Milan Luthria has directed quite a few films, none of them except Taxi Number 9211, did too well at the box office. This time he returns with a gangster flick titled Once Upon A Time In Mumbai with a stellar star-cast comprising of exceptionally talented actors like Ajay Devgan, Emraan Hashmi, Kangana Ranaut and Prachi Desai. The support cast includes Randeep Hooda, Avtar Gill, Mehul Bhojak, Gauhar Khan and Naved Aslam.
The story – Once Upon A Time In Mumbai is about Sultan Mirza (played by Ajay Devgan – based on Haji Mastan) and Shoaib Khan (played by Emraan Hashmi – based on Dawood Ibrahim). The film starts with the rise and reign of underworld don Sultan over the city of Mumbai. But things quickly change when his protégé Shoaib takes over and turns into his foe.
What works for Once Upon A Time In Mumbai
- Milan Luthria is in top form and his style of narration is very effective yet refreshing. The film is without doubt his best work to date.
- The script could have been tighter, but Rajat Arora’s writing is what makes the film very engaging. The dialogues are witty and powerful. The romantic angle works big time in favor of the film and the conflicts between the two dons is very well written and executed.
- Each character is perfectly cast and the performances are outstanding, especially from Ajay Devgan and Emraan Hashmi.
- The art direction by Nitin Chandrakant Desai reminds you of films from the 70s and 80s. Even the actors sport long locks and shaped shoes.
- Pritam’s music goes very well with the film. Tum Jo Aye and Pee Loon are the best of the lot.
What doesn’t work for the film
- 15 mins before interval and about 20 minutes into the second half, the film is a bit slow paced.
- The ladies – Kangana Ranaut and Prachi Desai – have no scope for histrionics.
- Ajay Devgan leaves you speechless. He’s brilliant from start to finish. Whether it is his body language, expressions, attitude or dialogue delivery.. Devgan gets everything right. His performance alone is worth the steep price of a multiplex ticket.
- Emraan Hashmi too gets most things right. He is very adorable in those romantic scenes with Prachi Desai.
- Randeep Hooda is good. Prachi Desai and Kangana Ranaut have little to do. The others do well.
In short there is not much to complain about a film like Once Upon a Time in Mumbai – acting, direction, writing, music, production values – all top notch. Can’t ask for more. Go watch it.Rating: