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Shabri  : Wildcat on the prowl
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Friday, August 26, 2011
Crime, Action
Lalit Marathe
Eesha Koppikar, Manish Wadhwa, Pradeep Rawat, Raj Arjun, Zakir Hussain, Vijay Kadechkar, Sanjay Kulkarni
Languishing in the cans for almost five years, this is the tale of a slumgirl who turns into the first female don of Mumbai, controlling a major gambling operation and threatening the powers that rule the world of crime.
 
The plot: Somewhere in the grimy interiors of the slum she lives in, Shabri (Eesha Koppikar) nicknamed jungle billi, works in a flour mill to fend for her family. Bandya, her useless brother, hangs out in bad company and eventually gets bumped off. Not one to wring her hands and ask for help to avenge her brother’s death, she shoots his killer dead and goes on the run in just a tattered sari, eloping with Murad (Raj Arjun). And so the chase begins. Murad loses his life, as does Shabri’s father. She’s desperate as she fights, flees, manipulates, claws her way back into the reckoning and does the impossible – she gets crime lord Bhausaheb (Pradeep Rawat) killed.

The good: Directed and written by debutant Lalit Marathe, the story gives a gritty edge to the current crop of dark films that linger on the underworld and the lawless. The film manages to make you believe in the brutality of the cop-killing female gangster – wild, rugged, yet somehow attractive. The story is lucid, simple and flows smoothly. Eesha Koppikar gives a spirited performance as she immerses herself in the grit and grime of her character. Other supporting actors too, make their presence felt. Another good aspect of this film is that there is no gratuitous insertion of songs. Even the intimate scenes are presented aesthetically while formulaic sequences have been avoided.

The bad: The story is predictable and lacks major thrill-giving twists and turns. The plot remains at a single level almost throughout with few variations. At times the scenes are inordinately stretched and reduce the pace required for a racy film like this. The scenes of Shabri meeting the cop repeatedly are unrealistic and take away from the tempo.
 
Overall: This could’ve been an interesting watch for its novelty and upper class performances. A little more substance could have taken this wildcat leaping far ahead!     

– Pooja Thakkar

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