Movie Review: 'Mumbai Saga' – 3.0

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STORY: Based on true events, ‘Mumbai Saga’ is the story of a commoner-turned-gangster Amartya Rao, whose dramatic rise in the Mumbai of nineties was marked by lawlessness, betrayal and bloody gang wars.

REVIEW: Writer, producer and director Sanjay Gupta’s heavy-duty action saga, begins with a bang, as a group of gangsters are chasing a cunning businessman to assassinate him in broad daylight. Welcome to the Mumbai (then called Bombay) of the early nineties that was ruled by the bhais and the bhaus. And the police was a pawn in the hands of the one who paid the highest price. During these volatile times, a beefy youngster Amartya Rao (John Abraham), suddenly transforms into a ravaging beast when his younger brother Arjun (Prateik Babbar) is almost killed by goons. Thus, begins Amartya’s journey into the big bad world of mafias, manipulative politicians and a blood-thirsty encounter specialist – all of whom ultimately want to rule over Mumbai.

It’s a super busy screenplay that has all the trappings of a big-ticket mass entertainer, packed with all the punches, literal and metaphorical. Every line is a heavy-duty filmy dialogue that is delivered with swag and dramatics to heighten the impact. Sample this, “Bandook se nikli goli na Eid dekhti hai na Holi,” and “Marathi ko jo rokega, Marathi usse thokega.”

A lot of it works because they come from strong and motivated characters, although, one too many. Their conflicts are relentless and interesting, especially, because it shows Mumbai’s turbulent past, which is chillingly real. The first-half is especially engaging with John Abraham beating up the bad guys and everything else in the process. But in a bid to make it a larger-than-life crime potboiler, Gupta also falls prey to the curse of the second half. Here, some of the plot-twists, conflicts and complications become overwhelmingly difficult to handle. However, there is enough paisa-vasool action, thrill and guns galore.

John Abraham carries the film on his tough and able shoulders, fiercely delivering the punches. He struggles in few of the emotional scenes, but ultimately manages to deliver a performance that doesn’t disappointing. Emraan Hashmi is impressive as officer Vijay Savarkar. The actor is in a good form and seems to have had the most fun playing the trigger-happy encounter specialist. Among an ocean of other actors, Suniel Shetty stands out in his short, yet, impactful special appearance as Sada Anna and so does Mahesh Manjrekar, as the kingmaker bhau, who calls the shots with fine restrain. Rest of the cast doesn’t add much mussle to the story. Kajal Aggarwal and Anjana Sukhani, the only two women in this male-dominated testosterone charged saga, have very limited scope. Amar-Mohile’s background score is far more impressive than the songs.

If you like gritty gangster dramas packed with brawn, blood and bullets then ‘Mumbai Saga’ could be worth a watch.

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