Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ August 9, 2010
This is a fictional account of the relationship between two criminals - quite known smuggler Haji Mastan & the ever infamous Dawood Ibrahim. Though according to the disclaimer, all the characters are fictional & any similarity is purely coincidental, one can't help but recognize the similarities between Haji Mastan & the character Sultan Mirza, & that between Dawood Ibrahim & the character Shoaib Khan.

The movie begins with the suicide attempt of a police officer Agnel (Randeep Hooda), who then goes on to narrate the rise & downfall of Sultan Mirza (Ajay Devgn) & the rise of Shoaib Khan (Emraan Hashmi). The proceedings establish Sultan as a smuggler who, while indulges in illegal activities, doesn't support activities that his ethics (???!!!) won't permit. He has his own set of rights & wrongs, morality & immorality. He loves his city & wants it clean. On the other hand, Shoaib is a goon who dreams to rule over Mumbai by hook or by crook.

The movie's dialogues have received great feedback from the critics in general, but I didn't find them absolutely incredible. While they're relatively superior to the dialogues in recent Bollywood movies, they are nothing to go ga-ga about. Surely worth a mention, though.

When one reads the plot, one can't help wondering why Ajay Devgn's accepted the role quite similar to his role in 'Company'. However, the treatment in the movie of his character is so different that not once did I notice any resemblance between them. Ajay Devgn pulls off his part with great ease. Emraan Hashmi excels in his role. Kangana Ranaut & Prachi Desai are good enough. Randeep Hooda is quite efficient.

While the movie on the whole is watchable enough, it's not without its share of cons. It's never explained what prompts Agnel to commit suicide. Besides, the ending is way too abrupt & dissatisfying.

To sum up, the movie progresses quite interestingly & hardly lets your attention off the hook. However, it's an experience that's enjoyable but not worth revisiting. Just a bit above average. 6.5/10.
½ August 29, 2010
Good Time Pass!
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About two guys who became some of the greatest mobsters of Indian History, one by Compassion & other by Relentless!
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Moral:
There are two kinds in this world, Those who win by Compassion, & Those who win by Relentless!
When being Friends, can get Things done, then why become Enemies!?!
½ November 17, 2012
Loosely based on Mumbai's ex-smugglers and underworld dons but well crafted product gift wrapped to the audience at its ending.
September 27, 2012
Awesome Dialogue and acting by Ajay Devgan.. Totally loved this movie.
December 10, 2011
A unique bollywood film. Feturing powerful performances and even more powerful themes. But a dissappointing ending.
June 1, 2011
Pretty cool movie..Very enjoyable.! [ Based on a true story ]
February 13, 2011
It's good but occasionally silly.
½ October 23, 2010
A different bollywood movie. For a change.
September 6, 2010
Must watch movie for every moviegoer. The film crafted with complete perfection. This kind of movie very rare in Indian cinema. Everybody acted flawlessly. The film should be watched several times.
October 1, 2010
Its an out an out stylish electrifying crime thriller which reminds me
of the good old 70's cinema. A movie full of magical background score,
powerhouse acting by Devgan and Imran and above all super cool dialogs
(listen to them carefully, they are the real winners).

The movie portrays rise of smuggler Sultan Mirza (Ajay Devegan) in the
Mumbai crime scenario. Sultan is a stylish smuggler who made money by
trafficking the contra-bands and used his might to help out the
downtrodden. Sultan loves Mumbai and wants it to be clean and for that
objective he cuts a deal with other operating crime lords and
distributes the areas of Mumbai among themselves so as to bring the
inter gang rivalry to an end. Because of his larger than life image,
many youngsters start to idolize him and among them is one small time
thief, Shoaib (Imran Hashmi).

Shoaib is a son of a policeman and does not have much of a future yet
wants to reach to the top and live a luxurious life and for that he is
ready to anything. Soon he crosses path with Sultan and starts working
with him. Soon Shoaib rises in ranks due to his daredevil attitude and
a shrewd mind and wins the trust of Sultan. He soon becomes the close
confederate of Sultan. Where Sultan had some principles for life,
Shoiab has none and thus when Sultan leaves his temporarily leaves his
Empire, he entrusts Shoiab with the responsibility.

However, because of power and money hungriness of Shoaib and Sultan's
never compromising attitude towards certain principles, both head for a
showdown.

Though loosely based on the lives of legendary smuggler Hazi Mastan and
his protégé Daud Ibrahim, this flick takes creative liberty to tell the
story with many imaginary sub plots yet the director is able to
maintain the realistic feel to the movie. However, the end is bit
clichéd but then "who is complaining"!!

A worth a watch for the style, panache, background score, decent
performances by Huda and Kangna and once again, for its dialogs. So till the next time, "Duaon me yaad rakhna"
September 6, 2010
Tooo good...Ajay Devgan has proven yet again that he is truly a versatile actor. And emraan has proven that he is not just a serial kisser.......amazing movie......
August 31, 2010
There used to be a time when Bollywood was overly glamorous, the middle class always in awe of the rich, law that was still being written and order that was established by the ruling underworld mafia and when, a crore of rupees really meant a lifetime's wealth. Lives were less valuable back then and nobody lit candles for the fallen. This was when the city was called 'Bombay'. Director Milan Luthria takes us to 'Once upon a time in Mumbaai' in the era of a smuggler who sought control of the seas and his apprentice who changed the meaning of crime altogether.

The inspiration for the character of Sultan Mirza (Ajay Devgan) was certainly derived from the erstwhile RobinHood Smuggler Haji Mastan Mirza. Sultan's attire, his background, his occupation, his interest for the welfare of the poor, his love for a Bollywood heroine and production of movies are obvious parallels to Mastan. Devgan portrays his character with ease and familiarity but makes a remarkable impression with the dialogues written by Rajat Arora. The movie is a bible for the man on the streets in Bombay. Each one as if a quotation by a philosopher and yet dramatic in effect when combined with a sharp screenplay. The result is what you would relate to as a Salim-Javed penned underworld drama. ?Jab dost bana kar kaam ho sakta hai toh dushman kyon banaye?? is repeatedly used by Sultan, as though asserting his philosophy in dealings.
Sultan's love interest is the glamorous looking Rehana (Kangana Ranaut) who falls for his one-liners and cleanly ironed white outfits. Kangana looks gorgeous and performs naturally in a role that also is familiar territory for her. She even over-shines the beautiful Prachi Desai who could do with a meatier role next time.

In the aftermath of the '93 serial blasts, a despondent ACP Agnel Wilson (Randeep Hooda) regretfully narrates the tale of how two criminals shaped the future of the city and how he trusted the wrong one among the two to turn away from the underworld. His mistake resulted in just one of them surviving the decades of criminal dominance when the ghoda was the law and Shoaib Khan's apathy to the city, was the order.
Although Emraan Hashmi has portrayed similar negative roles in the past, he adds some sleekness to a reckless character who would shape up to be Dawood Ibrahim. Shoaib's ambition ?duniye raakh ki tarah neeche hogi aur khud dhuye ki tarah upar? makes him greedy, zealous and rash. Eventually, his ways diverge completely from the more humble, loop-hole smuggling approach of Sultan's who, as everyone acknowledged, never caused harm to the city but instead, bestowed it with generosity towards the masses. This disparity in attitudes is supremely entertaining. Chandu, in his rage says, ?tu aur teri Company Khallas? in 'Company' and here we have Sultan enraged over Shoaib's management of his business in his absence, ordering his men ?Shehar Saaf chahiye mujhe!? The combination of such screenplay and dialogues is essentially the strength of this film and the reason why it has its place in the hallmark of crime sagas.

Pritam's two romantic tracks make up whatever good there is in the album. Mohit Chauhan's melodious Pee Loon and the combination of Tulsi Kumar and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan make Tum Jo Aaye a hummable track in the romantic rains.

Milan Luthria directs his best after the promising 'Kachche Dhaage' with some powerful writing by Rajat Arora. Numerous scenes are packed with metaphorical dialogues that will build the required tension without any drama. The background music, cinematography and the crisp editing also make this a commendable thriller. Perhaps there hasn't been a more worthy tribute to the real Dons of yesteryears and even though, the climax does not bear any resemblance to characters or events in real life, the end-note pays a serious tribute that sums up the story and leaves us with a helpless grasp of events that have taken place in real life, due to a real person.
?Beyond the myth, lies Mumbai's greatest betrayal.?

8.148 on a scale of 1-10.
½ August 14, 2010
Ajay devgan has again shows his class. Nice dialogues, well knitted story, every single actor/actress did justice to the character. One of the better hindi flicks in recent time.
August 10, 2010
Amazing movie, that's all I can say
August 8, 2010
Ho-hum.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAI (Milan Luthria, 2010) is not an action-packed, Sergio Leone styled adventure into awesomeness. It?s the story of two men (Ajay Devgan and Emraan Hashmi), and kind of a third (Randeep Hooda), who become gangsters in 1970?s Mumbai (well, not the last guy, he?s a cop, but as I hinted, his story is minor anyway. It?s really just the frame story to this film.) The first man (Devgan) is a crime lord known for having united all of the gangs of Mumbai, bringing a sort of ?violent peace? to Mumbai?s underworld. This goes hand in hand with his ?benevolent criminal? identity, for although Devgan?s character ?Sultan Mizra? is a dangerous gangster, he has a place in his heart for the poor, having come from a similar background, and doesn?t deal in anything dangerous to the populace (drugs and really hard vices). ?Shoaib Khan? (Hashmi), on the other hand, is a poor badass in his own right, the son of a cop who has a real evil streak, and grows up to serve in Mizra?s employ. Only Mizra wonders if a person like Khan?s ambitions can be held in check for long. Khan always wants more and more, and it seems like a matter of time before he comes for Mizra too. (And in the background, the cop played by Randeep Hooda has some half-assed plan to use Khan as a mole to get to Mizra, even though he has zero control over him. It?s pretty dumb, and I only mention it so you get a complete plot summary. And yes, I?m deliberately telling you nothing about the women (Kangana Renaut and Prachi Desai), because they serve almost no role in this story except to look pretty and either validate or condemn the leads. But I digress?)

You kind of have to take my reviews of Indian movies with a grain of salt, because I really don?t know Indian culture anymore. I see this movie has a seven on IMDB, and in the theatre where I saw it, the mostly Indian audience seemed to be on the edge of their seats (though there weren?t many of them). So this might be a great film to a truly Indian person, I dunno. But for me, there were just too many flaws. The cop seemed like an extraneous character, put in the story just so that it would have a narrator. The women, as I said, were pretty useless to the story. The lines Mirza uses to woo his girl (Renaut) were embarrassingly corny, and even the audience in the theatre, who again seemed to like the film, laughed at them. But most of all, the thing that really got on my nerves is that there are no likeable characters in this movie. I mean, as an actor, Ajay Devgan has a lot of presence, but his role was really nothing special to me. His giving to the poor in spite of being a gangster bit just gave me a big ?so what?? I?ve seen that character dozens of times before. In fact, the whole story, in retrospect, was pretty familiar except for the fact that, as an Indian movie, each character?s story gets thorough development, making it about three hours long, like the typical Indian movie (I think I?ve gone over why this is before, so I won?t repeat it). The problem is, if you really don?t care about anybody onscreen, it becomes dull and hard to sit through.

And another thing that I really struggle with is the amount of Westernization that has made its way into Bollywood. This film has a lot of kissing and suggestions of sex, two things that were taboo when I was coming up. And beforehand there was a trailer for a film in which the lead, a woman, swears like a sailor. Not that women can?t or shouldn?t swear like sailors, I?m saying that when I was a kid you would never see that in an Indian film. Now it?s all over the place, apparently.

But more annoying is the way mainstream Hollywood filmmaking techniques are rampant in these films. They look like Hollywood films, they?re cut like them, there?s clearly an influence on the music ? it?s kind of irritating, because as you know, I hate all this shit in American movies. Worst of all, Michael Bay seems to be an influence on a lot of it, and we all know how I feel about him. I liked KITES (Anarug Basu, 2009), which Indians hate, because I kind of felt that all of that Westernization was intentional ? it was a thing unto itself. The movie even takes place in the United States. But in the movies whose trailers I saw? I dunno.

Then again, I wouldn?t have seen this film if it wasn?t another movie directed at the West (complete with an American title. Two of them, in fact: the alternate title for this film is MUMBAI REWIND), so maybe the trend is good because it brings more people into Indian cinema, either the second or biggest in the world, depending on who you ask. I just wish there was something more substantive and original to show for it.
August 4, 2010
The dialogues of this movie are goood..
wisely directed...
nice costumes...
n awesom action of ajay devgan...with perfect attitude n perfect acting..
TOO GOOD..
½ August 2, 2010
By far the best film of the year.Ajay Devgan is upto his mark in his part as the underworld don.Emran Hashmi overdoes a bit in his part.
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