Movie Review: Shor in the City (2011)

Shor in the City - Poster

I know it is quite stereotypical of bloggers to accuse filmmakers of exploiting the success of portraying Bombay / Mumbai in the light of the sweaty and sun-scorched cinematography of Slumdog Millionaire. After all, Mumbai is also the city of dreams, the washed shores of Chowpatty and diamond necklace of Marine Drive. I am not here to make any such comparisons. Shor in the City, at the surface, might seem to be yet another Mumbai based story hitting the narrative down the gritty lanes of Mumbai. But it is so much more than just that. You might be familiar with the setting of the dark alley ways and the similar visuals of Ganpati festival, but not even for a moment is there a sense of deja vu. And that’s because this one spins you around as hard as the city does to the millions living in it, in different homes and in different circumstances. As chaotic and celebratory as the city itself, the different storylines weaved seamlessly in this cracking piece is nothing short of a genius, and for that, the directors – Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK (who also gave us the awesome 99 ) deserve a standing ovation.

The overall story takes place over 11 days during the Ganpati Mahotsav in Mumbai, but the beauty of the plot is in how three parallel stories are so smartly intertwined with each other. There have been similar attempts in the past of this sort ( Love Sex Aur Dhoka, Teen Deewarein) but not even for a single minute does the storyline feel manipulated. And when it all wraps up, you finally realise the deeper meaning of the title track – Yahaa Jo Karega Wo Tu Yahi Pe Bharega, Coz Karma is a Bitch. ( You will pay here for what you do here, Coz…) The three storylines are thus – of Tilak (Tushhar Kapoor) and his con mates – Mandook (Pitobash Tripathy) and Ramesh (Nikhil Dwivedi), who are trying hard to make it in the pirate publishing industry. The second vertex of the triangle is Sawan (Sundeep Kishan), a young cricketer trying to break into th under-22 Mumbai cricket team. Completing the triangle is Abhay (Sendhil Ramamurthy), an NRI who has just got back to India aspiring to start his own business.

*** SPOILERS ***

Shor in the City

The central theme – Karma is a bitch – fits in with every aspect of the movie as we see every character struggling to come in terms with the consequences of their action. So we see Tilak and gang falling prey to an unfortunate bomb-testing incident which leaves a young kid injured. Tilak holds himself responsible for the incident and starts viewing life from a different perspective, thanks to his educated wife’s recommendation to read Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’. On the other hand, Abhay, whose dark past, evident from the scars on his back, is hoping to start life afresh, is tormented by local ‘Bhais’ who keep troubling him for money. Abhay’s frustration gets the better of him as he eventually ends up shooting the ‘Bhais’ with their own bullet, which Abhay bought from Mandook, who stole it from the Bhais (phew!). Life indeed goes a full circle until it lands up a strong kick in the ass. And whilst all this happens, there is a bank robbery happening amidst the chaos of Ganpati and Sawan gets his desired amount of money for bribing the selection committee. Tilak, who ended up being shot during the bank robbery, was luckily just injured, and decides to start life afresh. Whereas Mandook, well, he ends up in a ‘fiery’ dharna.


I could well run out of volumes if I were to continue singing praise. But keeping things within the limits, I’d just like to thank a list of awesome people. And here’s the list.

1. First and foremost, Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK, the directors and scriptwriters for a smartly written and crisply executed screenplay. There is black comedy written all over it, but not for a single moment does it stick to a formula. The plot reveals in layers and the reward for the viewers is very very delicious.

2. Tushar Kanti Ray for his tangy cinematography which sweeps across the modern Colaba to the dirty walls of Chawls in Bhai-dom.

3. The musical maestros – Sachin and Jigar for giving us Karma is a Bitch – a hardcore rock song with the ‘kharash-walee aawaz’ of Suraj Jaggan, as well as the love ballad of the year – Saibo.

4. Tushhar Kapoor – For the first time, since forever, has he done something that his mum can be proud of.

5. Ekta Kapoor – See reason 4. Well, she has also produced Love Sex Aur Dhokha. But anywho, thank you Ekta Jee for making these norm-breaking movies. Keep the flame burning for Balaji.

6. Pitobash Tripathy – As Mandook, he is the quirky, weird character that we long for when he is not onscreen. And he steals every scene where he is present. He is definitely the one to watch out for, for all the good reasons. He is in every aspect, the real star of the movie.

OKS Rating: 4 bitches out of 5.

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