Friday, April 29, 2011
#110: Shor in the City
It's not often that yours truly gets excited about a Tushar Kapoor movie on a Friday night. This was different. The directors were Krishna and Raj - 2 engineers from A.P. who like all well-behaved 'gults' studied engineering and packed off to US. Since their job was getting monotonous and they wanted to do something exciting they thought why not make some movies for fun. For the next five years, they made short movies, saw a number of films and did some basic workshops on lighting, editing etc. Gradually they did enough to make a delightful movie centered around match-fixing called 99 that released a couple of years ago. It's a pity that movies like 99 get buried under the trash that Bollywood unfailingly dishes out ever so often. If anything, it was one of the best movies of the year. So when Krishna and Raj were coming back with their second mainstream Bollywood movie, I did have good reason to look forward to it. After all, the promos were looking cool too.
Shor in the City is a slice-of-life account of a few characters in the city of Mumbai during the ten days of Ganesh Chaturthi. The characters are Abhay (Senthil Ramamoorthy)- a US returned businessman setting his own office in Mumbai, a cricketer Saawan (Sandeep Kishan) wanting to break into the Mumbai U-22 team and three small-time crooks played by Nikhil Dwiwedi, Tushaar Kapoor and Pitobash. It takes time to establish the problems in the lives of each of these characters but we come to know soon that Abhay is being harassed by a few local goons and Saawan needs some money to bribe a selector. The intentions of the three crooks are not so clearly spelled out. Out of the three crooks, Tushaar is the good Samaritan. He makes pirated books but wouldn't cheat while printing them. The other two operate like misguided missiles especially Pitobash. What is their ultimate need is not something that the writers dwell upon much and that story track is one of the failings of the movie.
The movie stays unpretentious in it's form and moves with an easy pace after the first fifteen minutes .The different storylines are just about connected towards the end without any dramatic twist. All along, there's a sense that the stories were going to merge in some sort of a 'wow' moment but that doesn't happen. The good thing however is that it doesn't bore you. You want the characters to take their time with their problems and since they don't jar you what they're doing on-screen, watching Shor in the City isn't a very trying experience. This, in spite of no big names or any dash of glamor. The music is another plus point and the soundtrack does make you wish the songs especially Saibo, had a reprise. The track on the opening credits is another stunner.
One has to be patient while watching Shor in the City. It is not an instant gratifier. The good moments are not few but still far in between. The sountrack lends the right earthiness to the realism in the movie and while the support cast of Radhika Apte, Amit Mistry and Girija Oak are able and fit in well, they don't exactly set the screen on fire. All in all, the movie's very much making the passing grade. There are some movies you think the directors and actors could've done more with to make it better. With Shor in the City, you get the feeling that everyone's actually given their best. Just that, it wasn't enough.