Movie Review: Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai (2010)
Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai: Amongst Bollywood’s best underworld sagas
Rating: 3.5 out of 5*
Starring: Ajay Devgan, Emraan Hashmi, Kangana Ranaut, Prachi Desai and Randeep Hooda
Director: Milan Luthria
You seldom get period dramas in Bollywood which are not about historical characters. This year that way has been very lucky that way. Couple of months ago we had Badmaash Company and now we have Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai. Of course both are completely different from each other, the first being set in the fast 90s and the latter being set in colourful 70s. And director Milan Luthria makes enough efforts to make OUATIM look very authentic and worth a watch for its settings.
Settings apart the film has its pluses with some superb performances and great dialogues. However the problem with the film is the not so new storyline and the very slow screenplay. Though the characters are well established and well rounded the writer takes the entire first half to do that without much movement in the story. And then as you expect fireworks in the second half it fizzles out too fast.
OUATIM is the story of two gangsters. While one was ethical the other was reckless. It has inspirations of the characters of infamous smuggler Haji Mastan and now infamous don Dawood Ibrahim. The film is about Sultan (Ajay Devgn) who labored through his childhood and became a smuggler as he grew up completely ruling the sea routes. He however always preferred keeping the city clean and never smuggles which was against his conscience. Shoaib (Emraan Hashmi) is inspired by Sultan’s life as a child and wants to it as big. He is a son of a police officer but has no inclination towards the law. As he grows up he makes his way to Sultan’s gang and proves himself good enough to go up the ladder fast. However his reckless ambitions soon outgrew Sultan and he decided to take over the city on his own.
The story is built on the line – ‘behind the myth is the city’s greatest betrayal story’. The screenplay does not give much importance to the betrayal. The slow pace of the first half could be a put off. Also funnily Sultan and his girlfriend Rehana never seem to age as they continue to look the same even as Shoaib grows from a child to rustic young crook.
The film has its pluses. Luthria has taken care of everything – right from trains to cars to sunglasses to shoes to buildings! Everything takes us back to the 70s. Luthria handles the dramatic moments well and great use has been made of dialoguebaazi. All actors have come up with some memorable performances. Ajay Devgn’s overpowering presence is matched by Emraan’s charm. Kangna Ranaut and Prachi Desai do their bits well though they don’t bear many consequences on the story itself. Randeep Hooda is effective as the police office.
Overall, ‘Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai’ is an entertainer. It does not need any effort to be understood of liked. It is the mere magic of characters created that makes this film worth watching.