Friday, 16 August 2013

Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara : Movie Review

It had enough going for it – a no-nonsense script, a clipped pace, punchy dialogues and spiffy cinematography – to justify its 160-minure runtime. Yet Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara! falls well short of being quite as engaging as the film that it is a sequel to despite of the fact that it starts well and shows some sparks by entertaining you in the first half. The reason is pretty obvious: the characters that Ajay Devgn and Emraan Hashmi fleshed out in Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai were infinitely more complex and nuanced. Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara!, is a raunchy playboy who transforms into a wrathful and obsessive lover. Not a diabolical underworld don by miles. There is something incongruous about a Dawood remotely akin to Rahul in Darr. That Akshay Kumar plays the role with a lot of relish does not really help. The ersatz, 1970s-style dialogue-baazi, many notches worse than those in Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai (2010), combined with script going haywire in second half—add to the banal claptrap that it is. This is done-to-noisy-death gangsterism done with heartbreaking seriousness. It takes some doing to wrap up such a time-worn love triangle into a pretence of modern storytelling. The subsequent spinoffs have gotten seriously diluted. This one is a sequel to Luthria’s 2010 film where Ajay Devgn’s imposing personality and gravelly voice had made the pale and sometime unintentionally funny proceedings bearable. This film wallows in a kind of imbecilic irreverence where the protagonists seem bold brave, sexy and even brazen but are actually cardboard versions of the triangular lovers in some earlier good triangle love stories we have seen.  But at least love triangles of the past were honest about their melodramatic intentions.  Once Upon A Time...Dobaara cloaks its outdated radical ideas in a rumbustious display of trendiness. But yes, it can be watched once for some of its witty n hard hitting dialogues & the first half which has some sparkling moments infusing good amount of entertainment. 
SCRIPT & SCREENPLAY                 :      The credit for the story as well as screenplay goes to Rajat Arora who won lot of hearts with his storyline as well as dialogues for The Dirty Picture n prequel to this movie i.e. Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai . The disappointment is that at no point in the story does one feel that the two rivals in love would care enough for the woman to actually put their long-nurtured bonding at stake and bay for each other’s blood. One of the two men is unable to express his feelings for the girl until it is too late; the other propositions her with as much grace as a village yokel, hurling gifts, including a penthouse on the city’s highest skyscraper, at her. What is most upsetting is how the vital lines flounder the most: unrelated inanities pop up throughout, but it is when the script actually demands a line with some heft that there is none to be found. It is as if the writers copy-paste lines from railway station shayari books whenever they can, but at times of actual dramatic punch, nothing fits. A flavour of flagrant criminality is created through back-projected nostalgia. The film opens with an archival cricket match ‘fixed’ by the all-powerful underworld don. The sequences seem more ‘fixed’ by the director than the Dubai-based ganglord would have ever imagined. Fleets of black and yellow Fiat cars ply up and down Mumbai’s roads in a show of periodicity. A wanton woman (Sophie Chowdhary, in a seductive cameo) cheats on her unsuspecting husband, making out with the dreaded don in the backroom at a noisy party.  Coming to the storyline, The survivor from the first installment is the protagonist of this film. He is now older, meaner and given to ways that are more ruthless than the ones he learnt on the way up. The coldblooded gangster, now played by Akshay Kumar, returns from an offshore location to reclaim his turf in the city of his birth. Shoaib makes a huge hoo-ha about the fact that he isn’t a hero, but a villain. His philosophy is rudimentary: good guys go to heaven; bad guys experience the bliss of paradise on earth. His methods are heavy-handed, and he delivers forceful one-liners at the drop of a hat. Some of them do come off pretty well and are certain to draw applause from Akshay Kumar fans. The conventional villain, Rawal (Mahesh Manjrekar), Shoaib’s principal underworld opponent, is reduced to playing second fiddle. The younger mobster Aslam (Imran Khan), a pre-teen biker who was picked off the mean streets by the big-talking mafia don more than a decade ago and turned into a trusted lieutenant, has grown up swearing blind allegiance to his mentor. Trouble erupts when the two men fall in love with the same girl, Jasmine Sheikh (Sonakshi Sinha), a Kashmiri lass who has come down to Mumbai to act in the movies. 

STARCAST                                                    :             This is Akshay Kumar’s film all the way – he struts around with the cocky confidence that he owns every frame. Akshay Kumar is so sleazy that he will crack you up with his dialogue delivery which is outright hilarious. Akshay lives like a king in the movie as he returns as villain after 12 years. He was last seen as the bad guy in Khiladi. Akshay brings his character alive with the dialogues and style. For a change, we enjoy watching the bad guy say lines such as 'Peene ki capacity, jeene ki strength, account ka balance aur naam ka kauff kabhi bhi kam na hona chahiye'. In the movie, Shoaib says that he is not a player, but the game itself, and here we have Akshay who is more or less the story himself.  It is for Imran Khan as Aslam in the movie playing an ambitious young lad who starts off pretty well by giving us some good action and chase in the train scene. Imran sheds his milksop lover-boy image and takes on a tougher guise for the second time in his career after Matru Ki Bijlee.., that this film could prove to be a breakthrough. He provides evidence that he can handle a wider range of roles than he is usually allowed to play. Sonakshi, too, is given generous play by the screenplay, and she measures up to the demands of the role. In this film, she is a chatterbox replete with idioticity which the director frames as naiveness. She shrieks as if possessed in the climax scene as bombards all her good, if she had done any. In short, she has not been able to live up to the expectations especially after her great performance in LooteraThere is only one solid scene that the director gave to actress Sonali Bendre and she was brilliant in it.  In few minutes, she added depth to her character and managed to convey the emotional wreckage Shoaib’s love had caused her! Mahesh Manjrekar’s buffonery was a pain in the literal sense of the word and he has been simply wasted. In the supporting cast, Pitobash as Aslam’s childhood pal Dedh Taang & Abhimanyu Singh as the tough cop stand out. Amongst the ensemble actors, Tiku Talsania, Deepraj Rana, Chetan Hansraj and Sarfaraz Khan have given a good performance.   

 TECHNICAL FINESSE                                :             The music for this flick has been composed by one of the current favorite's i.e. Pritam Da but alias he has delivered a ordinary soundtrack. But credit must go to Sandeep Shirodkar who has composed astounding background score for the movie which enlivens the proceedings. One other person who has done fabulous work and delivered the goods is, Priya Suhas (Production Designer) who has kept the aesthetics as per the era shown in the flick. It is through the lens of cinematographer Ayananka Bose that, Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara! is shot in muted hues, which captures both the street-level dread and the soaring sparkle of 1980s Bombay with consistent sharpness. The movie has been edited by Akiv Ali who has done a good job but the movie seems to drag a bit in its second half and the overall length of the movie could have been reduced from its run-time of 160 minutes. Director Milan Luthria along with his writer Rajat Arora makes it a point not to go down the path that was prevalent in Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai. This time he has focused more on the love life of the main protagonists instead of their histrionics which has resulted in making the movie kind of a potpourri. The basic flaw of Milan Luthria this time, which shakes your interest is a overly sterilised narrative that presents every hint of passion between the girl and the two men only as flights of the febrile male imagination running riot to the accompaniment of ‘romantic’ songs He opts for a more restrained approach to the rivalry between two larger-than-life gangsters over a desirable ingenue, who walks into the crossfire without ever realizing how bad things are going to get for her. What robs the film of genuine traction is that the action seems to unfold in a disinfected bubble that is out of bounds for the urban realities of the era.

WOW MOMENTS                                   :         Aslam (Imran Khan)’s friend making out with his girlfriend in the car while Aslam gives angrezi lessons to Jasmine (Sonakshi Sinha) is a nicely-conceived moment. One of the ‘jokes’ that ties Sonakshi’s character to her lover-by Imran Khan is his misuse of the word ‘intercourse’. Another scene which stands out is when there is an all-points bulletin for Shoaib's arrest, the gangster, fed up by the police, strides defiantly into a police station and is... well, utterly ignored as he stands there and walks out again.

CONCLUSION                                           :      
Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara! is equal parts a gangster flick and a love triangle. Two films for the price of one? Not quite, because neither half rises to any great heights in terms of drama. Rather sad, because there is a great deal in the film that is quite impressive, not the least among which is the fact that the storyline, despite the occasional flaccid passage, remains completely focused on the three principal characters. So, while going to watch it don't go with a mindset of expecting the same kind of fireworks that blazed across the screen in Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai, else there is a fair amount of chance that  your expectations might get doomed.

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