Plot (3 stars)
A bright student scores 78% in college. He holds certain ideals close to his heart. For instance, he never cheats in exams. He has good prospects and dreams of becoming a respectable serviceman. However, his life takes a tragic turn when he is framed for murder by a policeman. He and his step-brother get a life sentence. It is then that Manohar Arjun Surve, a simple boy from Mumbai, turns into a lethal criminal Manya Surve who challenges the authority of the police and the dominance of Dawood Ibrahim to rule the Mumbai underworld!
The film dramatizes the 1982 encounter of the Mumbai Police in which Manya Surve was shot dead near Dr. Ambedkar College in Wadala. While taking inspiration from the 1982 incident and S. Hussain Zaidi’s Dongri to Dubai: Six Decades of the Mumbai Mafia, Director Sanjay Gupta has taken a lot of liberties with the storyline. Furthermore, the film does not delve into the psyche of gangsters. However, what is does brilliantly is imprint the image of the forgotten anti-hero in the minds of its audience.
The sepia-tinted camera lens creates the ambience of the 70s-80s quite brilliantly. The polka dots and the huge shades evoke the old world magic. The background score is crafted for that bygone era.
Guns and gore galore, sprinkled with a strong dose of sex – Gupta does not really exhibit ambition beyond pleasuring the audience. However, with his forte in adapting tales and giving it a desi turn, he has made quite a blood-soaked entertainer. The explosive climax is a fitting end of this crime drama and makes up for the slow motion sequences.
Cast and Performance (4 stars)
Sanjay Gupta’s choice of star is definitely commendable. John Abraham seems tailor-made for this role. Emotionally vulnerable but shrewd, hard-hearted but an ardent lover – John has imbibed all the passions of the character of Manya Surve, and unfurled it to his viewers with his heart and soul. Be it emptying the bullets or mouthing swear words (which was done in generous quantities throughout the movie) or making love with his love, Vidya – John has given his all to each of these traits. Whoever believed that acting is not his forte, John has left them with no option but to change their mind!
Kangana Ranaut was a good fit in the role of John’s lover, Vidya. After having played a criminal’s moll in Gangster and Once Upon a Time in Mumbai she is definitely a pro. Tusshar Kapoor, in the character of the trustworthy sidekick Sheikh Munir, has done a good job.
Among the men in uniform, Anil Kapoor as ACP Afaaque Bhagraan, has proven himself to be a veteran. His attempt at capturing the gangster and his inner turmoil at the knowledge that he has not been doing justice to his uniform is palpable. Mahesh Manjrekar, who boasts of several similar roles, and Ronit Roy support him quite well throughout the movie.
Manoj Bajpayee in the vile character of Zubair and Sonu Sood as Dilawar also deserves mention here. However, both of them have proved their mettle in several movies so their performance skills do not come as a surprise.
Dialogues (3 stars)
Writer Milaap Zaveri dialogues are corny and crass to say the least. However, it’s perfectly etched for a movie like this! The sharp dialogues have the ability to conjure up a riot of laughter in theatres.
Song Sequences (2 stars)
Why did Priyanka Chopra agree to do such a song? This is something most of us must have had in mind when we saw the movie. Among the loopholes, the item numbers were the most glaring of them all! Babli Badmaash, Laila and Aala Re Aala – all of them are sure to jar your aesthetics. The director has definitely gone overboard with these song sequences and then could have been easily done away with.