came to themes and characterizations. What it meant was that if one particular story-line, genre or character became a hit, every ensuing film would follow the same track. With Shor.. I had similar reservations, as the broad narrative of ‘commoner struggling to get a foot-hold in the maximum city’ has been dealt with before in novels or celluloid. I wondered how different it could be and how innovative could the filmmakers get. Interestingly, directors/writers Raj Nidimoru, Krishna D.K. Along with Sita Menon use tact and soulful creativity, to weave a delightful account of human emotions with just the right blend of tension plus humor that it’s hard as a viewer to not be fascinated as well as amused in the same tones. There’s a delicate undertone of attention to detail by the filmmakers which is encouraging and no character here, is a typecast or caricature. Though some of us who’ve been part of this wild chaos called ‘Mumbai’ will sense a d