Movie review: Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai

Title: Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Kangna Ranaut, Prachi Desai, Randeep Hooda
Director: Milan Luthria
Producer: Ekta Kapoor

Yes, Mumbai is spelt that way in the movie’s title and I am sure this ‘spelling’ has been edited because of Ekta Kapoor and her immense belief in numerology. That’s it – that’s the most I can attack Ekta Kapoor after watching Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai because she has proved her point, she has shut up her critics, and how!

OUATIM (Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai) is a movie all about the power tussle between two 
men who rose to power in Mumbai set in the 70’s through questionable practises and dealings. 
The two main characters are Sultan Mirza and Shoaib Khan, whose characterisation borrows heavily from the real characters of Haji Mastaan and Dawood Ibrahim respectively. 
Set in the 70’s, OUATIM begins with the story of Sultan Mirza (Ajay Devgn), who, taking advantage of India’s closed
economy, started smuggling things which were much in demand in India. Transistors, Two-in-ones, watches, soaps, television sets – all luxuries that the common Indian was deprived of because there were no foreign brands available in the country at that time. Though shown as a smuggler, Sultan has 
been shown as a principled man, a la Robin Hood – who steals from the rich and helps the poor.. certain scenes in the movie highlight this just and kind shade to his character, making it very interesting
and real. 
As the story progresses, the viewer is taken through a tale of power,ego,money,drugs,murder and smuggling as Shoaib Khan (Emraan Hashmi), starting off as Sultan’s protege rises to challenge
his power and position in the ‘trade’. I will not let out anything more about the plot as the real fun lies in watching all this unfold. 
Getting the looks and the details for a movie set in the 70’s was not an easy task but full marks to the costume designers for getting the look right, for each and every character. Be it the hairstyles or the shoes, everything fit in perfectly.. one little gripe though – Emraan Hashmi’s 6-pack did not quite fit in the scheme of things set in the 70’s.. a normal ‘healthy’ look would have been better as Shoaib has been shown as a petty thief in the beginning sequences. 

Another delightful feature of the movie is the dialogues and the screenplay. The dialogues are so 
powerful that they remind one of those written for old Amitabh Bachchan classics like Zanjeer and Deewar. Rajat Arora does full justice to the 70’s theme by writing power-packed dialogues, don’t be surprised if you find yourself clapping in the theatre! Apart from that, the writing, again by Rajat Arora is crisp and taut. Well done, Mr.Arora!
Supported by well etched central characters and a nice storyline, the movie is taken to an altogether 
different level by Ajay Devgn’s performance as Sultan Mirza. Borrowing from Haji Mastan’s character, the similarities are too easy not to notice – the white clothes, the fling with a superstar, the ideals, the political angle.. however, Ajay Devgn breathes life into the character, making it very believable and powerful. Whenever he appears on screen, you are bound to get piqued – such is the power of his performance. Using his best assets,his eyes, to the maximum, Ajay Devgn adds one more role to the long list of brilliantly played serious roles in his career. Ably supported by Emraan Hashmi, Ajay and Emraan share a curious chemistry on screen, which is another strength of the movie.  Prachi has a miniscule role but is good.. same for Kangna, who has put up a decent act, looking ethereal throughout 
the movie.
After Taxi no 9211 and Hattrick, Luthria makes a great comeback with OUATIM while Ekta Kapoor adds one more good film to her kitty after Shootout At Lokhandwala. Overall, OUATIM is a great watch and will tell you lots about India in the 70’s… watch as the film makes you rewind to the 70’s, in style!
Rating – 3.5/5
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20 thoughts on “Movie review: Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai

  1. Hmmm… Well written :)I do agree with the "six-pack" factor.. When I was watching the movie, I pointed out the same thing…:P and yeah, Ajay Devgn was brilliant !! But why just 3.5 stars..?? I'd go in for 4 🙂

  2. Re. dialogs – I must say I disagree. Were the 70's a time when every guy spoke in similes and metaphors? All the time? Or was it just gangsters and politicians? Overkill, I say.

  3. I have seen them, just that I cannot remember so many 'pause-here-I-am-with-an-awesome-metaphor/simile/badass dialog moment'. The emphasis being on 'so many'. Even the dialogs that keep getting recalled in spoofs of those 70's movies tend to be conversational in nature, not metaphorical. I recall craving for normal dialog while watching Once Upon…

  4. Yes, you are right.. There aren't so many.. but the way they've been used, like the 'ek se badhkar ek' funda where the hero would trump over the villain just by the dialogs..

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