The hit formula of making a film on the Mumbai underworld is quite popular in Bollywood. Filmmaker Sanjay Gupta has also made two films on the subject. And now Sanjay Gupta has brought another Mumbai underworld based film Mumbai Saga, in which John Abraham and Emraan Hashmi are seen in lead roles. Will Mumbai Saga, which releases in theaters this week, manage to entertain the audience, or does it fail in its endeavor? Let’s review.
Mumbai Saga is the story of a rivalry between a gangster and a cop. In the mid-80s, Amartya Rao (John Abraham) lives with his family. His family includes his father (Rajendra Gupta), brother Arjun (Harsh Sharma) and wife Seema (Kajal Aggarwal). His family sells vegetables on the streets and they are harassed as they have to pay hafta (bribe) to the goons of Gaitonde (Amol Gupte). One day, Arjun argues with a goon and the goon throws Arjun off the bridge. Amartya had decided not to associate with gangsters till now. But Amartya saves Arjuna. Amartya, worried for Arjuna, single-handedly assaults Gaitonde’s men and even cuts off the hand of one of those goons. Gaitonde, who is in jail and starts his hooliganism from there, tells the police to arrest Amartya. The police also put Amartya in the same jail. Gaitonde’s henchmen attack Amartya in jail. Still, Amartya single-handedly confronts them and defeats them. Gaitonde then learns that Amartya is very dangerous. The next day, Amartya is released on bail. This was accomplished by the unofficial Raja Bhau (Mahesh Manjrekar) of Mumbai. Bhau offers Amartya to work for him and destroy Gaitonde and his empire. In no time, Amartya learns the tricks of the trade. He also measures the area of Gaitonde, between Dadar and Bhaykhala. Gaitonde is left with no option but to give up. The story then moves forward 12 years. Arjun (Pratik Babbar) has grown up now and Amartya sends him to the UK to protect him. Meanwhile, Sunil Khaitan (Sameer Soni) who is an industrialist and owns a mill built by his ancestors. He wants to remove all the mill workers. He takes Gaitonde’s help to evict the mill owners. Bhau asks Amartya to stop Sunil Khaitan from selling the mill so that he can get votes. Amartya meets Sunil and warns him of dire consequences. Sunil complains to Gaitonde about Amartya’s tendencies. In retaliation, Gaitonde tries to kill Arjun when Arjun is in Mumbai. But by whatever means Arjuna saves himself. An enraged Amartya kills Sunil Khaitan in broad daylight. Sunil’s widow Sonali (Anjana Sukhani) then goes to the police headquarters and announces that she will give a reward of 10 crores to the cop who killed Amartya. Vijay Savarkar (Emraan Hashmi) takes an interest in this offer and decides that he will kill Amartya. What happens next after this, it will be known after watching the next film.
The story of Sanjay Gupta is interesting and full of adventure and many twists and turns. The film is inspired by true events. Also, it is based on people that many people may not know about. The screenplay by Robin Bhatt and Sanjay Gupta is effective. The writers try their best to ensure that the main plot remains focused and the audience does not get bored even for a second. So the film progresses at the right pace. Some scenes in the film are extraordinary and well thought out. Sanjay Gupta’s dialogues (additional dialogues by Vaibhav Vishal) add to the charm of the film. Some one-liners are sure to bring applause in theatres.
Sanjay Gupta’s direction is accurate. He presents the story in a very dramatic and entertaining manner. As a result, the film has many mesmerizing scenes to watch. The characters of Amartya and Savarkar are particularly strong and well shot. On the contrary, some deserving characters do not get enough screen time. Sanjay Gupta should have made the second half a bit better, especially the climax. The length of the second half is also an issue.
Mumbai Saga has a very good opening, depicting the politician-gangster nexus in Mumbai a few decades back. Without wasting any time the film moves ahead and it is told why Amartya became a don. The scene where Amartya attacks Gaitonde’s men on the railway bridge begins unexpectedly and will be appreciated by the audience. The second action scene of the prison adds to the fun of the film. Amartya rises very early but thankfully there is a lot going on in the film to keep the interest going. Sunil Khaitan’s murder case is a high point. Intermission comes at an interesting juncture. Post-interval, the chase sequences between Amartya and Savarkar keep the audience seated while the twist just before the climax is also surprising. Though the climax could have been a little better, but overall the film is worth watching.
John Abraham is in top form. He looks like a dreaded gangster in every respect and in action scenes, he gets engrossed in it. At several places, he briefly shows off his dimpled smile and this adds to his character’s charisma. Emraan Hashmi’s entry is late, so his fans may be disappointed by this. But once he makes an entry in the film, the film gets better. Not only with his action, he becomes the limelight of the film with his one-liners as well. His clapping dialogues with the police uniform will create a ruckus in the theatre. Mahesh Manjrekar suits a lot as a shrewd politician. Amole Gupte is brilliant. Prateik Babbar looks a little different but manages to leave a mark. Kajal Aggarwal and Anjana Sukhani get limited screen time. It is the same with Tith Raj (Neelam; Arjuna’s wife). Gulshan Grover (Nari Khan) looks stylish and suits her role. Rohit Bose Roy (Baba) is fine as Amartya’s right-hand man. But his motive in the second half is a bit unbroken. Sameer Soni, Shaad Randhawa (Jagannath), Vivaan Parashar (Sadashiv) and Harsh Sharma are fine. Suniel Shetty (Sada Anna) looks good as a cameo. He looks very stylish.
The scope of music in this type of film is limited. Thankfully there are only 2 songs in the film. ‘Danka Baaja’ is foot-tapping while ‘Shor Machega’ is a well shot song but in a period film it feels awkward. Amar Mohile’s background score is dramatic and thrilling.
Shikhar Bhatnagar’s cinematography is devoid of complaints. The production design by Priya Suhas and Sunil Nigwekar and the dresses by Nahid Shah are authentic. Ambreev’s action is one of the high points of the film. Nube Cirrus’s VFX is good in some places. Bunty Negi’s editing in the second half could have been better.
Overall, Mumbai Saga is a film that deserves to be seen on the big screen. The film is adorned with many elements like splendid scenes, clapping yoga dialogues, sudden twists and turns. The film will be successful in garnering viewership at the box office and will be a cause of delight for the distributors and exhibitors.