SHOR IN THE CITY revolves around three loosely interconnected stories set in the midst of the noise and soot of Mumbai during Ganeshotsav festival. Abhay [Sendhil Ramamurthy], an outsider, is forced to come to terms with the fact that he is alone in an unwelcoming city, which he thought was home. Tilak [Tusshar Kapoor] is an honest bootlegger who pulls scams with his unruly buddies Ramesh [Nikhil Dwivedi] and Mandook [Pitobash]. They chance upon a rare loot on a local train, which opens up new, dangerous avenues for them. Young Sawan [Sundeep Kishan] has one goal, and more importantly, the only option – to get into the Mumbai Junior Cricket team. In a city where corruption is a way of life, the goal comes at a price – he needs to find the money first. Directors Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K. deserve brownie points for their choice of the subject and most importantly, for handling it with aplomb. Though the situations are simple and the tone serious, the film offers laughs in decent doses. Besides the skilful direction, the film is embellished with a taut screenplay [Raj Nidimoru, Krishna D.K., Sita Menon] that leads to an explosive, stunning, nail-biting finale. In fact, the penultimate moments are pure dynamite and any misgivings or shortcomings you may’ve had vis-Ã -vis the pace of the film vanishes into thin air when you watch the finale explode right in front of your eyes. Besides a watertight screenplay, the film is embellished with exceptional cinematography that’s just hard to overlook [Tushar Kanti Ray] and some truly wonderful dialogue. Although there’s not much scope for music [Sachin-Jigar], ‘Saibo’ and ‘Karma Is A Bitch’ do catch your attention – the former due to the soothing melody, the latter due to its infectious tune. SHOR IN THE CITY belongs to the men, while the women [Radhika Apte, Preeti Desai and Girija Oak] take a backseat. Radhika [RAKHT CHARITRA, I AM] is a natural, while Preeti has good screen presence. Girija does a fine job. As for the men, Tusshar, Sendhil, Nikhil, Pitobash and Sundeep – each one shines in their respective parts. Tusshar’s character in SHOR IN THE CITY is a stark contrast to the characters he has portrayed in the GOLMAAL series. He displays a humane side that’s sure to win hearts. Pitobash is simply outstanding and without doubt, the discovery of the season. His performance is bound to be talked about. Sendhil is efficient, displaying helplessness and anger with remarkable ease, while Nikhil is striking, especially towards the second hour. Note the sequence in the end, after the bank robbery goes wrong. Sundeep is first-rate, who, like Sendhil, displays vulnerability with natural ease. Amit Mistry is remarkable. Zakir Hussain is excellent.
On the whole, SHOR IN THE CITY belongs to one of those rare categories of movies with sensibilities that would not only entice the festival crowd and the cinema literate, but also lure the ardent moviegoer. Although it is not your standard Bollywood entertainer and nor does it have your customary flippant and frivolous humor, it prides itself on a certain distinctive Indian appeal with elements of adventure, thrill and drama with its understated and minimalist humor which makes it stand out in the crowd. I robustly recommend, try not to miss this one!