Three desperate men fighting circumstances and struggling to make a better life for themselves in a corrupt metro…these are the protagonists of the appropriately titled Shor in the City, a sparkling comedy thriller that sucks you into its world from the very word go. Directed by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK, the film unfolds in Mumbai over a period of 11 days during the Ganesh festival, and follows three separate tracks that gradually intertwine.
Tusshar Kapoor runs a pirated-book publishing business with two petty-thief partners, who have got their hands on a bag filled with guns and explosives that they’re hoping to sell for a princely sum. Recently married and inherently decent, Tusshar has no interest in getting involved with his friends in this shady business. He prefers instead to stay home and pore over a copy of Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist that has changed his life.
Sendhil Ramamurthy is an American-Indian who’s returned home to set up a small business, but finds himself being bullied by local extortionists who’re threatening him and his model girlfriend. And finally, Sundeep Kishan is a young cricketer who doesn’t know how to raise the Rs 10 lakh needed to grease the palms of the selector so he can get a place in the Under-22 team, and subsequently marry his girlfriend who’s being pressurized by her family to enter into an arranged match.
A delicious mix of quirky humor, gruesome violence, and surprising sensitivity, Shor in the City works on the strength of its smart script and consistent performances from its ensemble cast. Tusshar Kapoor surprises with a mature turn, and his delicate romance with Radhika Apte makes for some of the film’s warmest moments. But the actor who dazzles here is Pitobash Tripathy as the eccentric small-time goon Mandook, who steals every scene he’s in.
A living, breathing slice of busy Mumbai, this film has dark humor running through its veins: whether it’s the opening scene in which Tusshar and his partners rob a prominent author, or the scene in a restaurant’s toilet where Pitobash gets even with a former acquaintance. There is comedy even in the film’s dark climax, which for me was the only baffling portion of this film.
I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five for Shor in the City. This is one of those films that completely surprised me by how much fun it was. Now it’s your turn to find out!