Sanjay Gupta has given a film that remains too low on the scale of context or connect
A film of this genre has fixed predetermined notes. Mumbai Saga checks them all. What is sad is that it adds not a single new one. Shootout at Lokhandwala, Shootout at Wadala, Daddy, Class of ’83 or even Vaastav– if you’ve watched all these films, you exactly know what you have in store in this one. You find an uncanny resemblance with Manya Surve here (Shootout at Wadala) since John Abraham remains common. Even Emraan Hashmi of Mumbai Saga is so much similar to Anil Kapoor of Shootout at Wadala.
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The film chronicles the rise of a simple man Amartya Rao (John Abraham) into the infamous world of crime in Mumbai.
Written by Gupta, the screenplay is penned by him along with Robin Bhatt. Had this story been thought of in early 2000s or been made as the first ever film on such a topic, it would have definitely been a winner. You don’t like this one only because this subject has been done to death wherein the journey of a character is almost same. A simple man who’s got nothing to do with crime, and one torturous incident ignites that fire that is to last forever. Thus Sanjay Gupta film is no different.
After watching this, you actually wonder if Sanjay Gupta has anything more left in him. The signature is clearly visible, for the auteur that he is. But you do feel unsatisfied seeing everything predictable in the narrative. Unnecessary heroism laced with seemingly impactful dialogues (which do work here and there) and an unrealistic world of fiction (at least it seems so). Shootout franchise works in your minds because you do feel it’s a real story. Here, although it’s a story based on real people, too much drama takes away the charm. Yes, abruptly placed action just to show your hero is capable, seems off. (We know if it’s John, he can. No need to hammer on to us to reinstate).
The film is so predictable and casting too obvious that you know who would do what. If you have Pratiek Babbar in a role or Rohit Roy or even Suniel Shetty, you guess what the writer must have written for them and bingo, they behave exactly in the same manner. Yes, there is some adrenaline rush and emotional connect in how Amartya feels for his brother Arjun (Pratiek). That brings in some respite.
Some references to Dawood Ibrahim and Bal Thackeray have been thrown at you to make you believe it happened for real. But doesn’t make any difference to the plot otherwise. The police here is typical and while you make your assumptions about the bad men, you also get happy when your predictions about the cops also get right. But, if your predictions get right everyone in a film, isn’t that something to worry about?
The sepia works well for the film transporting you to a period gone by. The city of Mumbai does play a role in the film’s narrative, but hardly anything has been done to present it in a light different from already has been done.
John Abraham suits in the role and whatever you like in the film is because of him. His screen presence is both powerful and appealing. Emraan Hashmi also lives up to his role, and with a few strong one liners, wins you over.
Mahesh Manjrekar is good, and for him it’s been a very easy role. He suits though with his strict, shrewd and rigid persona. Kajal Agrawal has her presence in the narrative and she makes sure to bring in depth whenever she is on screen. She also renders the film the much needed breather from the otherwise overdose of machoism.
Pratiek Babbar has a significant role and he does full justice to it. You like him more in the later part of the film. Amole Gupte is very very good, showcasing both a wicked and a subtle funny side.
Suniel Shetty has a small role and his appearance does nothing but to add star appeal into the film. Gulshan Grover, the legend has been completely wasted here in trying to make the characters more. Remove his character and the film would still run properly.
Rohit Roy performs ably and even in a supporting role, he makes his presence felt. Sameer Soni has a good role but his acting is all over the place. Too loud and over. Anjana Sukhani makes a small screen appearance and she is just okay.
Music by Yo Yo Honey Singh and Payal Dev are passé. Nothing about it is endearing. The score by Amar Mohile is good and evokes some determination within you while you watch the film.
Camera by Shikhar Bhatnagar is almost poor. The close-ups get so close that mostly, the heads and chins chop off. And mind you, there’s too much of this. Other than this, he has tried to give you different angles (reminding you of RGV films to some extent) but hasn’t been able to accomplish the objective. Production design by Priya Suhas could be better in terms of locations. More of the city would have accentuated the visual appeal. The usage of sepia has been a good decision.
Editing Bunty Nagi is decent. The flow of the film is okay to say the least. The plot points are all known. The start and the end of the film and the character is all very much known. So just okay.
This film doesn’t belong to 2021. Without the content or the fervor, the film holds little value. The effort has been taken well and it shows. But the film won’t get much takers. Only those who are into utterly casual cinema viewing, which in no way is wrong.