Shor in the City (2011) ****



Tusshar Kapoor is not really a guarantee for a good movie watching experience but there comes a time when a movie manages to make even Tusshar look good. ‘Shor in the City’ is such a movie. There are no big names associated with the film. There is nothing that would make you want to watch it but please do. This movie is like a breath of fresh air in this cricket contaminated month.


The movie tells different stories and unlike most movies where all the characters come together in the end, we are spared of the cliché here. The first story is about three small time goons, Tilak (Tusshar Kapoor), Mandook (Pitobash Tripathy) and Ramesh (Nikhil Dwivedi) and their misadventures after stealing a bag of ammunition by mistake. There is no motive in their story and most things just unravel (ala Pulp Fiction). The continuing factor in their story is humour which is mostly brought out by Mandook. The newly married Tilak’s relationship with his wife Sapna (Radhika Apte) provides an emotional ground to the movie where everything is so crazy. The moment that Tilak actually has a real conversation with Sapna and is shocked to find out that she had gone to college is a gem. There is also an undercurrent of guilt in the movie, which is interweaved with humour so well that you have scintillating moments of laughter and silence.

Sawan (Sundeep Kishan) an aspiring cricketer has his girlfriend Sejal (Girija Oak) breathing down his neck to get into the under 22 team. Traumatised about her possible marriage to one of the jokers coming to see her every week, she sees Sawan or Savvy as the one possible escape in life. Sawan’s problem is to come up with 10 lakh to guarantee a part in the team. While Sawan’s tale deals with frustration, the story of Abhay (Sendhil Ramamurthy), an NRI has a much darker tone. Being threatened by local goons for protection money after started his new business, Abhay’s story is laced with a sense of loss and overcoming past demons. You never really know what is going to happen with him especially since you never really know him well enough to judge what he would do. While he easily has enough money to pay the gundas, which he does eventually, the haunting look in his eyes keep posing a question which only he has an answer to. The audience never really gets to judge what he is capable of doing or not doing.


The movie has multiple endings in my head. It could have ended at any point in the last 3 minutes and each one of them would have worked perfectly well. The directors Raj Nidimoru and Krishna Dk, however choose to end the movie on a more hopeful and positive note. I think the defining moment for me in the movie is when Abhay pulls a gun at the his extortionists and tells them that if they can get away with killing someone, so can he. That is the moment when you see a common man rise above his limitations and see above the frustrating rules tying him down.

The background score composed by Roshan Machado is rivertting. The song ‘Karma is a bitch’ is repeated in the movie and the music directors Sachin-Jigar and Harpeet seem to have done complete justice to the theme of the film. But it is the background score which takes a simple scene of Ganpati visarjan and turns it into an emotional moment, with characters feeling loss, pain, hope and guilt at the same time. The movie is flawlessly edited by Ashmith Kunder keeping it fast paced, entertaining yet moving at the same time. All the characters are played wonderfully by the ensemble cast but I would be lying if I don’t make an extra note about Pitobash Tripathy. He is a complete joy to watch.
‘Shor in the City’ is a complete package. A victory and a slap in the face for movie makers who would pay an extra crore to a ‘star’ instead of spending 20% of that on the script. The story and the screenplay by Raj Nidimoru,  Krishna DK and Sita Menon are the real stars of this movie, which tells the stories with a sense of honesty and without judgement. It is what good storytelling is all about.
The movie is a must watch. The 2 hours are going to be a complete joyride! If only Ekta Kapoor would have brought out these sensibilities to her television outing, the world would have been a more entertaining place.

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