Shanghai (2012 film)

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Official poster for Shanghai 2012
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDibakar Banerjee
Screenplay byUrmi Juvekar
Dibakar Banerjee
Based onZ
by Vassilis Vassilikos
Produced byAjay Bijli
Dibakar Banerjee
Sanjeev K Bijli
Priya Sreedharan
StarringEmraan Hashmi
Abhay Deol
Farooq Shaikh,
Kalki Koechlin
Prosenjit Chatterjee
Pitobash Tripathy
CinematographyNikos Andritsakis
Edited byNamrata Rao
Music bySongs:
Background Score:
Mikey McCleary
Distributed byPVR Pictures
Release date
  • 8 June 2012 (2012-06-08)
Running time
120 minutes
Box office349 million (US$4.9 million) million[1]

Shanghai is a 2012 Indian Hindi-language political thriller film co written, co produced and directed by Dibakar Banerjee, starring Emraan Hashmi, Farooq Shaikh, Abhay Deol, Kalki Koechlin and Prosenjit Chatterjee. It is a remake of 1969 French movie Z which was based on the Greek novel Z by Vassilis Vassilikos. On 6 June 2012, the high court refused stay on the release of the film. It received critical acclaim upon its release on 8 June 2012. The film became moderately successful at the box office.


The film is set in the fictional city of Bharat Nagar, which is hailed as an example of progress through infrastructure. State government is planning to build an International Business Park (IBP), making the city a Shanghai.

Bhaggu (Pitobash Tripathy) participates in the assault of a local bookstore owner who stocked the copies of Dr. Ahmadi's (Prosenjit Chatterjee) latest book, which criticises the local political party Morcha for ignoring the plight of the poor in its quest for infrastructure. Ahmadi, a socialist academic, is scheduled to visit Bharat Nagar for a speech. Shalini (Kalki Koechlin), a former student of Ahmadi, is part of a small group that struggles to raise awareness about the underside of the local party's platform. Jogi (Emraan Hashmi) works in a video shop of questionable repute with the owner Vinod (Chandrahas Tiwari). Krishnan (Abhay Deol), an IAS officer, who is the favourite of the Chief Minister (Supriya Pathak), is assured by Principal Secretary Kaul (Farooq Shaikh) of a promotion and a trip to Stockholm.

Ahmadi arrives from New York City and delivers a scathing speech against the establishment. A mob gathers and attacks his associates. Ahmadi is run over by a Tempo driven by Jaggu (Anant Jog), who is arrested. Ahmadi winds up comatose in a hospital. Shalini is confident that this was a planned attack. Vinod informs Jogi that he has incriminating evidence against the IBP and wants to sell Shalini the tape. Dr. Ahmadi's wife Aruna (Tillotama Shome) agrees to lead a media campaign demanding the truth, though she seems uninterested. The campaign forces the CM's office to set up an inquiry commission headed by Krishnan. Krishnan finds that the police are hiding evidence, so he summons SSP Chavan (Chinmay Mandlekar), who is also uncooperative.

Shalini meets with Vinod but leaves when Vinod says that he won't give the video for free. Later, Vinod is found dead in what looks like an accident. At a later Morcha rally where Jogi is filming, Damle, head of the local party leader Deshnayak's (Kiran Karmarkar) men, informs him that he knows about the tape, subtly threatening him. Jogi is about to pack up and leave town, but he and Shalini discover the identity of the goons. Shalini and her group presents Krishnan with the CD of evidence linking IBP goons to the accident. After viewing it, Krishnan sends out a summons to the leader Deshnayak, who rejects it in a public rally, sparking up a riotous mob. Shalini visits Jogi, and Morcha thugs attack the studio. Jogi and Shalini manage to escape and hide out on the roof until morning. In the chaos of the riots, Bhaggu is found dead, ostensibly killed by Damle's men because of Bhaggu's had threatened Damle that he would spill the beans about attack on Dr. Ahmadi as Damle had not paid the fee for Bhaggu's English classes and was not answering his repeated calls.

Shalini receives a panicked call from her maid Gauri, who says that Gauri's family is in danger. Shalini and Jogi sneak over to Gauri's place, where it is revealed that Jaggu is Gauri's husband. Jogi remembers that Vinod kept a backup of the incriminating video, and sneaks back to the studio to get it. Krishnan meets with the Chief Minister about the inquiry. The Chief Minister, buoyant because she has an opportunity to eventually become Prime Minister, presents Krishnan with the approval of his Stockholm trip, and a high promotion. She also asks Krishnan to stop the probe and hand over all his findings to the CID of the State Police, which shall now investigate the case further.

Jogi finds the CPU amid the studio's wreckage and has a narrow escape from the thugs chasing him. They all show Krishnan the video, which establishes that Deshnayak conspired to have Ahmadi killed and the Chief Minister was complicit in this plan. Krishnan confronts Kaul with the truth, and Kaul threatens to ruin Krishnan's career. Undeterred, Krishnan blackmails Kaul, until Kaul finally leaves to talk to the Home Minister's secretary. In the hospital, Ahmadi's family decide to take him off life support.

An epilogue explains the fate of the major characters: Krishnan refused the chance to go to Stockholm to ensure that a national investigation is opened up as per his plan. Jogi escaped Bharat Nagar but as a pornographer wanted by the police. He is declared untraceable. Shalini wrote a book about the conspiracy, but it is banned in India. In the closing scene, Jaggu is operating a bulldozer demolishing old homes for IBP. A poster carries Aruna's picture with the slogans, "Chief Minister for all, IBP for all."



Filming started in May 2011 in Latur, Maharashtra. The first look was released on 5 April 2012. Shanghai premiered on 7 June 2012 at the IIFA awards in Singapore. The film was released in Bengali in a few locations.


Critical reception[edit]

Madhureeta Mukherjee of ToI gave it 3.5 out 5 stars and said "Whether Shanghai is off-beat or mainstream is debatable, but if you thrive on rustic realistic cinema, however heavy-duty – this (Shanghai) is your pick".[2] Suparna Sharma of The Asian Age rated the movie with 4.5 out of 5 stars: "Director Dibakar Banerjee loves this country dearly and Shanghai is his guttural, anguished wail. But being the super-smart, light-touch director that he is, he conducts the last rites of our beloved country to the loud, cheery strains of the song Bharat Mata ki, Bharat Mata ki... we are in mourning, but we are conducting Bharat Mata’s antim sanskar in a medieval fashion. We are dancing, screaming... And though the lyricist has added “jai bolo” at the end, that’s not the sentiment of this song, or our mourning, or the film. The correct rendition of this song would end with the words “le lo”.[3] Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama rated the movie with 4 out of 5 stars: "On the whole, SHANGHAI is undeniably one of the most politically astute films ever made. It keeps you involved and concerned right from its inception to the harrowing culmination. This is not your usual Bollywood masala film, but a serious motion picture that has a voice, that makes you think, that makes a stunning impact. A must watch!".[4] Mathures Paul of The Statesman gave three and a half out of five stars and wrote "Dibakar Banerjee succeeds in cranking up the tension effortlessly..."[5] Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN gave it 3.5 stars out of 5 saying "'Shanghai' is consistently watchable... It's a good film from one of Hindi cinema's most exciting filmmakers, just not great."[6]

The song "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" (Victory for Mother India) was criticised by Congress party for its lyrics.[7]

Special screening[edit]

After a gap of 2 years, this was the first Hindi, rather Indian film to be screened in Baghdad. It was critically acclaimed there, exceeding gross expectations.


Box office[edit]


Shanghai had a poor first day as it collected around 9–10.5 million net on its first day. The film has just managed average collections at some high end multiplexes of metros during the first weekend, but the box office sales increased the subsequent week.[10] Shanghai showed growth on Saturday of around 25%–30% as it collected in the 4–42.5 million nett region, but it needed much bigger growth as the starting level was so low. Shanghai collected around 7.25–75.0 million nett in two days which is not good.[11] It fell flat on Sunday as collections could not grow as they did on Saturday; it grossed around 120 million nett over the weekend. The approximate breakdown on the weekend are 32.5 million nett on Friday, 42.5 million nett on Saturday and 45.0 million nett on Sunday.[12] Shanghai had a low Monday as it collected around 17.5 million nett. The drop from Friday is less than 50% but collections are too low for a film released on nearly 1000 screens. Overall the movie was moderately successful.


Shanghai was dull overseas grossing around $325,000. The film did not release in UK.[13]

Satellite rights[edit]

The satellite rights of Shanghai have been sold for 8 crore and the music rights for Rs 2.75 crore. Also, 20% of theatrical rights have been sold for 40 million.[14]


Soundtrack album by
GenreFeature film soundtrack
Vishal-Shekhar chronology
Student of the Year

The album was composed by Vishal-Shekhar. It received positive responses. rated it 8/10 quoting "That makes a Hat-Trick for V-S. Must Buy." The review by Music Aloud said "After that brilliant start to 2012, Vishal Shekhar continue their good form, spinning off another winner" and rated it 8/10. Lyrics were penned by Dibakar Banerjee, Neelesh Misra, Kumaar, Vishal Dadlani and Anvita Dutt.

Track listing
1."Bharat Mata Ki Jai"Vishal-ShekharKeerthi Sagathia, Mandar Apte, Chintamani Sohoni, R N Iyer, Bhupesh4:06
2."Imported Kamariya"Vishal-ShekharRicha Sharma, Vishal Dadlani, Shekhar Ravjiani3:58
3."Duaa"Vishal-ShekharArijit Singh, Nandini Srikar4:20
4."Khudaaya"Vishal-ShekharShekhar Ravjiani, DJ Kiran, Raja Hasan2:57
5."Morcha"Vishal-ShekharRaja Hasan3:32
6."Bharat Mata Ki Jai" (Remix)Vishal-ShekharVishal Dadlani, DJ Kiran, Keerti Sagathia3:15
7."Khudaaya" (Remix)Vishal-ShekharShekhar Ravjiani, DJ Kiran3:26
8."Mantra: Vishnu Sahasranamam" (The Thousand Names of Lord Vishnu)Vishal-ShekharSrivatsa Krishna4:55


  1. ^ a b c "Shanghai". Box Office India. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  2. ^ Mukherjee, Madhureeta. "Shanghai". The Times of India. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  3. ^ "Dibakar's Bharat ki khoj". The Asian Age.
  4. ^ Adarsh, Taran. "Shanghai". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  5. ^ Paul, Mathures. "A sinister scrutiny of political power". The Statesman. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
  6. ^ " CNN-News18 Breaking News India, Latest News Headlines, Live News Updates". News18. Archived from the original on 10 June 2012.
  7. ^ Shanghai's Bharat Mata Ki Jai courts trouble Archived 18 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Hindustan Times, 4 May 2012.
  8. ^ "OMG, Paan Singh Tomar receive awards for spreading social messages". Indian Television Dot Com. 24 January 2013.
  9. ^ "Winners – Mirchi Music Award Hindi 2012". Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  10. ^ "Shanghai Has Poor First Day". 9 June 2012.
  11. ^ "Shanghai Shows Growth on Saturday". 10 June 2012.
  12. ^ "Shanghai Falls Flat on Sunday". 10 June 2012.
  13. ^ "Shanghai Dull Rowdy Rathore At $2.75 Million". 13 June 2012. Archived from the original on 17 June 2012.
  14. ^ Shanghai surprises Bollywood trade gurus

External links[edit]