Shor in the City is a terrific film. It?s surprising and disturbing and has a vein of rich, dark humor coursing through it. With great skill and inventiveness, directors Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK capture the chaos, absurdity and cacophony that constitutes India?s maximum city: Mumbai.
Like I Am, Shor is also a multi-narrative film. Sendhil Ramamurthy plays Abhay, an NRI who returns to India only to find that you can never go home again. Because home now includes knife-wielding goons who are demanding protection money. Tusshar Kapoor is Tilak, a petty criminal whose main business is publishing. He sells pirated copies of best-sellers at street signals. The newly married Tilak is inherently decent but his friends Ramesh, played by Nikhil Dwivedi and Mandook, played by Pitobash Tripathy, are darker, wilder and more willing to risk everything in the pursuit of loot. And there?s Sawan, played by Sundeep Kishan, in love and desperate to become a cricket player but a spot on the team comes with a price tag of ten lakh. Over the 11 days leading up to the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, these lives intersect and irretrievably alter.
Raj and Krishna, who have co-written the screenplay with Sita Menon, set the tone and the pace with the opening scene in which Tilak, Ramesh and Mandook kidnap a famous author and force him to give them his unpublished manuscript. You instantly know that you?re in for a wild ride. Raj and Krishna build an atmosphere of dread, skillfully weaving tension with droll humor. You know that everything that can go wrong will, but meanwhile you can?t stop smiling. This is the kind of film in which an arms deal is interrupted by a phone call because the Bhai?s mother needs to know what he wants cooked for dinner and people talk casually about how difficult it is to sell a bomb.
The casting is pitch perfect. Tusshar, whose sister Ekta has co-produced the film, wisely underplays, blends into the milieu and surrounds himself with strong actors. Pitobash Tripathy is absolutely crackling as the somewhat unhinged Mandook. As is Amit Mistry playing the over-worked Tipu Bhai who keeps barking into his cell phone: main abhi busy main hun. Radhika Apte as Tilak?s college-grad bride is lovely and Nikhil Dwivedi, surprisingly effective. But you must also pay attention to the minor players ? the office guard who proudly declares that he has had noodles with ?saab,? or Sawan?s large and comically solemn friend who tells the bank officer that he will stand as guarantor for a 10 lakh loan.
For me, the weak link in the chain is Sendhil Ramamurthy?s story. It?s intriguing but not convincing and his dialogue with his girlfriend is forced. Do people actually say things like: Do you want to talk about it?
But I recommend that you over-look these glitches and get on the roller-coaster ride that is Shor in the City. You won?t regret it.