Shor in the City

Shor in the City is a movie that evokes mixed feelings. It has so much going for it and it has some truly brilliant moments. Yet, the movie does not sit together in a way that makes your heart strings tug for any particular character.

The premise is interesting enough. It captures the lives of a cross section of Mumbaikars in the midst of that truly Mumbai festival – Ganpati.

We are introduced to three small time ‘publishers’ who print illegal copies of popular bestsellers. Apart from dabbling in publishing, the three also hang out together and indulge in activities that sometimes border on the dangerous. They do it in the good natured manner of people who are not really sure about the serious consequences their actions can have. Heading up this gang is Tilak (Tushar Kapoor in a cool haircut but looking as stiff as ever), newly married and fast domesticating.

Sendhil Ramamurthy plays Abhay, an NRI returning home to set up a small business. As he finds his way around Mumbai, he acquires a hot model girlfriend and at the same time learns about ‘protection’ provided by small time gangsters to carry on a business.

Savvy (Sundeep Kishen) is an aspiring cricketer, worried about being selected to the Under-22 Mumbai cricket team. The selection is also crucial for his girlfriend to reveal his presence in her life to her parents and forestall objections from them about his marriage-worthiness.

Various other small characters weave in and out of the story till all of them find closure of some sort on the final Visarjan day.

The movie has a lot of captivating scenes. Some of them push you into over-the-edge tension territory. Others have you laughing out aloud. In some, you are stuck by how well Mumbai’s character is captured, almost as if you are walking on the city’s streets and observing something yourself.

The problem is that though a lot of the scenes by themselves stand out; the whole movie is not strung well together. The pace picks up and falters. The stories are intertwined but the speed with which each twine cuts into the other, leaves you little time to develop empathy for any particular character. You really want to feel for the characters but are just not given enough material to.

So in the end, the one character that does stand out and is shown in many of its shades is the city itself. Possibly the genesis of the movie’s story explains why. The end credits inform you that all the incidents in the movie were inspired by newspaper stories. A regular reader of Mumbai Mirror or any local Mumbai newspaper can believe some of the incredulous episodes in the movie.

Worth a watch if you have lived in this city long enough to appreciate its quirkiness or if you are an outsider wanting to get a feel of some parts of the city.


hAAthi said...

I have never lived in Mumbai, but am closesly associated it. Nevertheless, this movie spoke to me at several levels, and echoed my feelings about the varied facets of life in the city. You are right when you say that separate scenes grab your attention but it is not string together as a whole, but I felt this is what made the movie enjoyable for me. I loved it for the highs and lows, the terror and the humor, the idiocy and the irony..it definitely undid the ghastly experience of DMD, that I watched last week and HAAATED!

Anita said...

hAAthi - Ah, I think I should just add your comments to my review. Echoes a lot of what I would like to say. And I must say just the last climax scene of Tushar Kapoor captured the entire set of descriptions you used - humor, idiocy, irony.