Kolkata: Trailers of the upcoming political thriller 'Shanghai' remind the audience of the land acquisition troubles at Singur and Nandigram as well as the promise made by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of turning Kolkata into London, but director Dibakar Banerjee denies any such link.
"No particular person or incident has inspired my film. What happened in Singur has also happened at other places. What has been said by a politician in Maharashtra might have been said by a Kashmiri politician as well," Dibakar said when asked about similarities between the film and what has happened in the state.
Stating that focusing only on one incident would have limited the range of 'Shanghai', the director said his film talks of an "all-India phenomenon" where development by means of displacement of the poor has become an issue. The trailer of the film quotes an Indian chief minister as saying "I will bring Shanghai to India" reminding Mamata's promise of turning Kolkata into London.
Starring Bollywood actors Abhay Deol, Emraan Hashmi and Kalki Koechlin, the film is slated for a June release.
On the other hand, Bengali superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee, who plays a political activist, is shown as addressing a group of people advising them on how to handle land acquisition issues. Some of Banerjee's earlier works have been based on real-life stories. His last film 'Love Sex aur Dhokha' was loosely based on the infamous 2004 MMS scandal in Delhi Public School (DPS) while 'Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!' (2008) was inspired by real life shenanigans of Bunty who had robbed hundreds of houses and showrooms in New Delhi.
When asked about 'Shanghai', Dibakar said, to fulfil the middle-class dream of living in a developed city, many poor communities and even villages are uprooted to make way for swanky shopping malls, special economic zones and flyovers. "This kind of development has become a debated issue which has been discussed in the film. Politicians promise us that we will become China or a Western market economy overnight," the director said.
Starring Bollywood actors Abhay Deol, Emraan Hashmi and Kalki Koechlin, the film is slated for a June release. Exploring the dark side of politics, it is an adaptation of Greek author Vassilis Vassilikos's thriller 'Z'. "Intellectuals and experts always compare our growth with that of China and Western countries. 'Shanghai' represents that dream of Indian middle class families where they wish to have an overnight change of shifting to a city like Shanghai," Dibakar said.
"But once you come out of those posh-looking malls, you realise that there are slums and poverty scattered all around. That is the truth called India," he said. Interestingly, 'Shanghai' has not even a single shot from China.
"Since it's a film about the Indian dream of turning into Shanghai overnight, we shot in real locations where crowd and sweltering heat gave us company and where mosquitoes kept biting us," Dibakar said.