Development @ what cost? A film review of 'Shanghai' (June, 2012)

  • Piyush Roy


One may wonder why a film on the politics of development in an Indian city is called Shanghai. The trigger for the film apparently was one of ex- Maharashtra Chief Minister and Indian National Congress Party leader Vilasrao Deshmukh’s 2004 pre-election clarion pledges to make ‘Mumbai the next Shanghai’ – a futuristic city imagery defined by higher high rises, swankier malls, cleaner (poor free!) environs and clogs free infrastructure... In brief, a builder’s playing ground or a capitalist’s paradise! It was an effectively rhyming, pro-development regional slogan attempting a one-up on Bhartiya Janata Party’s national level ‘Indian Shining’ campaign of the 2000s. ‘Shanghai’ since, courtesy the voluble sloganeering in favour of, and against the idea in Mumbai’s media space, has been consciously transformed from a proper noun to an adjective of aspiration in the psyche of Mumbaikars (the residents of Mumbai), which Dibakar Bannerjee’s latest film dissects, spoofs and critiques...(cont'd)

How to Cite
Roy, P. (2012). Development @ what cost? A film review of ’Shanghai’ (June, 2012). The South Asianist Journal, 1(1). Retrieved from