India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Shanghai: The story of India

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There are some films that you watch, not because you want (as Vidya Balan claims in ‘The Dirty Picture’) “entertainment, entertainment, entertainment”, but because they are a reflection of the times we live in, and if these movies didn’t get made, these chaotic times wouldn’t be chronicled for eternity.

Dibakar Banerjee certainly seems determined to be that chronicler for India. In his fourth film “Shanghai”, Banerjee keeps the grittiness of “Love, Sex Aur Dhokha” or “Khosla Ka Ghosla“, but gets more ambitious, with his canvas, dealing with murkier issues like urbanisation, development and the politics of today’s India.

In less than two hours, he manages to make a telling comment on the country we live in, the people who govern it, and most importantly, the people we think govern it. After all, as a character in George R R Martin’s epic “Game of Thrones” series says — “power resides where men believe it resides.”

Banerjee sketches his characters with all the skill that he has displayed in the past. Emraan Hashmi is undoubtedly one of the stars of this ensemble cast – stripped of his loverboy image, wearing ill-fitting clothes and flashing a goofy smile, Hashmi shines as Jogi Parmar, a small-time maker of video films who is caught in circumstances he doesn’t always know how to deal with.

Gali Gali Chor Hai: Well intentioned, badly made

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Given that director Rumy Jaffry’s film “Gali Gali Chor Hai” deals with the burning issue of corruption, one would assume there would be no lack of material. Jaffry concentrates on corruption at the lower level and the everyday struggle of the common man who has to deal with this malaise as he tries to get on with life.

Akshaye Khanna plays Bharat, a meek bank cashier who lives in a dilapidated house with his wife, father and a pretty paying guest. When he rubs off a local politician the wrong way, trouble starts.

Khatta Meetha: This is no gourmet feast

Khatta Meetha” raises a few laughs and also manages pointed homilies on the state of the nation.

Khatta MeethaIt is about municipal officers and builders but is no “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro” — either in subtlety, sarcasm or slapstick.

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