Review: ‘Mumbai Saga’ is Another Cliched Bollywood Underworld Tale
The film stars John Abraham and Emraan Hashmi in the lead.
Review: ‘Mumbai Saga’ is Another Cliche Bollywood Underworld Tale
We are back in familiar territory. The Bombay of 1980s quickly making way for the Mumbai of the 90s. It’s a typical Sanjay Gupta universe, where whistle-worthy dialogues are bookended by loud gunshots. Dramatic slow motion walks choreographed to loud background music and stylised close-ups define the cinematic language. We have Bhau (Mahesh Manjrekar), clearly modelled on a certain politician who espoused the cause of the Marathi manus. He bellows "jo Marathi ko rokega, Marathi usko thokega”.
And that’s exactly what follows. A rich industrialist is shot dead and gang rivalries are well defined. Gaitonde‘s (Amole Gupte) men manage to rub Amartya Rao (John Abraham) the wrong way. John's bulging muscles then flex threateningly as he takes on Gaitonde’s hafta-collecting sidekicks. He soon declare’s war and has the support of Bhau.
Amartya‘s face softens only for two people. The love of his life Seema (Kajal Aggarwal), and his younger brother Arjun (Prateek Babbar). Sadly, these are also times when John‘s acting inadequacies show up.
John looks charming wielding guns and looking threateningly at his rivals, but the moment he has to mouth a dialogue his facial muscles contort and it seems like he is trying to pull weights with his cheeks.
Robin Bhatt and Sanjay Gupta’s screenplay draws on all the familiar tropes of a typical Bollywood underworld saga. And like it always happens, the women are relegated to the margins. A single-tone Kajal Aggarwal as the always 'bubbly' wife or Anjana Sukhani‘s random fleeting appearance, one of which involves walking into a police station and screaming 'Commissioner!', constitute tokenism that we could have easily done away with.
In this testosterone-fuelled world, the women are so inconsequential that even if you take them out of the film it wouldn’t make an iota of difference, except maybe reducing the runtime by a couple of minutes.
The rest of the cast has Mahesh Manjrekar and Amole Gupte, who make the most of what they have. Prateek Babbar gets an absurdly-written role, and Ronit Roy and Shaad Randhawa hardly have much to do .
We are prepared for Emraan Hashmi‘s grand entry post interval, and he does speed things up a bit. The numbing thud of loud punches and overly dramatic background score get a welcome break and Hashmi commands a natural charm that keeps us invested.
The climax involves a police jeep, two trucks, one aircraft and a wheelchair all colliding into each other. Finally we are told that an unscrupulous politicians‘s brain is all it takes to trump the brawn so readily available.
Bollywood underworld stories have their loyalists. While there isn’t anything spectacularly new or arresting here, but if this is a genre that interests you then probably Mumbai Saga could be up your alley.
Our rating: 2 Quints out of 5
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