Sunday, June 16, 2013

Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai: Film Review

Emraan Hashmi, Kangna, Ajay Devgan, Gangster, Dawood Ibrahim

On the cusp of the release of Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai Again/Dobara, I figured I would watch the first Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai, a seventies era film.This movie is rumored to be loosely based on real-life gangsters,  Haji Mastan and Dawood Ibrahim.What drew me to this movie was: Emraan Hashmi, Kangna Raunat and the soundtrack. After the disaster that was Himmatwala this year, I didn't really want to see Ajay Devgan's face again, but I reluctantly dug into the past and pulled this movie out.

 Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai begins with a cop, Agnel Wilson (Randeep Hooda) who tries to kill himself by driving his car into a river. When he is taken in by his commanding officer for questioning he narrates our movie to us. It begins with a young orphan,Sultan Mirza, (later played by Ajay Devgan) who shovels coal for just a few rupees a day. Pretty soon he begins to smuggle for rich men, and then bham, he is now the biggest underworld don.

Kangna and Ajay Devgan, Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai, White
Our little gangster has a crush
Sultan is a benevolent don. He divides Mumbai into four regions, refraining from giving one person total power. He also does not smuggle contraband, so therefore he is looked at as having higher integrity than the others like him. Our big bad white suit wearing gangster Sultan, however has a childlike crush on leading actress Rehana (Kangna Raunat). He does ridiculous, but amusing things to get her attention. He buys a guava for 400 rupees and presents it to her, he waits for her for 18 days at her favorite restaurant, and he even eats bitter gourd for her. What a guy! So they eventually fall in love, hence Rahat's Tum Jo Aaye Zindagi Mein. Their love story is the cutest part of the movie, but its fades away so quickly as Agnel closes in and our second star, Shoaib Khan (Emraan Hashmi) surfaces.

So we see our Dawood Ibrahim, Shoaib, as a bratty child in the beginning, starkly contrasting Sultan's demeanor at a child. He is a defiant, hot-blooded young thing who likes to steal change out of pay phones with his chubby accomplice. He threatens the man who reports him and takes him to his police officer father. When Shoaib grows up he is an even more disgusting person. He harasses customers at the store where love interest, Mumtaz (Prachi Desai) works and commits with robberies.
Emraan Hashmi, Prachi Desai, Bobby, Once Upon A Time in Mumbai
I think you should dress up like Dimple Kapadia from Bobby. Do it.

 His police officer dad for some ridiculous reason asks Sultan to take take Shoaib under his wing. This when the trouble starts in Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai. Shoaib's character is barely endearing besides the scene where he buys Mumtaz liquor and a snack mix with his first paycheck, claiming that this is what he does with his friends, and he doesn't know what to do for girls. So, basically Shoaib being the disgusting person he is, tries to overthrow Sultan to take over power.

The events in the Once Upon a Time in Mumbai pan out realistically and the acting is top notch. The women unfortunately aren't essential to the plot, but they did add some romance and release of tension. Ajay Devgan is easily the most likable character. It is almost as if he was tailor made for this role. The best part about Sultan's character is that he was flawed, but still lovable. Hashmi's character, on the other hand, was so easy to hate and so hard to love. So in the end, the music was fabulous, the plot moved quickly, and the acting was great. The downside was that all police mama drama gets a little boring sometimes, but give it a chance, you won't regret Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai, like I regretted Himmatwala.

BB