Film: Shor In The City (A)
Director: Raj Nidimoru, Krishna DK
Cast: Sendhil Ramamurthy, Tusshar, Nikhil Dwivedi, Pitobash Tripathy, Sundeep Kishan
Shor In The City is the second film this year to adopt a parallel story format with Mumbai as the backdrop. Dhobi Ghat was a simple tale of four individuals and their lives in the metropolis. In Shor, too, three stories unfold at the same time, each seemingly disconnected from the other, except for one factor that remains constant — all the characters want something badly, but the city won’t give it to them easily.
“Iss shehar main itna shor hai ke dimaag ke andar ghuske nas phaad deta hai,” says Tipubhai, a good-hearted middleman for all things nefarious. Amit Mistry plays Tipu, immaculate with his comic timing, and an absolute treat to watch. He’s the only guy who meets all the characters at some point or the other — it’s like he knows everyone.
When budding young cricketer Sawan (Kishan), for example, needs a loan to pay a selector who will pave his way into the under-22 team, he goes to Tipubhai for help. Or when Abhay (Ramamurthy), an NRI back in India to start afresh — he’s running from a past we never know about — needs to get rid of the goonda (Zakir Hussain) who demands extortion money in exchange for ‘protection’, he meets Tipubhai to help him procure a weapon.
Tilak, Ramesh and Mandook (Tusshar, Dwivedi & Tripathy, respectively) provide the third dimension to the story. Aimless drifters, they will go to any length to make it big. For want of a better word, they are the ‘jholers’ you are supposed to be wary of. When Ramesh and Mandook chance upon a bag full of explosives, the first person they get in touch with is Tipubhai so he can get them ‘buyers'.
Shor is narrated over the eleven-day Ganpati festival, a time of dichotomy in the city. While a section is revelling in the celebrations, another grumbles about the traffic snarls and the cacophony the festival brings with it.
The set-up is lovely, the writing (Raj, DK) razor sharp, the characters appealing. But while you remain engrossed almost throughout, the plot begins to get slightly monotonous somewhere in between. Things begin to fall in place in the penultimate moments, where the characters collide with each other and the loose ends get neatly tied up eventually.
What makes Shor an absolute treat is the life enthused in scenes by some lovely dialogues and an intelligently cast set of actors. From the peon who works at Abhay’s office to the hooligan who is saccharine sweet even as his intentions remains lethal, each actor brings something to the table. Even the guy in the bit role of a cop at the station who doesn’t see the danger in a man being threatened by gangsters. “Yeh sab chalta rehta hai. Agar kuch hota hai, toh batana,” he tells a dumbfounded Abhay.
Ramamurthy, Dwivedi, Kishan and Hussain are all amazingly comfortable in their skins, while Tusshar seems like a completely different actor, efficient as Tilak. Radhika Apte — in her second appearance in a film this week — does well. Girija Oak is amazingly natural, while Preeti Desai is functional.
But along with Mistry, Pitobash is the most impressive among the actors, revelling in some of the best lines of the film. Gun pointed at a man sitting half-naked on the pot, a maniacal gleam in his eyes, he says, “English main sorry bol.” You can't help but love the guy.
Funny, dark and engrossing, Shor In The City is the kind of reassuring film you yearn to watch amid, well, what ‘ Bollywood’ has to offer every week. Also, it articulates something you have only probably thought before – ‘Karma IS a bitch.’