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Above: Dibakar Banerjee, Director/Co-Producer of Shanghai at Toronto International Film Festival (City to City: Mumbai)

(110 min.): Dibakar Banerjee, Director/Co-Producer
Toronto International Film Festival - City to City: Mumbai

This very physical, and action-based story of corruption, mystery and intrigue, was filmed in India. The film had moments of excitement, of drama, but there was a lack of dialogue, to the English-speaking viewer. It was obvious that the actors said a great deal in the original language, but the actual subtitles were limited, basic and vague. The saving grace, however, was the charming and succinct dialogue of the director himself. There was one scene, for example, that had Paul (my editor) very confused… in the midst of a car-chase, a group of dancers blocked traffic, and interrupted the action. For a North American viewer, this is confusing… to say the least. The director explained that, in India, many movie venues have air-conditioning, and with such a hot climate, it is customary to allow audience members to take a break from their seats, stretch, and do a little dance. Usually, it seems as though the actors are actually involved in the break and dance number. That this siesta would take place in the middle of a car-chase, therefore, is unusual, especially within the film itself. It’s as though the director was shedding light on his countries traditions in a context that we action-driven North Americans would begin to understand. It was a very interesting discussion, and, as a whole, an interesting concept. It is a pity that much of the dialogue seemed to be ignored, and seemed to be lost in the translation. With the directors’ explanation, there appeared to be a very in-depth and interesting film at play, but much of it was geared towards an audience who could understand both the language and the customs. Foreign films deserve to be respected in communities other than which they were created, and close attention to detailed and properly executed subtitles are nearly as important as production, casting and direction.


A small Indian town prepares to become the next "SHANGHAI" overnight as billions of dollars are poured into an infrastructure project backed by the ruling political party. On the eve of its launch, a drunken truck driver mows down a prominent social activist.

A bureaucrat, Abhay Deol, a pornographer, Emraan Hashmi and a desperate activist, Kalki Koechlin, get embroiled in an "official enquiry" into the incident. Justice, revenge and profit jostle for space in a city ruled by the mob, exposing the seamy layers beneath "Shining India's" new economy



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