Sunday, August 01, 2010

Once Upon a Time in Mumbai

Rating : 6/10
Release Date : 30th July, 2010
Time : 135 minutes
Director : Milan Luthria; Writer : Rajat Arora; Music : Pritam
Starring : Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hasmi, Kangana Ranaut, Prachi Desai, Randeep Hooda

Milan Luthria gives an interesting take on the development of the underworld in Mumbai. He seems to suggest that it may not have been just gang warfare that threw up its current rulers but maybe something else. And he recreates the era very well, in terms of the look and feel, making us relive the era of flairs and long sideburns, and does so without the gore we normally associate with gangster films.

It’s a story of 3 men. First is Sultan (Ajay Devgn), a refugee from Chennai who’s fought his way to the top and now rules Mumbai with an iron fist cased in a velvet glove. He has principles, prefers to divide Mumbai amongst the existing Dons rather than indulge in inter-gang warfare and also unlike the rest, has no issues in leading a lavish lifestyle, dating the top heroine of the times, Rehana (a lovely Kangana). The second man is ACP Agnel Wilson (Randeep Hooda), who is determined to break Sultan’s reign. And the third is the weapon he picks to destroy Sultan, Shoiab (Emraan), a brash, cocky Sultan wannabe who is determined to be rich and powerful, no matter the cost or consequences. Shoaib has a supportive girlfriend, Mumtaz (Prachi), but she is a mute spectator to his shenanigans. And lets just say things dont exactly pan out as the cop would've liked...

The good thing is that the movie actually has a point of view, is trying to drive home a message and it does so by merely showing five characters, we hardly see anyone else, yet an engaging story is developed. The ending is not clich├ęd, the styling is retro yet interesting (Kangana looking divine, Ajay in whites, Emraan in the many colours of the rainbow) and the dialogue crisp and in places witty. The performances are very good. I’ve been saying since the days of Omkara, that few brood better on screen than Ajay Devgn. Emraan comes across as quite believable and Kangana demonstrates quite capably that she can play something else other than an alcoholic psychopath (and look great too).

The pace flagged in a few places though. And it wasn’t always clear what was the film we were watching. Was it Sultan vs the other Dons ? Or Sultan vs the ACP ? Or Sultan vs Shoiab ? Right till the end we’re not quite sure. A couple of relationships are also not fully understood / explained – Shoiab and Sultan’s being one of them and Shoaib and Mumtaz being the other. There are hints but no clarity.

This is a mood film though. There was a time when it was aspirational to be a smuggler. When games of ‘cops & robbers’ were played, there were kids who only wanted to be robbers. They coveted the lifestyle of the smugglers, who had it all, lived in big bungalows, dated film stars, threw big parties, had / drank brands which no one else could. And were feared. The film does a great job of recreating that time in Mumbai….


Divya Prakash said...

engaging review as always



Vikas said...

i loved it !
what dialogs !
kagna though sounds funny.. needs to work on that.. but GORGEOUS !

ajay devgan was outstanding.

the background score was awesome !

the scene abt the watch when he gets shot was brilliant ! still thinking abt it.

"Bombay" is beautiful aint it !

Roy said...

"few brood better on screen than Ajay Devgan"

totally agree! u know it, ur review always gives new VIEW