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“What is any good film without the extreme reactions it sparks? What’s any bad film without the guilty pleasures it gives?” said Peddlers director Vasan Bala after watching the debate around Shanghai. So many of us loved it, and a surprisingly big number hated it. Surprisingly because it’s a Dibakar Banerjee film. The man who reinvents himself every time, makes films so technically brilliant and well-detailed that rest of Hindi film industry must feel like Salieri in front of him, whose films are at that rare edge of feel-good and feel-bad and has not yet seen many bad reviews for his 3 earlier films.

While we wait for a long juicy post from someone who hated the film, (here’s a medium-sized one by Bikas Mishra on Dear Cinema), Varun Grover, writes one on why he loved it. Debate is still open though.

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नोट: इस लेख में कदम-कदम पर spoilers हैं. बेहतर यही होगा कि फिल्म देख के पढ़ें. (हाँ, फिल्म देखने लायक है.) आगे आपकी श्रद्धा.

मुझे नहीं पता मैं लेफ्टिस्ट हूँ या राइटिस्ट. मेरे दो बहुत करीबी, दुनिया में सबसे करीबी, दोस्त हैं. एक लेफ्टिस्ट है एक राइटिस्ट. (वैसे दोनों को ही शायद यह categorization ख़ासा पसंद नहीं.) जब मैं लेफ्टिस्ट के साथ होता हूँ तो undercover-rightist होता हूँ. जब राइटिस्ट के साथ होता हूँ तो undercover-leftist. दोनों के हर तर्क को, दुनिया देखने के तरीके को, उनकी political understanding को, अपने अंदर लगे इस cynic-spray से झाड़ता रहता हूँ. दोनों की समाज और राजनीति की समझ बहुत पैनी है, बहुत नयी भी. अपने अपने क्षेत्र में दोनों शायद सबसे revolutionary, सबसे संजीदा विचार लेकर आयेंगे. और बहुत हद तक मेरी अपनी राजनीतिक समझ ने भी इन दोनों दोस्तों से घंटों हुई बातों के बाद भस्म होकर पुनर्जन्म लिया है. मैं अब हर बड़े मुद्दे (अन्ना, inflation, मोदी, कश्मीर, और काम की फिल्मों) पर उनके विचार जानने की कोशिश करता हूँ. और बहुत कन्फ्यूज रहता हूँ. क्योंकि अब मेरे पास हर सच के कम से कम दो version होते हैं. क्योंकि आज के इस दौर में हर सच के कम से कम दो version मौजूद हैं.

इस अजब हालात की बदौलत मैं हर चीज़ को दो नज़रियों से देखता हूँ, देख पाता हूँ. अक्सर ना चाहते हुए भी. यह दिव्य-शक्ति मुझे मेरा political satire शो (जय हिंद) लिखने में बहुत मदद करती है लेकिन मेरी बाकी की ज़िंदगी हराम हो गयी है. अब मैं किसी एक की साइड नहीं ले सकता. (मुझे याद है बचपन में मैं और मेरा छोटा भाई क्रिकेट के फ़ालतू मैचों में भी, जैसे कि जिम्बाब्वे बनाम श्रीलंका, अपनी अपनी साइड चुन लेते थे. इससे मैच का मज़ा कई गुना बढ़ जाता था. और देखने का एक मकसद मिलता था.) और साइड न ले सकना बहुत बड़ा श्राप है.

यह सब इसलिए बता रहा हूँ क्योंकि शांघाई में भी ऐसे ही ढेर सारे सच हैं. यह आज के शापित समय की कहानी है. ढेर सारे Conflicting सच जो पूरी फिल्म में एक दूसरे से बोतल में बंद जिन्नों की तरह आपस में टकराते रहते हैं. आज के हिंदुस्तान की तरह, आप इस फिल्म में भी किसी एक की साइड नहीं ले सकते. उस डॉक्टर अहमदी की नहीं जो अमेरिका में प्रोफेसरी कर रहे हैं और अपने लेफ्टिस्ट विचारों से एक बस्ती के आंदोलन को हवा देने चार्टर्ड फ्लाईट पकड़ के आते हैं. वो जो निडर हैं और सबसे नीचे तबके के हक की बात बोलते हैं लेकिन सच में आज तक एक भी displaced को rehabilitate नहीं कर पाए हैं.

डॉक्टर अहमदी की बीच चौक में हुई हत्या (सफ़दर हाशमी?) जिसे एक्सीडेंट साबित करना कोई मुश्किल काम नहीं, जगाता है उनकी पूर्व-छात्रा और प्रेमिका शालिनी को. लेकिन आप शालिनी की भी साइड नहीं ले सकते क्योंकि वो एक अजीब से idealism में जीती है. वो idealism जो ढेर सी किताबें पढ़ के, दुनिया देखे बिना आता है. वो idealism जो अक्सर छात्रों में होता है, तब तक जब तक नौकरी ढूँढने का वक्त नहीं आ जाता.

शालिनी का idealism उसको अपनी कामवाली बाई की बेटी को पढाने के लिए पैसे देने को तो कहता है लेकिन कभी उसके घर के अंदर नहीं ले जाता. और इसलिए जब शालिनी पहली बार अपनी बाई के घर के अंदर जाती है तो उसकी टक्कर एक दूसरी दुनिया के सच से होती है और शालिनी को उस सच पे हमला करना पड़ता है. उसकी किताबें कोने में धरी रह जाती हैं और वार करने के लिए हाथ में जो आता है वो है खाने की एक थाली. Poetically देखें तो, दुनिया का अंतिम सच.

हम middle-class वालों के लिए सबसे आसान जिसकी साइड लेना है वो है IAS अफसर कृष्णन. उसे अहमदी की मौत की रपट बनाने के लिए one-man enquiry commission का चीफ बनाया गया है. (“हमारे देश में ऐसे कमीशन अक्सर बैठते हैं. फिर लेट जाते हैं. और फिर सो जाते हैं.”, ऐसा मैंने देहरादून में १९८९ में एक कवि सम्मेलन में सुना था.) कृष्णन IIT का है. IITs देश की और इस फिल्म की आखिरी उम्मीद हैं. अगर इन्साफ मिला तो कृष्णन ही उसे लाएगा. लेकिन अंत आते आते कृष्णन का इन्साफ भी बेमानी लगने लगता है. वो दो चोरों में से एक को ही पकड़ सकता है. एक चोर को इस्तेमाल कर के दूसरे को पकड़ सकता है. कौन सा चोर बड़ा है यह ना हम जानते हैं ना वो. और पकड़ भी क्या सकता है, इशारा कर सकता है कि भई ये चोर है इसे पकड़ लो. उसे हिंदुस्तान की कछुआ-छाप अदालतें पकड़ेंगी या नहीं इसपर सट्टा लगाया जा सकता है. (आप किसपर सट्टा लगाएंगे? बोफोर्स मामले में किसी पे लगाया था कभी?) कृष्णन का इन्साफ एक मरीचिका है. जैसे बाकी का shining India और उसके IIT-IIM हैं. (एक लाइन जो फिल्म के ट्रेलर में थी लेकिन फाइनल प्रिंट में नहीं – कृष्णन की कही हुई- ‘सर जस्टिस का सपना मैंने छोड़ दिया है .’)

शांघाई के बाकी किरदार भी इतने ही flawed हैं. इतने ही उलझे हुए. (शायद इसीलिए Comedy Circus को अपनी आत्मा बेचे हुए हमारे देश को यह फिल्म समझ ही नहीं आ रही.) लेकिन इन सब के बावजूद शांघाई एक serious फिल्म नहीं है. Depressing है, डरावनी भी…लेकिन उतनी ही जितना कोई भी well-written political satire होता है. दो हिस्सा ‘जाने भी दो यारों’ में एक हिस्सा ‘दो बीघा ज़मीन’ घोली हुई. ’दो बीघा ज़मीन’ से थोड़ी ज़्यादा भयावह… ‘जाने भी दो यारों’ से काफी ज़्यादा tongue in cheek. (‘जाने भी दो यारों’ से कुछ और धागे भी मिलते हैं. Politician-builder lobby, एक हत्या, अधमने पत्रकार, ह्त्या की जाँच, और एक अंतिम दृश्य जो कह दे ‘यहाँ कुछ नहीं हो सकता.’)

दिबाकर की नज़र

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दिबाकर बनर्जी को बहुत से लोग हमारे समय का सबसे intellectual फिल्म-मेकर मानते हैं. वैसे मेरे हिसाब से intellectual आज के समय की सबसे भद्र गाली है लेकिन जो मानते हैं वो शायद इसलिए मानते हैं कि उनके अलावा कोई और है ही नहीं जो कहानी नहीं, concepts पर फिल्म बना रहा हो. दिबाकर की दूसरी फिल्म ‘ओए लक्की लक्की ओए’ देखने वाले बहुतों को लगा कि कहानी नहीं थी. या कहानी पूरी नहीं हुई. हाल ही में प्रकाशित ‘शहर और सिनेमा वाया दिल्ली’ के लेखक मिहिर पंड्या के शब्दों में “‘ओए लक्की..’ शहरी नागरिक समाज की आलोचना है. इस समाज की आधुनिकता की परिभाषा कुछ इस तरह गढ़ी गयी है कि उसमें हाशिए का व्यक्ति चाह कर भी शामिल नहीं हो पाता.”

उनकी पिछली फिल्म ‘लव, सेक्स, और धोखा’ voyeursim को तीन दिशाओं से छुप के देखती एक चुपचाप नज़र थी. यानी कि voyeurism पर एक voyeuristic नज़र.

अब आप बताइये, आज कल के किस और निर्देशक की फिल्मों को इस तरह के सटीक concepts पे बिछाया जा सकता है? और क्योंकि वो concepts पर फिल्में बनाते हैं इसलिए उनकी हर फिल्म एक नयी दुनिया में घुसती है, एक नया genre पकडती है.

लेकिन उनकी जो बात सबसे unique है वो है उनकी detailing. शर्तिया उनके level की detailing पूरे हिंदुस्तान के सिनेमा में कोई नहीं कर रहा. उनके satire की चाबी भी वहीँ है. बिना दो-पैसा farcical हुए भी वो सर्वोच्च दर्ज़े का satire लाते हैं. Observation इतना तगड़ा होता है, और इतनी realistic detailing के साथ आता है कि वही satire बन जाता है. और शांघाई में ऐसे observations किलो के भाव हैं. कुछ मासूम हैं और कुछ morbid, लेकिन सब के सब effortless.

स्टेज शो में चल रहे Item song का एक नेता जी की entry पर रुक जाना, और item girl का झुक कर नेता को नमस्ते करना, कृष्णन का अपने laptop पर भजन चलाकर पूजा करना, चीफ मिनिस्टर के कमरे के बाहर बिना जूतों के जुराबें पहन कर बैठे इंतज़ार करता IAS अफसर और कमरे में जाते हुए रास्ते में एक कोने में पड़े गिफ्ट्स के डब्बों का अम्बार, सुबह gym और शाम को हलवे-पनीर की दावत  की रोजाना साइकल में उलझा सत्ता का एक प्रतिनिधि, तराजू पर मुफ्त में बांटे जाने वाले laptops से तुलता एक ज़मीनी नेता, हस्पताल में अपने मरते हुए प्रोफेसर को देख बिफरी सी शालिनी के चिल्लाने पर नर्स का कहना ‘आपको fighting करना है तो बाहर जाकर कीजिये’, अंग्रेजी स्पीकिंग कोर्स की क्लास में दीवार पर मूँछ वाले सुपरमैन की पेन्टिंग, एक पूरी बस्ती ढहा देने के पक्ष में lobbying कर रहे दल का नारा ‘जय प्रगति’ होना, अपने टेम्पो से एक आदमी को उड़ा देने के बाद भी टेम्पो वाले को दुनिया की सबसे बड़ी फ़िक्र ये होना कि उसका टेम्पो पुलिस से वापस मिलेगा या नहीं – यह सब हमारे सुगन्धित कीचड़ भरे देश के छींटे ही हैं.

दिबाकर के पास वो cynical नज़र है जो हमें अपने सारे flaws के साथ अधनंगा पकड़ लेती है और थोड़ा सा मुस्कुरा कर परदे पर भी डाल देती है. शांघाई के एक-एक टूटे फ्रेम से हमारे देश का गुड-मिश्रित-गोबर रिस रहा है. आप इसपर हँस सकते हैं, रो सकते हैं, या जैसा ज्यादातर ने किया – इसे छोड़ के आगे बढ़ सकते हैं यह कहते हुए कि ‘बड़ी complicated पिच्चर है यार.’

फिल्म की आत्मा

जग्गू और भग्गू इस फिल्म की आत्मा होने के लिए थोड़े अजीब किरदार हैं. इन दोनों ने सिर्फ पैसों के लिए उस आदमी को अपने टेम्पो के नीचे कुचल दिया जो असल में उन्हीं की लड़ाई लड़ रहा था. और उसके मरने के बाद भी कम से कम भग्गू को तो कोई अफ़सोस नहीं है. उसे बस यही चिंता है कि जग्गू मामा जेल से कब छूटेगा और उन्हें उनका टेम्पो वापस कब मिलेगा.

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ऐसे morally खोखले प्राणी इस फिल्म की आत्मा हैं. और यही इस फिल्म का मास्टर-स्ट्रोक भी है. फिल्म इन्हीं से शुरू होती है, और इनपर ही खत्म होती है. पहले सीन में भग्गू अपने मामा जग्गू से पूछ रहा है कि मटन को अंग्रेजी में क्या कहते हैं. उसने सुना है कि मिलिट्री में लड़ाई पे जाने से पहले मटन खिलाया जाता है. उसके इस सवाल का अर्थ थोड़ी देर में समझ आता है. प्रोफेसर अहमदी को मारने के काम को भग्गू युद्ध से कम नहीं मान रहा, और इसलिए वो मटन की सोच रहा है. वो एक कोचिंग में अंग्रेजी भी सीख रहा है, ताकि इस गुरबत की ज़िंदगी से बाहर निकले. कहाँ, उसे नहीं पता, पर बाहर कुछ तो होगा शायद ये धुंधला ख्याल उसके दिमाग में है. लेकिन अंग्रेजी सीख रहा है इसलिए भी मटन की अंग्रेजी सोच रहा है. (संवादों में इस detailing का जादू दिबाकर के अलावा किसकी फिल्म में दिखता है? और इसके लिए फिल्म की सह-लेखिका उर्मी जुवेकर को भी सलाम.)

भग्गू फिल्म में (और देश में) दिखने वाले हर उग्र aimless युवा का representative है. हर उस भीड़ का collective face जो भंडारकर ओरिएंटल रिसर्च इंस्टीट्यूट में घुसकर तोड़फोड़ करती है क्योंकि किसी ने उन्हें कह दिया है कि शिवाजी के खिलाफ लिखी गयी किताब की रिसर्च यहीं हुई थी. भग्गू को नहीं जानना है शिवाजी कौन थे, या किताब में उनपर क्या बुरा लिखा गया था. उसे बस तेज़ी से दौड़ती इस भीड़ में अपना हिस्सा चाहिए. उसे दुनिया के शोर में अपनी आवाज़ चाहिए. उसे थोड़े पैसे चाहिए और कुछ पलों के लिए यह एहसास चाहिए कि वो कुछ ऐतेहासिक कर रहा है. किसी म्यूजियम या पेंटिंग exhibition पर हमला करना, किसी किताबों की दुकान जला देना, किसी पर ट्रक चढ़ा देना…सब ऐतेहासिक है, और भग्गू ये सब करेगा. क्योंकि भग्गू वैसे भी क्या ही कर रहा है?

जग्गू मामा थोड़ा बूढा है. वो शायद जवानी में भग्गू जैसा ही था. लेकिन अब वो दौर गुज़र गया. अब वो बोलता नहीं. लेकिन वो मना भी नहीं करता. फिल्म की सबसे यादगार लाइन में, शालिनी के हाथों बेहिसाब पिटने के बाद और ये पूछे जाने के बाद कि ‘तुम्हें शर्म नहीं आई सबके सामने एक आदमी को मारते हुए?’, जग्गू कहता है – ‘आपने भी तो मारा मुझे. मेरी बेटी के सामने. मैने आपका क्या कर लिया?’ जग्गू सर्वहारा है. जग्गू ‘पीपली लाइव’ के बाद एक बार फिर प्रेमचंद के ‘गोदान’ का होरी महतो है. जग्गू को हर सुबह अपना ही घर तोडना है और रात में उसे बनाना है. क्योंकि उसी में बाकी की दुनिया का फायदा है.

बाकी की फिल्म…

बाकी की फिल्म में ढेर सारे और किरदार हैं…हमारे आस-पास से निकले हुए. जात के बाहर शादी ना कर पाया, जोधपुर से भागा एक लड़का है, जो अभी चीज़ें समझ ही रहा है. प्रोफेसर अहमदी की बीवी है जो फिल्म के अंत में एक hording पर नज़र आती है और कालचक्र का एक चक्र पूरा करती है, IAS अफसर कृष्णन का बॉस है जो बिलकुल वैसा है जैसा हम आँख बंद कर के सोच सकते हैं. और हमेशा की तरह दिबाकर बनर्जी के कास्टिंग डायरेक्टर अतुल मोंगिया का चुनाव हर रोल के लिए गज़ब-फिट है.

इतनी अद्भुत कास्टिंग है कि फिल्म का realism का वादा आधा तो यूँ ही पूरा हो जाता है. इमरान हाशमी तक से वो काम निकाला गया है कि आने वाली पुश्तें हैरान फिरेंगी देख कर. फारुख शेख (जिनका ‘चश्मे बद्दूर’ का एक फोटो मेरे डेस्कटॉप पर बहुत दिनों से लगा हुआ है), कलकी, तिलोत्तमा शोम, पितोबाश, और अभय देओल ने अपने-अपने किरदार को अमृत पिलाया है अमृत. लेकिन सबसे कमाल रहे अनंत जोग (जग्गू मामा) और सुप्रिया पाठक कपूर (मुख्य मंत्री). अनंत जोग, जिनके बारे में वासन बाला ने इंटरवल में कहा कि ‘ये तो पुलिस कमिश्नर भी बनता है तो छिछोरी हरकतें करता है’ इस फिल्म में किसी दूसरे ही प्लेन पर थे. इतनी ठहरी हुई, खोई आँखें ही चाहिए थीं फिल्म को मुकम्मल करने को. और सुप्रिया पाठक, जो पूरी फिल्म में hoardings और banners से दिखती रहीं अंत में सिर्फ एक ३-४ मिनट के सीन के लिए दिखीं लेकिन उसमें उन्होंने सब नाप लिया. बेरुखी, formality, shrewdness, controlled relief…पता नहीं कितने सारे expressions थे उस छोटे से सीन में.

जाते जाते…

फिल्म में कुछ कमजोरियां हैं. खास कर के अंत के १०-१५ मिनट जल्दी में समेटे हुए लगते हैं, और कहीं थोड़े से compromised भी. लेकिन अगर इसे satire की नज़र से देखा जाए तो वो भी बहुत अखरते नहीं. बाकी बहुतों को पसंद नहीं आ रही…और जिन्हें नहीं आ रही, उनसे कोई शिकायत नहीं. क्योंकि जैसा कि मेरे दो मित्रों ने मुझे सिखाया है – सच के कम से कम दो version तो होते ही हैं.

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Comments
  1. Deepak says:

    bahut khoob varun saaab.maine movie nahi dekhi.ahi plot point skip karte karte pada.bahut hi umda pehle 3 paragraph.aur likha kariye mfc par.

  2. prince shah says:

    bahut pyaara.. film bhi bahut gehri thi aur yeh post bhi 🙂 achcha laga khoob anand aaya padhkar 🙂 bahut saari cheeze maine pakdi nahin thi do baar dekhne ke baad bhi yeh padhkar bahut kuch seekhne mila 🙂 thanks

  3. Asmit Pathare says:

    Bahut badhiya likha hain Varun bhaiya. Kal hi dekhi. Aapke likhe hue saare points film mein khud notice karne ke baawajud aur unse sehmat hone ke baawajud, kahin, kisi wajah se film mujh tak pahunchi nahi. Maine jo koshish ki us tak pahunchne ki woh bhi nakaam rahi. Bahut se log Dibakar ki detailing ki tareef kar rahe hain aur woh waaqai kaabil-e-taarif hain. Par phir bhi ek kasak si mehsus hoti hain film ke khatm hone par, kuch baaki baaki sa lagta hain. Par iski wajah film nahi hain, yeh woh victorious khaalipan ki feeling nahi hain ke ‘yahin to aim hain is film ka ke tumhe khaalipan ka ehsaas ho’. Nahi. Yeh khaalipan as a filmmaker feel hota hain. Ke yaar yeh kahi aur aage tak pahuncha sakti thi humein. Yeh to aisi lagi jaise Dravid ne apna sabse sundar square drive khelte khelte achanak apna bat recoil kar liya, force hi nikal liya aur gend pitch mein hi dhas gayi.

    • थोड़ा खालीपन मुझे भी लगा था. लास्ट के १५ मिनट सच में underwhelming लगे. लेकिन बाद में जब लिखने बैठा तो इतना कुछ मिल गया कि सब compensate हो गया.

  4. desipsycho says:

    bahut hi gehra review..aur likha kijiye MFC par.

  5. vivgup says:

    बहुत बढ़िया post.
    Bikas Mishra का भी review पढ़ा. ज़रूरी नहीं हर वो फिल्म जो हमें पसंद आये, सब को आये. उन्हें यह कहना का पूरा हक भी है. पर Baradwaj Ranjan के कुछ शब्द चुराते हुए कहूँगा की चाहे किसी को यह फिल्म memorable न लगी हो, अगर उसे इस फिल में भरपूर memorable filmmaking नहीं दिखी तो फिर उसे फ़िल्में बनाने का हक हो न हो, review करने का तो कतई नहीं है.

  6. Kushal K Shah says:

    Nice post detailed review.I missed the first scene of the film.
    I think this film will be like Dil se.few years down the line it will be considered the best film to have come out.Bollywood audience ki utni aukad kaha ki wo aise film dekhe aur samjhe.

    BTW,can anyone let me know what do you mean by Salieri?

  7. SAdhu says:

    Varun saheb..
    log zindagi bhar ek sach ke peeche hi daudte rehte hain,..aapke paas toh do hain.. !!!!

  8. praneet says:

    Kabhi DB ki kabiliyit par kisi ko shaq nahi hai lekin unka jo style hai ke koi aadmi Black aur white nahin hai, OLLO aur LSD mein saaf pata laga..Shanghai mein jo detailing thi wo character related nahi hai, weak story aur characterisation par paint brush kiya hai…us North Indian/middle class ka satire dikhana jahan se aap hai mujhe sateek laga, lekin poori political class, bureaucrats, NGOs par satire maarna (poore sammaan ke saath kehna chahoonga) unki aur kisi ki bhi aukaat ke baahar tha…un concepts par film likhna jahan par aap akele aur pehle aadmi hai courageous hai par wahan se macro level pe jahan bahut kaam pahle bhi hua hai aasaan nahi..
    OLLO mein Lucky ka character full fledged tha, Lucky ke character ki developemnt samjhaane ke saath uske aas paas walo ko samjhana aasaan ho gaya, yahan mujhe samajh hi nahi aaya ke kis character ke saath identify karke uske nazariye se dekhoon..kalki, Abhay, Emran yeh kisi ek ki picture nahi thi..jab tak audince identify karega tab tak aap ki story khatam ho legi..this is simple writing 101, sab underdevloped lage, jitna zyada screen time jisko mila wo utna bada conflicted character laga..
    Story ki jagah concepts aur ideas par film banana bahut mushkil aur kabile taarif baat hai par IIT IIM ki coaching ke time teachers ek acchi baat yeh bhi bolte hai ke bete bade concepts ko chhote concepts me tod ke samjho, samajh mein aa jayega aur yaad rahega..and this thing has nothing to do with dumbing down the concepts..

    • Yes Praneet…you have many valid points there. पर कोई भी central character ना होना मुझे नहीं खला. तुम्हें खला, ये ज़ाहिर है, और शायद और भी बहुतों को खला होगा.

      • praneet says:

        yaar kisi ek central character ki baat nahi hai, koi intersting leading characters hi nahi the. 2 minute ke role ko to sahi kill kar liya, Kalki ke role ka kya karoon, Abhay deol ke accent se dhyaan kaise hataon, Jogi ke daanto ko ignore kaise karoon.. I’m not as politically aware and observant, but I should not be troubled too much to decipher ki kitna character screen par aaya hai aur kitna director, writer ke dimaag ke andar hi rah gaya..Oye Lucky was a strong character study even without the detailing, this wasn’t and maybe using a foreign 1960’s movie as base material stripped the movie of becoming more “interesting” and satisfying..

        • Hmmm. ‘Let’s agree to disagree’ bol ke katha samaapt karni hogi phir filhaal. Hope DB could respond to some of the queries here.

        • kartik krishnan says:

          मुझे हर किसी से ek sense of identification मिला. चाहे कल्कि (रईस और privileged वर्ग का दूसरों पे मेहेरबान इंसान जो अपने बाप के कुकर्मो को विरासत में झेलने का प्रयशचित, आहमेदी और social work के चक्कर में पड़ के करती है), जोगी (फटू चूतिया जिसके चूतिया बनने की वजह काफ़ी है), आम आदमी का भगवान पर सरकार के आगे भीकमांगा, जो तंग आ के कटोरी फेंक देता है – कृष्णन, चाहे अनंत जोग – जिसके माथे पे मजबूरी की रेखा बचपन से छपी हुई है, अहमदी – जो भले ही ग़रीबों के मसीहा है लेकिन उतने ही ‘शाना’ जितने उनके विरोधक) – हर इंसान Jake La Motta का cousin दिखा, और उसी लिहाज़ से मेरा दूर और नज़दीक के बीच का रिश्तेदार …
          Btw – nice post,

          • praneet says:

            There are no heroes here,, yeh DB ka style hai, par none of the characters were as broadly defined(at least in the movie) as per your interpretation..kaafi subjective aur personal hote hai yeh intrepretations waise bhi but maybe I have been spoilt by the detailing of lucky’s character in OLLO. The scene when Abhay and Neetu Chandra are sitting in the car and Abhay shows some daredevilery by driving the car, was such a mind blowing piece of writing, told a lot through very little about the girl and the guy.. Here i missed something like that for three leads..

  9. moifightclub says:

    Brilliant post!
    Liked the film a lot. Great detailing. As expected from DB. But politics was for dummies. No new insight. Nothing new, all that we have seen, read, know it all. Or may be because with so much corruption these days, we know about it all. There is nothing new to be revealed.

    • I don’t think even the politics was for dummies. The broad-strokes were yes, but the finer strokes, so many of them were new. When did we see a book shop being burnt in Hindi cinema? When did we see a character which is a mix of Arundhati Roy, Medha Patkar, and Amartya Sen? And still non-caricaturish. A green-screen photo-session of a politician for banners, an inquiry commission, the insides of a CM’s house? All done with so much realism as opposed to the standard Prakash-Jhaism.

      In fact, I don’t even recall a Hindi film which has a character who passed-out from ‘IIT’. So much of it was a first for Hindi cinema.

  10. Vimal C Pandey says:

    this is the best piece on Shanghai…going to spread it more and more..Thx Varun

  11. jhonmoy says:

    koi film aayi, jispar kisine likha, aur achchha likha.

    hite ya pite. kaafi hai :]

  12. swadesh says:

    वरुण, तुम्हें लिखते समय बहुत कुछ मिल गया औऱ मुझे पढ़ते समय…:)

  13. I think the best takeaway from Shanghai is the character of Abhay Deol.
    A well educated, intelligent man who just wants a better life and a plum posting. But he is damn good at any job he takes up seriously. And he is not made an IITian for no reason. Thats how most of the IITians are. Most want just good money and a good life, but give them something in which they start believing in and you will be surprised by the kind of effort that he or she puts in. Night out after night outs with a single minded pursuit of a solution. Most of times the effort ends in a big zero, but ask any such person the greatest achievement of their life and they will mention about those relentless pursuits, irrespective of the end result.
    People are getting gung ho about Emran, but I just could not connect with him. For me, Krishnan is a hero.

  14. Sumit Singh says:

    aadarniya varun gobar ji
    saadar pranam
    aapne dibakar ki taarif ki puul baandh di!chalo theek. mera prashn aapse yeh hai, ki reality ki tasveer dikha kar kisko kya milne waala hai? aapko sayad maalum naa ho america jaise mahaan desh ki neev ithihaas se sabse bade genocide par rakhi gayi thi.50 million red indians were butchered by the goras….only then the dream of new world was realized. the process of nation building is inherently a criminal process, aur kavi aur cynics log medhak ki tarah tarr tarr karte rahein lekin usse kuch badalne waala nahi hai. and if u look deep… badalna chahiye bhi nahi. apni apni dukaan chalate hain yeh filmmakers …in the name of art. agar america mein yeh genocide nahi hota toh yeh duniya aaj bhi doh sau saal peeche rehti.agar america aur russia ke beech cold war na hua hota toh space ships…aur communication revolution nahi hote. agar bharat mein angrezo ka saashan na hota toh mahatma gaandhi naa paida liye hota. reality is deeply contradictory.i dont understand what these artists want to achieve in the name of art? meri nazar mein art is a fart.just imagine if u compare the scale of genocide in america….before it …people like hitler and stalin will appear to be petty offenders!how many films have been made on this issue?jabki naazi germany pe darzanoo filme bani hain…..
    mera kehna hai…jo geeta mein likha hai…..jo ho raha hai..acha ho raha hai,jo hoga acha hoga,,etc etc….ish tarah ki bakwaas filme ..which claims to mirror the reality and pain of india r not needed.when u make these kinds of films,by implication u want to say…look this is the fucked up reality…..but there can be a perfect world.u dont offer solutions but u raise questions.lekin what is the need?there is noooo solution and life is inherently fucked up..and good things in life comes from this process of getting fucked up(the america genocide example) lekin artists ko yeh manzoor nahi,unka kaam ungli karna hai,aur logon ko behkaana hai..at the end of the day what matters is …is that yu have a shop….and u sell films…..thats the reality.and thankfully rowdy rathore fucked shanghai…..thats the reality!

    • Its just an opinion Sumit ji.. Varun has a right to an opinion on Shanghai and Dibaker. I think every “gobar” who has seen the movie has a right to an opinion too…You dont agree with Varun- fine. You dont agree with Dibaker on Shanghai- that’s fine too. But I dont think you or anyone else has the right to dictate – what should be done and what should not be done. You didn’t like this movie – go ahead and criticize it. But why target someone for having liked Shanghai..

      P.S. – I didnt much like Shanghai except for the character of Abhay Deol..

    • yaar likhne ke liye kuch bhi chutiyapa likh rahe ho kya bahisahab? I would like you to substantiate the claim that “50 million” native americans were “butchered”. Statistics ki maa behen mat karo. Secondly, agar aapne native americans par movies nahi dekhi iska matlab yeh nahi hai ki bani hi nahi.

  15. miHir says:

    फ़िल्म मुश्किल है, आसानी से बचकर निकलने की कोई गुंजाइश नहीं छोड़ती। एक भी ’उजला’ किरदार ऐसा नहीं जिसके सहारे यह घनेरा अंधेरा पार हो। व्यक्तिगत रूप से मेरे लिए घोर असुविधा पैदा करता, सवाल पूछता वह दृश्य जहाँ फ़िल्म एक हत्यारे को ’शिकार’ और हमारी मुख्य नायिका को ’हमलावर’ के रूप में दिखा पाई है, वह हिन्दी सिनेमा के लिए दुर्लभ है। दिबाकर फिर चौंकाते हैं। उम्मीदों पर खरे उतरते हैं।

    फिर भी मैं अपना तर्क रखूंगा। एक – अहमदी किसी को ’रिहेबिलिटेट’ नहीं कर पाये, यह ’सच’ नहीं – सिर्फ़ एक व्याख्या है। वो भी खुद उनकी दी हुई नहीं, उस स्त्री की दी हुई जिसने बहुत पहले ही अलग ’अपना काम’ शुरु कर दिया है। वही काम जिसकी परिणति फ़िल्म अंतिम दृश्य में दिखाती है। दूसरा – अहमदी या उन जैसों का किया सीधे कभी सामने नहीं आता। बल्कि मैं तो कहूँगा कि ’सीधे होते’ और ’बड़े परिवर्तनों’ को हमेशा शक की निगाह से देखें (फ़िल्म भी यही कहती है मेरे लिए) परिवर्तन अगर कहीं है तो बहुत गहरे है, पकड़ में आने से बहुत दूर, बहुत बारीक। परिवर्तन होगा तो अहमदी या शालिनी से नहीं होगा, गौरी की उस लड़की से होगा जिसकी कथा में अप्रत्यक्ष रूप से डॉ. अहमदी भी हमेशा शामिल रहेंगे और शालिनी भी।

    वरुण, यह मान लेना कि हमारे विकल्प चुक गए हैं, या यह कि ये आततायी समय हमें ऐसी कोई गुंजाईश नहीं देने वाला, सैद्धांतिक रूप से वाम विचार के साथ नहीं जाता। इसीलिए दिबाकर की ’शांघाई’ बहुत मायनों में घोर वाम फ़िल्म होने के बावजूद घोर वाम समर्थन नहीं पाएगी। हमारे यहाँ भी ठीक से किसी को नहीं पता कि रास्ता क्या है (या फिर कुछ लोग हैं जिन्हें हमेशा से ’सही रास्ता’ पता है) लेकिन जिस तरह पिछले साल ’अन्ना आन्दोलन’ को घनी सैद्धांतिक और व्यावहारिक परेशानियों के होते भी समर्थन दिया गया, मुझे लगता है कि मध्यवर्गीय शहरी वाम कहीं गहरे किसी स्वप्न की तलाश में है। यह फ़िल्म वो स्वप्न नहीं देती, बल्कि अपने बनते छीन भी लेती है। यही इस फ़िल्म की असल परेशानी है। यही इसे बड़ा बनाती है, दिबाकर की फ़िल्म बनाती है।

    बाक़ी अपनी बात विस्तार से रखूंगा कभी। अभी तो ’रतन बाबू’ को कथा में जगह देने का धन्यवाद!

    — तुम्हारी ज़िन्दगी हराम करने का आधा ज़िम्मेदार 🙂

    • मिहिर, अहमदी का एक भी घर को rehabilitate ना करवा पाना सिर्फ एक किरदार का personal opinion है या इस देश और समय का सच यह कहना आसान नहीं. अगर यह सिर्फ व्याख्या होती तो शालिनी उसका जवाब देती.

      मेरे ख़याल से फिल्म के बाकी किरदारों और solutions की तरह, दिबाकर-उर्मी ने इसे भी unrequited dreams of India, across all ideologies की श्रेणी में रखा है.

      हाँ यह सही है कि ऐसे कामों का असर इतनी आसानी से नहीं दिखता लेकिन मेरे हिसाब से फिल्म इन celebrity-activists की duality पर साफ़ stand लेती है. फिल्म में किसी भी छोटे, स्थानीय NGO के काम को ना करीब से दिखाया है ना उसपर कोई कमेन्ट है. (शालिनी और उसके दोस्तों की जो टीम है, उन्हें neutral light में ही रखा गया है.)

      हाँ गौरी की लड़की से बदलाव आएगा लेकिन उसमें अहमदी वैसे ही शामिल होंगे जैसे हमारे हर शुभ कार्य में भगवान श्री गणेश. क्रेडिट दे दिया जाएगा लेकिन out of faith, not out of logic.

  16. Sumit Singh says:

    dear friends
    the team of gangs of wasseypur has made a spoof of their main poster,where all the goondas are replaced by political figures….but can u imagine….in the poster they have shown a saintly man like anna hazaare as one of the goons!he is shown ..sitting on motor cycle aiming his loaded revolver at someone!what sacrilege!

    i wud hope that as a sign of protest all the youths who supported anna hazaare and his campaign ..will boycott this movie.this is shameless and insulting.
    i want everyone of yu..to publicize this on facebook…twitter and other electronic mediums.we shud and must have a movement against this film.all the youths of this country shud unite together in boycotting gangs of wasseypur…and then they will understand.. how.to respect our anna hazaare

  17. Film toh dekhne ko nahi mil payi lekin Varun ke is article se curiosity aur badh gayi hai. Varun, aapki writing mein aur aapki neutrality mein chupe huye angst se main bhi relate kar sakta hun.

    Yahan bhi duniya ki bhagti bheed mein hum shamil hain lekin raat ko Gorakh Pandey ki kavitayein chain se sone nahi deti.

    Maine kuch reactions dekhe jahan logon ko yeh film boring lag rahi hai. Mere kuch doston ko bhi lagi.

    Jaisa character description aapne ‘bhaggu’ ka diya, problem yeh hai ki Bhaggu ab sirf chote sheher ka kam padha likha aimless ladka nahi raha.

    Bhaggu ab sheher aa chuka hai. IT company mein naukri karta hai. Twitter aur facebook pe Narendra Modi ka sabse bada fan hai. Saare online petitions sign karta hai. Anna Hazare ke andolan mein jhande bhi lehrata hai.

    Parde par aane waali har Salman Khan ki film ko 100 cr ki race mein jeetane ka lakshya bhi usi ka hai.

    10 saal ke liberalization ne bahut kuch aacha kiya hoga lekin bhaggu ke swaroop ko naye aayam bhi usi ne diye hain.

    Kaafi aacha laga yeh padh kar. Ab main aapke blog ka regular reader hun. 🙂

    • Shukriya Abhishek. Haan Bilkul, aap yahin comments mein oopar-neeche ek Bhaggu ko dekh sakte hain. Aur mujh mein khud himmat nahin usey engage karne ya samajhne ya samjhaane ki.

  18. Prasun Banerjee says:

    @ Mr Sumit Singh … you start your post by insulting the name of the author … i guess that gives us a good hint whether you want to argue or abuse …

    the rest of your post basically is that the end justifies the means … the killing of red indians and cold war is the reason the world is technologically advanced and gives us the tools to write and bitch about people we have never met and hopefully never will while we sit in the pleasant confines of our own homes and hence we should not feel critical about the same. Shanghai as a film is not a crusade like Satyamev Jayate but a representation of what happens around us … but you have a problem with a film that even shows that representation since its a “negative reality”. you have that problem … not everyone around you.

    its actually your 2nd post that takes the cake … where you bring up anna hazare as a saintly figure and you feel that youth should boycott the film. who are you to instigate the youth ? geeta ka paath abhi sikhaya tha tumne hi … itni jaldi bhool gaye ? jo ho raha hai vagairah vagairah … kuch toh consistency rakho apne thoughts mein … since the bofors guns were critical in winning the kargil war , the corruption if any involved in the purchase should be forgotten ?

    aapke post ne toh meri all time favourite film ki insult kar di !!! dont use such headings for such frivolous posts !!!

  19. Sumit Singh says:

    @prasun
    The second post about anna hazaare i wrote after a lot of thinking and deliberation.i thought,how can i buttress the point advanced in my first post best?….i knew u guys will come up with stupid arguments to counter it…so i said okay….lets give them an example of anna hazaare and call him a saintly man.then perhaps to prove me wrong,u will have to make use of my first argument.and in the process my first argument will get buttressed though unconsciously by ur own mouth.which is exactly what happened.the second post was a trap,a bait…to buttress my first post by ur own mouth.
    so now u understand,these dibakar banerjee and similar directors,when they claim to show reality,actually they are showing the negative reality,and frankly there is no such thing as negative reality,or half truth.a half truth…or a negative reality(the term coined by u) is a lie.it is much like a version of reality,which affects us emotionally…which shocks us.so in a way there is not much difference between a rowdy rathore and a shanghai…both r versions of reality…one is pronouncedly shocking(by only looking at the horrendous effect of the cold war for example and not looking at the technological advancement side of it)….whereas the other…like rowdy rathore is escapist.
    the real reality ..is what is enshrined in the words of geeta …jo ho raha hai acha ho raha hai,life is contradictory and the contradiction compliments(which i have explained)
    what irks me is when ppl like dibakar claim a special treatment and call themselves artists..and call ppl who direct rowdy rathore as the businessmen. jabki the reality is that both type of films r equally flawed in their version of reality..and both r equally businessmenesque.so dont shout…that ppl dont appreciate true art..art is fart and i m sick of this joke.the only and inevitable criterion remains box office..and there…rowdy rathore fucked u guys.accept it

  20. Sumit Singh says:

    thnx vinjk,for acknowledging that the “Butt”…of my agrument has been quite evidently stressed.

  21. swadesh says:

    दोस्तों, ये विचार (ideas) का समय है विचारधारा (ideology) के चक्कर में मत रहो. विकास, आधुनिकता ये सब शब्द सापेक्ष हैं. मैंने कल ऱात के खाने में जब मैक डी का बर्गर खाया तो मेरे एक दोस्त (जो मुझे लंबे समय से जानता है) ने कहा कि अब तुम भी मॉडर्न और कूल हो रहे हो..उसे ऐसे ही समझ आती है आधुनिकता.

    दुनिया को बेहतर बनाने के काम में कई तरह के लोग लगे हैं..कई तरह के लोग ऐसा दावा कर रहे हैं…अपने ही हिस्से के सच को ब्रह्म मानने की गलती कर रहे हैं. दुनिया बेहतर हो, इसके प्रयास हों, जिसमें साध्य और साधन दोनो की पवित्रता हो..सिर्फ सपने गढने से कुछ नहीं होगा..

    फिल्म में आईआईटी पासआउट आईएएस के पास विचार है, सपना है जिसे पूरा करने में वो लगा है..शिद्दत के साथ लगा है..लेकिन जैसे ही कुछ गलत दिखता है वो उधऱ दिमाग लगाता है..उसके पास अपने विचार हैं वो किसी विचारधारा का गुलाम नहीं.

    देखो विकास तो होना है औऱ होकर रहेगा..औऱ होना भी चाहिए..तरीके तय करने पड़ेगे..उसके लिए विचार औऱ नीयत चाहिए विचारधारा नहीं.

  22. Prasun Banerjee says:

    @Sumit … lets get a few things straight … rowdy rathore didnt fuck “me” coz i have no personal stake in shanghai … i am not that juvenile to lose sleep because i liked a film that others didnt … its a matter of tastes and likes … i liked something , you liked something , we try to make each other see our respective points of view and move on …

    this post by the author didnt refer to Rowdy Rathore … Kushan’s post did … your arguments would have made more sense in the comments section of that post rather than this one.

    and how are you so sure that rowdy rathore fucked shanghai … if the film is bad as you say , what difference does it make if you have a rowdy rathore playing or not ? the audience fucked it makes sense …

    coming to your trap … wow … what a trap … talk crap once … talk even more crap next time … because the 2nd time is more crap , it justifies the 1st one ?

    now going through all 3 of your posts … what you are trying to say is that films like shanghai shouldnt be made … films like rowdy rathore should be made even more since the greater population likes it … there is no difference between dibakar and prabhu deva … shanghai does not deserve the praise it is getting and rowdy rathore does not deserve the panning it gets from “critics”. if thats what you are trying to say … sadly … i admit … that i agree partially with you … i do not subscribe to the school which says that because i liked shanghai and you like rowdy rathore , i am a superior human being to you !!! the looking down mentality is something i dont agree with.

    i hated rowdy rathore coz i was bored for 2.5 hours … nothing new … nothing entertained me … the only scene / dialogue which i felt funny was when akshay runs and lies down and the godowns explode and he tells the villains that there must have been some plan when he ran !!! i have nothing personal against anyone who liked it. i went in a group of 6 … other 5 liked it.

    shanghai on the other hand had me hooked … as abhay deol’s investigation gathered steam , you could sense the impending hurdles he would face … and there were so many times in the movie that i could almost “see” the climax (a cynical defeated abhay deol singing hum honge kamyaab) … did the movie make me feel elated when i walked out of the theatre … no it didnt … but it didnt bore me … i still think khosla and lsd were better movies by dibakar. i went in a group of 4 (3 ppl common between RR and this) … all 4 of us really liked shanghai !!!

    However RR is not a flawed version of reality at all … there is no reality in it whatsoever … its a fantasy tale … Shanghai on the other hand is not … its happening around us everyday … And just as someone has the right to make a RR , anyone else is very much within their rights to make a Shanghai …if its a reality that makes you uncomfortable … so be it !!!

  23. Sumit Singh says:

    @ prasun
    the point of my post was precisely to say that there is no difference between movies like shanghai and rowdy rathore,and the tone of intellectual condescension which is shown by the audience which likes shanghai towards rowdy rathore is what i find laughable.if i want to see a serious film i wud rather watch a bergman or godard or bunuel.why should i watch foolish movies made by the likes of kashyap and dibakar?
    what really pisses me off is the way they try to copy the western masters and make a jackass of themselves.this type of psuedo intellectualism and snobbery in their films is what makes watching them unbearable.it is very much like a dehati chorra trying to speak in heavily accented british english.whereas, films like RR….are fantasy trips….with all the improbable things and the itemesque packaging of these movies they retain a certain innocence which appeals to the masses.
    even movies made by ray or adoor or mrinal sen,etc r good..no wonder they have been feted in the west,
    whereas kashyap or dibakar dont have an iota of aesthetics in their films.just the stylistic narrative copied from western movies and shallow…supposedly dark…adolescent themes.
    just look at the movie no smoking…….he tried to show existential crisis of a character.but all his ideas…as i saw in the film..and later read in his blog pfc..were made of adolescent rebellion.not a speck of maturity or depth in them.just shallow metaphors of anger and rebelliousness translating into screen.now u tell me,someone who has seen bergman dealing with similar themes of existential crisis in his movies…and u show him next the trash called no smoking..how will he react?
    similarly,with ollo of dibakar,a film made on the greed of the urban middle class to acquire more and more of matter,at the cost of less and less of mind.in other words..a critique of wanton materialsim as a justification for everything and the culture which it espouses,has been made countless times in the west.and done in a thousand and one times better ways.now why shud i bore myself with these adolescent copycats and not watch the masters?
    the kind of publicity and good reviews by the critics they generate is a sole reflection of the fact that we..as indians r still very juvenile.a rowdy rathore atleast has no such pretentions….and they deliver what they promise.i like to just escape from serious cinema sometimes and i can watch them and enjoy.

    • SSD says:

      Okay, Sumit. Here goes.

      You contradict yourself. You say that Anurag/DB have a condescending attitude towards those who watch ‘Rowdy Rathore’ and the likes. And in the very next sentence, you go on to pull down AK/DB by comparing them to Bergman/Godard. Doesn’t it speak of your attitude towards these Indian filmmakers in general? A general ‘yeh toh west se copied hai, isme kuch achcha nahi ho sakta’ tone? Why do the West hold a moral superiority? Why do we need their stamp of approval? Aren’t you doing the same thing you accuse these guys of doing?

      Secondly, a filmmaker makes a film for an audience and he will make a film that the audience can relate to and appreciate. Bollywood has a nauseating tendency for producing films, and not making them. We have been bombarded with loud, ear-splitting, mindless films in different forms. All in the name of entertainment. Jaise ek madaari bandar ko moongfali ke daane khila ke nachwata hai. In fact, it is the Rowdy Rathores that are condescending towards us in assuming that we will not enjoy a thought-provoking film.

      Maybe you have been exposed to Bergman, but not everyone has that luxury. Sabke paas high speed internet nahi hota. If you were born 30 years earlier, you wouldn’t have even imagined such a thing. Imagine this film releasing in such a town where a ‘Bhaggu’ watches the film and sees through the bullshit that the local politician gives him. Wouldn’t it be an awakening for him? Uski soch mein badlaav nahi ayega kya? Zara iss nazariye se dekho toh.

      What I find good about DB/AK films is that they are ‘real’. I could relate to 2-3 incidents from the film that I have seen in my own life (when the dancing hooligans attack the car because the driver honked). I have studied in Nagpur (which is an extremely political place) and have had to deal with some sensitive situations, especially during Dussehra (Google it, you’ll know). The best part about Shanghai is that there is no melodrama, no preachy monologues. We know all this happens, but when it seeps into even films, maybe it’ll disgust us enough to want to ask for change.

      And what is this categorisation in terms of serious/non serious? All cinema is emotion. Issi black and white categorisation ki wajah se we have been getting only the so-called ‘fun’ cinema.

  24. Dlpr says:

    businessmenesque… itemesque… moderatoresque?? no senseesque shutupesque

  25. It’s amazing…………..not yet seen the film but hope paid critic can see this as tutorials, and learn something…….

  26. Hitesh Joshi says:

    superb observation…liked it..very much !

  27. Sumit Singh says:

    finally i saw the movie shanghai.downloaded it on net.
    the whole meaning of the movie is contained in the dialogue by farrukh sheikh,towards the end…when he says to abhay deol…”yeh justice hai tumhari?yeh CM PM ban sakti thi…china se aage nikal sakte the humlog.” the dialogue implies ki our talk of justice,in the face of dreaming for shanghai is impossible and to become shanghai is the only justice as it seems.
    the whole movie is asking us a very satirical question:”what do u want?…shanghai or justice?

  28. Sumit Singh says:

    apparently it is the last dailogue of the film too…..dibakar always summarizes his films in the last dailogue

  29. Prasun Banerjee says:

    @Sumit … now let me put forth my analysis of your posts … you hadnt seen shanghai … you read posts claiming it to be good and that got your goat … not because you had seen it and didnt like it but because no film made by directors like dibakar and kashyap can be good. knowing very well that fanboys of the 2 are most commonly seen on this site since the demise of pfc … you decide to post something … any crap that would get ppl to react … hence stuff as random as red indian genocide … surprisingly the longest reaction you got was from me and trust me i am no fanboy … and then you changed tracks (the trap was crap) … and came to the actual point of yours that you hated anything made by kashyap and dibakar bcoz you have seen better films by world acclaimed masters. (let me also state that i have not seen a single film by all the greats you mentioned except ray but i have seen 95% of all movies released in halls in india in that last 10 odd years including the likes of Jaani Dushman , Hello , Gulaal … you name it. I however missed No Smoking due to a curious mix of circumstances).

    Let me ask you one question … Should Indian authors stop writing just because anything they write will have some commonality with Mahabharata and that is the best piece of writing ever ?

    Write on why you hated Shanghai … and if the only reason is you have seen better movies on the same theme , then so be it. Dont insult someone’s family name just because he liked a movie that you didnt (infact hadnt even seen then).

    i havent seen all of kashyap’s films but have seen all 4 of dibakars … and here s a guy i like because of the variety in the 4 films … not all his films are great in my opinion but a couple of them sure are. but all of them are definitely watchable. the first half of rowdy rathore comes close to being unwatchable. but then thats just my opinion.

  30. Sumit Singh says:

    if anurag kashyap can make fun of the whole community at wasseypur and portray them as caricatures of loony goons…in his films,mind yu…the film will be watched by the whole of india.Toh maine aisi kya khata kar di….grover ko gobar bana ke?

    • Ramen says:

      “Toh maine aisi kya khata kar di….grover ko gobar bana ke?”
      No harm really… just like anybody can call u Chuttar Singh…

      PS: I din’t like the movie… but I’m just finding ur attitude extremely irritating & ur logic extremely birdbrained…

  31. Prasun Banerjee says:

    Without seeing the movie , you have decided that he has made fun of the whole community ?

  32. Fatema says:

    Been following the arguments, reviews and discussions for and against the film everywhere. Interestingly, I’ve found that those who’ve loved it have all loved it for the exact same reasons and those who haven’t have different reasons. Dunno, what to make of it but it’s interesting. Never before have I seen a film being applauded for exactly the same reasons across the appreciating board.

  33. atul says:

    very niche movie…without flow,too slow and again DB tried to make “”CIRCUS””which he always does…. din’t like much but yeah a good effort,it could have been more explosive and effective like NAYAK but….

    and i dun think…IITians are fucking everything jus bcoz u r from fucking IT BHU..mr.VARUN

    Kalki was pure shit… abhay was excellant..

    Concept z Class but implementation BAKWAAS…

    like detailing like various meanings of IBP n all but it’s just too ill edited and badly crafted on screen…

  34. chamko says:

    If you like a film, you’ll make sure your review is going to be praiseworthy in one compartment at least. Why I disliked Shanghai is because it’s a self indulgent slow KLPD film. What is this technical expertise that a lot of fanboys are constantly addressing? Care to elaborate? Don’t mention it in passing and then go into Foucauldian reveries of why the film has a soul. I could argue that for any badly made, boring documentary that still strives to have a soul. Should the film be hailed because it provides insights into capitalism and urban development (old formula) or be bashed because it goes out of its way to make a character like Shalini Sahay (seemingly Indian but always referred to as American, clearly a forced attempt to justify Kalki’s presence) or simply be shrugged at because it fails to offer a rising action or do justice to the magnitude of the word ‘Shanghai’ (so, you will rebut saying, Dibakar’s mastery is in “not gratifying the audience”. Meh). It was a pedantic film with a typical JNU type commie leader, rural popular culture overdose (what’s new since Gulaal?) and long takes (remember new wave Hindi films/art films?). If it doesn’t entertain (entertain could mean so many things), there’s no need to be high brow and defensive about it.

    • thedailytamasha says:

      Sorry but Foucauldian is a new word, almost self-defeating your issues with the film. (Vague, pretentious, pedantic etc.)

      Technical mastery is in framing the shots, the use of background score, and editing. Of course all those don’t matter if the film didn’t work for somebody hence no point really in defending that war-post.

      And if it didn’t work for you, fine. The post is not really a jihadi attempt at converting those who had issues. It simply is about why I liked it. And I think, if you read carefully again, you won’t be able to miss the very personal tone the article has.

      Being angry on somebody’s personal choices is a bit more than meh, in my not-so-humble-anymore opinion.

      Also, the piece starts with a call to people for writing a long piece on why they didn’t like it. But as it happens, writing a quick, angry, and mostly incoherent comment is heavily subsidized by the Indian govt. so majority always takes that route.

  35. Yours was the most honest review of ‘Shanghai’ that I have read. Brilliant stuff Varun sahab.

  36. Aman says:

    Why didn’t Abhay Deol go for a skin pigmentation surgery,Would’ve helped him to play the Tamilian with more conviction

  37. Sumit Singh says:

    my last post was deleted

  38. Sumit Singh says:

    the fact that tenders r being invited in bharat nagar…..in which a lot of money can be made by the politicians and the bureaucrats and the CM is sending him to videsh on a decorative post at this time…..is another reason y abhay is pissed off from the govt.
    did u notice…..every one was asking abhay…cm ji aapse bahut khush hain..and smiling….why was that?they were making fun of him…as it often happens in bureaucratic circles.
    also,the fact that this case was given to abhay..and not to any one else…why was that?becoz everyone knew that the death of ahmedi was a murder and not an accident…..so public sentiment was against the govt…..still abhay(by the very nature of his job was not supposed to do a through investigation)…therefore….who will become the scapegoat for not doing through investigation and pinning down the culprit?Abhay..ofcourse.
    abhay was disenchanted for all these reasons…and wanted his pie in the bharat nagar tender thing…so he made his move..
    hence,the biggest of all the villians is abhay.the struggle abhay is going through ..is of all the things certainly not the struggle of conscience…whether to opt for justice or go with injustice?abhay’s struggle is the struggle of macbeth…..shud i follow this case strongly and fuck the government(it is obvious from the beginning that the govt. has a role in the killing)….should i be ambitious?or should i just finish my job..and go to the foreign country on a decorative post…away from the main source of power politics.that is his struggle…and finally he decides to be ambitious..and makes farrukh the offer.now,in the new regime it is obvious abhay will play a vital role..and farrukh will be in awe of him.
    varun grover sahab ur reading of abhays character in the film was off the mark.u have anything 2 say?

  39. Sumit Singh says:

    varun grover sir(look i m pronouncing u correct)….pls answer my above post….

  40. Prasun Banerjee says:

    @Sumit … wow … you did surprise me pleasantly this time … your post which got deleted if i remember correctly stated that you spoke with dibakar who told you that abhay is the villain in the piece … so did the analysis happen after your conversation or before ?

    also i hope when you ask the author to reply , it does nt rule out anyone else replying !!!

    actually to add to your point … in the beginning , its shown that abhay through a IIT junior of his manages to get Ahmedi’s permission cancelled and also Farooque Shaikh specifically states that Abhay has had issues in the past with Dr Ahmedi for some dam. My reading is that he is given the case because its expected that he too hates Dr ahmedi and therefore will some how cover up his elimination since it suits his professional needs as well. For all you know the plan of having Abhay handle the commission would have been decided in advance by the CM itself.

    For me though the most fascinating characters are Dr Ahmedi and his wife. Let me put my thoughts together on them and then write in !!!

    • Sumit Singh says:

      prasun
      i never talked with dibakar.that was a joke.i arrived at the conclusion by watching the movie deeply unlike the great reviewer varun ji.
      i totally agree with the point u made regarding abhay….it only seconds the argument that i raised.
      lekin mujhe hairat ish baat se hai ki abhi tak varun grover ji ne reply nahi kiya.this character called varun par mujhe tabse gussa hai jab maine GOW ke geet mein unki likhi hui lyrics suni.ek punjabi vyakti kabhi bhi bihari folk gaana nahi likh sakta aur wahi hua.jiya ho bihar ke lala ke pehle chaar lines folk traditional hain..grover ne apna karaamat aage ki lines mein dikhaya hai…and they r pathetic…..lines like..ookaa booka teen tadoka gaava re bhaiya…..i mean what is this?
      maine gow ke music release mein suna manoj tiwari ko grover ji pe tanz karte.tiwari sir bole……jab mujhe yeh lyrics di gayi toh maine isme sudhar karne ki kosish ki…lekin jab anurag kashyap jaisa international khyati ka vyakti bole ki nahi lyrics bahut badhiya hai…toh main kya karta?
      grover ji ki jo tendency hai to suck up to anurag kashyap….is amazing.abhi kal…..the making of jiya ho bihar ke lala utube par aayi.usme maine dekha….jab gaana khatam hua(manoj tiwari did a marathon singing of 20 minutes)…anurag went to him and hugged him. Industry ke do senior log….ek duusre ko hug kar rahe hain…peeche se….varun sahab..in true chamcha style is shouting…sir mujhe bhi mujhe bhi….anurag just looked at varun..and smirked.
      mera aisa mannna hai ki agar anurag keeps associating himself with such characters toh unka downfall kaafi nazdeek hai.
      jai hind karke koi comedy show ke liye janaab likhte hai…fortunately mujhe kabhi woh show dekhne ka avsar nahi mila. Abhi haal hi mein maine utube main uski clipping dekhi.its really funny.damn funny.its funny in the way ram gopal verma ki aag is funny.

      • Neel says:

        Sumit Singh, agar tum bihari hote to “ookaa booka teen tadoka” ka matlab samajh paate 😦 .. comment karne se pehle atleast kisi bihari se pooch to lete jisne apne bachpan ke din gaon mein bitae hon…shayad woh tumhe us khel ke baare mein bhi vistaar se batata jahan yeh shabd prayog hote hain. 🙂

  41. Aprajita says:

    “Yahi hai tumhari justice? Aage jaake yeh CM, PM ban sakti thi, hum Chin se aage nikal sakte the…”

    Shanghai, atleast for me, has emblems from almost every aspect of our current political life, and stretch the ambit of that ‘political’ to the broadest (Please dont miss the reference to Ramdev :)). As Mihir and Varun both point out, the film spares no one, in terms of political agenda. And, the ‘detailing’ actually invites the kind of deconstruction and critique that makes for a good lengthy conversation over chai, looking at all the characters as protagonists within their own world views. Dibakar Bannerjee’s films have consistently worked for me, in the way they render the workings of the middle class ‘naked’, something the post touches on. With Jaggu as a protagonist, this film has an overt commentary on developmental India, the ultimate vision of this middle class, in the way the title and the references to Shanghai have worked throughout. The line that I have quoted above, is a personal high point: it opens so, so many cracks in this farcical race to development that we have imagined for ourselves. I am glad, that the film is bringing out strong reactions, as can be seen here too. It helps bring out the violent edges of ‘Jai Pragati’ and hopefully, is the final nail in the coffin where lies India Shining.

    And Varun, your post, atleast in my memory, will be one of those crucial conversations, which forced the nail in place 🙂

    On a separate note, Mihir, I share Dr. Ahmedi’s wife’s belief that no one was rehabilitated.That does not make him any less charismatic of course 🙂 🙂

    • thedailytamasha says:

      Yes Aprajita, that’s a key dialogue in the film. I wanted to write about this too in the post but somehow missed. Also, as you pointed out, Dibakar is surely on a plane totally antithetical to Jaideep Sahani’s. (That’s why it’s weird they made Khosla Ka Ghosla together). Jaideep’s almost every film has this underlying theme that middle-class is great because it’s honest and simple at its core. That’s why so many of his films come across as morality tales where a middle class man gone astray finally comes home to his ‘goodness’. While Dibakar’s films (3rd in a row now) put middle-class’s hypocrisy and hollowness under the lens. Cynical, but never looking down upon.

  42. Prasun Banerjee says:

    @Sumit … i should have guessed the baggage you are carrying. I dont know who varun grover is. I have nothing to with the film industry in any form except buying tickets and watching films every week. Which is why though i may like a Anurag Kashyap film , its because of the film and not the man behind it. I hated Gulaal. I loved DevD but as a Amit Trivedi film. (Though on the contrary i admit that i will always possibly hate a Farah / Sajid Khan film irrespective of what they make … have hated all the films made by the family except Jaaneman).

    I try to go for every movie with an open mind … after all the guy who made Aks also made RDB and Delhi 6, and i have to pinch myself everytime i say this but the guy behind Home Delivery made Kahaani. There are very few directors who i can think of , whose every film i have liked, if not loved. The only names i can think of is Spielberg, Nolan and Ridley Scott. (As you would realise my reference list is pretty new and does not have usual bergmans , etc)

    Also my personal likes of movies does not really go by what i read / hear from others … i hated Tree of Life … absolutely detested it. at the same time loved some really “corny” stuff like Dragonfly , Extremely loud and incredibly close.

    As i wrote earlier (influenced by reading Fatema i think) , Dr Ahmedi and his wife would make a brilliant movie. Dibakar could very well do a biopic format about a charismatic leader and the dichotomy of his personal and professional life.

  43. Neel says:

    Sumit Singh, agar tum bihari hote to “ookaa booka teen tadoka ” ka matlab samajh paate 😦 .. comment karne se pehle atleast kisi bihari se pooch lete jisne apne bachpan ke din gaon mein bitae hon…shayad woh tumhe us khel ke baare mein bhi vistaar se batata jahan yeh shabd upyog hote hain. 🙂

  44. Sumit Singh says:

    varun did not answer my explanation of abhay’s character as the biggest villian.let us turn our attention towards kalki.varun says kalki is a confused idealist…with bookish knowledge.wow!
    who has the 40 crore of corruption money her father is serving jail sentence for?why do u think the crime police is coming and harassing her?she has all the money…which she will use to go to usa and stay there and write a book on this murder(what farce!)
    but varun is rite ….she looks up to the flamboyant,skirt chasing,high flying fake foot soldier of the poor prosenjit.maybe she is looking to justify the guilt of having and not being able to part with corruption money…by stubbornly trying to pitch him up as a devta”(against all the evidence to the contrary)
    the relationship between prosenjit and kalki is best summarized in the ajeeb kiss they had.
    In an interview dibakar said…that when the shoot for the kiss was conducted.only kalki was informed that she has to kiss…..prosenjit was not informed deliberately that there is a kissing scene.did u see initially when kalki kissed prosenjit…he was taken unaware?and then the assistants gesticulated him from the sidelines…to go on with it..thats y the whole kiss looks ajeeb…very ajeeb..all is done deliberately.this kiss metaphorically shows that kalki needs a support in him…almost a justification(she is always judging him…in the film)..but he is a flimsy support..and he is not ready to give her succor.

  45. Prasun Banerjee says:

    @sumit … now seeing your comment on fatema , i am slowly getting the feeling of you suffering from multiple personality disorder. sorry i engaged you on a debate for such a long time. i hope i dont encounter you again on these boards.

  46. moifightclub says:

    Sumit Singh.

    Your last comment (to Fatema) was removed. And enough of this nonsense. You even tried to put in comments using a fake email id too (of anuragkashyapfilms, no less.)

    We have been liberal with you till now, in spite of your rambling stupidity and bordering on ill-psycho behaviour, thanks to the long rope of democracy we offer on our site. One more deliberately stupid/derogatory comment, and you will be put in that spam folder forever. And all your earlier comments will be removed too. Last warning.

  47. vinjk says:

    can someone post the english translation of this article?

  48. vinayak k says:

    Very nicely written..of course not the first i felt dat there were so many things i missed out while watching the movie but i think dats the purpose of writing and reading reviews…. i think d review is better dan the actual movie ….

  49. ksunil says:

    As a part of general public who wants to see something believable not escapist cinema i found shanghai to be little bland.mayb real life politics is more entertaining or we have become too desensitized detailing was impeccable performances were noting but something was missing thats why it failed to connect to audience unlike paan singh tomar where inspite of rustic set up different dialect connection was there.

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