India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara: All talk, no action

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Milan Luthria’s tongue-twister of a movie “Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara!” is a hark back to the gangster films of the 1980s, the ones with mafia dons, their tempestuous love lives and all the complications that came with it.

But director Luthria and writer Rajat Arora are apparently convinced that they’ve come up with something original and clever. Their smugness shows on screen and gets on your nerves. For a gangster film, “Mumbai Dobaara” has just about three action scenes and even in the most crucial action sequence, the characters are busy delivering long-drawn-out homilies on loyalty and friendship. That is what this film is, really – all talk and no action.

And as for the talk itself, Arora’s dialogue has all the creativity of the quotes that appear on Facebook feeds. They are meant to be profound. But in the film, each character talks and talks and talks some more, until you want to hit the mute button – but there isn’t one.

Akshay Kumar plays the dreaded gangster Shoaib who orchestrates cricket matches in a Middle Eastern country. Shoaib flirts with his friend’s wives, wears dark glasses all the time and keeps repeating how he intends to rule Mumbai. (What that ruling may involve, we are never told).

Lootera: This one steals your heart

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

If there is one thing to be said about Vikramaditya Motwane’s craft, it is that he makes melancholy look beautiful. In his debut film “Udaan”, and now in “Lootera”, the filmmaker depicts angst-ridden and tormented characters and creates the perfect environment for them. The lighting is muted, the setting is an isolated house, the music is haunting and you cannot help but feel as tormented as the characters in the film.

Motwane is undoubtedly one of the few Indian directors who has mastery over the craft of filmmaking. Everything in “Lootera”, the detailing, sound design and pretty much every aspect is picture perfect. From a small village in the Bengali countryside in the first half to the quaint hill station of Dalhousie for the more sombre part of the movie, Motwane chooses his locations well.

Dabangg 2: A sequel that doesn’t take it forward

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Thomson Reuters)

It seems unfair to devote a whole review to Arbaaz Khan’s “Dabangg 2″, given that this is hardly a film. As a friend said, it’s a collection of deleted scenes from “Dabangg” that have been put together haphazardly to make the skeleton of a film.

Joker: The joke is on you

Akshay Kumar, wearing an outrageous hat, is dancing with a long-haired, ash-smeared, nearly naked holy man perched on his shoulders. At times, Kumar pats the man’s stomach even as the “baba” waves a “We Love Aliens” placard. No one will blame you if you ask — What exactly is going on here?

But hold your breath, for such moments will be too many to count and by the time you see an alien dancing to an item number, your brain will be numb and nothing in life will make sense except the neon EXIT sign that will seem like the light at the end of the tunnel.

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