Another routine crime drama from the Ramgopal Varma assembly line, Shabri starring Eesha Koppikar is billed as the story of Mumbai’s first female don. Directed by Lalit Marathe, a protégé of Varma, the film follows a familiar narrative, but never rises above the ordinary. 

Koppikar is Shabri, an earnest but feisty slum-dweller who supports her family with the income she earns working at a flour-mill nearby. When her teenage brother is sodomized and brutally murdered by a sadistic cop, she kills the officer and goes on the run. She finds an ally in a local gambling bookie, but when his underworld boss takes him out in a gruesome shootout, Shabri becomes determined to kill the don.      

Wearing a washed-out sepia hue, possibly to hide its dated look and feel, Marathe’s film offers little that hasn’t been seen before. The director never once attempts to understand the psyche of an ordinary girl who turns into a hardened criminal, opting instead to create moments of shock value. Barring a few gritty moments,Shabri is cinema of the ‘been-there-seen-that’ variety.

I’m going with a generous two out of five for director Lalit Marathe’s Shabri. The best thing about this film is that it’s over in 95 minutes!              

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