Directed by: Milan Luthria
Director Milan Luthria returns to the gang-world of Mumbai, with a completely new cast, and a change of era. This time the ruler of the city is Shoaib, previously played by Emraan Hashmi, but now replaced by a bigger name, Akshay Kumar. Shoaib spends a lot of his time hiding out in Oman, but when one of his own men plot to kill him, he returns to his city to deal with the matter himself. He has a chance encounter with Jasmine (Sonakshi Sinha), and falls in love, however he’s not the only one with feelings for the wannabe actress. One of his own, Aslam (Imran Khan), becomes his rival over affections of Jasmine.
The weak link between the previous Once Upon A Time… film and this one annoys me quite a bit. The story would work perfectly well on it’s own, I don’t see the need to associate it with another film. There isn’t really any need for the character to be the same, and there’s barely any consistency to it. Emraan Hashmi and Akshay Kumar are very different, and they play the character differently as well. I do think the story is fairly decent, but nothing exceptionally original. Stripped down, it’s just a love triangle with a fair bit of violence, and even then, it’s not very violent or action packed for a gangster film.
Akshay Kumar spends a lot of the time hidden behind his sunglasses and a moustache, which is perfectly fine with me. At least he’s not playing one of the ridiculous comedy characters he’s been doing a lot of recently. Imran Khan also has a moustache for the film, because everyone did in the 80s. (I’m guessing it’s set in the 80s, it’s never actually clarified). His performances are getting better, I think. It’s possible there is still a future for him as an actor, if he keeps improving and makes the right choices. I’ve grown to like Sonakshi Sinha a lot since Lootera, which I think stopped me from finding Jasmine annoying, but actually rather endearing. She’s quite air-headed, because apparently women just weren’t intelligent back then, but I think Sonakshi does a good job, despite how the role was written. And she can act! I just really hope she doesn’t go back to doing more Dabbang type roles. It’s really good to see Sonali Bendre acting again, even though it was a short role, and it wasn’t clear what her actual relationship with Shoaib was.
I quite liked the music of the film, even the revamped version of Tayyab Ali, though it wasn’t much fun to watch. I don’t know what went wrong, but maybe doing typical Bollywood song-and-dance numbers just isn’t something Milan Luthria is good at. Yeh Tune Kya Kiya was more enjoyable to watch, but quite poorly edited, which is a shame because it has some really good shots. Chugliyaan was kind of too much like the picturization of Yeh Tune Kya Kiya, though it’s a good song. I don’t like Tu Hi Khwahish at all, though as a song it made more sense to have then Bismillah, which is an okay song, but it’s terribly placed. There was absolutely no need for it, and seemed like a last minute addition.
A good story and good music is all you really need for at least an enjoyable Bollywood film, and Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai Dobaara delivers on that front. It could have been better thought out and better put together, but at least it’s entertaining. It’s unfortunate it’s releasing in the shadow of the more-successful-than-it-should-be Chennai Express, as it deserved a better chance at the box office.
Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai Dobaara is out now.