Writer: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang YangWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Sarkar”, “Casino”, “Badmaash Company”
With an opening credit that specifically (and rather oddly) takes the extra effort to mention "no relation to the real life of Haji Mastan and Dawood Ibrahim", you can be sure that the Bollywood noir "Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai" would be a rich, multi-layered contextual treat which promises an evening of useful entertainment.
However, this crime caper directed by Milan Luthria ("Deewaar" 2004, "Hattrick" 2007) and produced by Balaji Telefilms' Ekta Kapoor, is largely a missed opportunity that suffers from poor pacing and an acute lack of focus, despite the very watchable performances of its three leading men Ajay Devgan, Emraan Hashmi and Randeep Hooda, who play cops and robbers. "Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai" goes for the retro 70s feel and misses the mark half the time due to some unconvincing sequences and some pretty bizarre but forced dialogue. Not only do the lines border on the ridiculously philosophical, the character arcs are a mess and the director has largely failed in reconciling the song tracks with the story flow, something that Bollywood movies are obviously known for seamlessly succeeding in.
Worse, the eye candy attraction in female leads Prachi Desai and Kangana Ranaut are an afterthought, as neither have anything substantial to contribute to the already problematic storyline. Sure they have decent screentime but their roles are so uncomfortably one-dimensional to accommodate the bustling trio of men, leading to what we may call a casting waste.
As the movie draws to a close, an immensely underwhelming feeling settles in and we are left to rue the tragic aftermath of a crime story with plenty of characters but little to care for. Let's see if Milan Luthria can come up with a better movie in the future.Cinema Online, 03 August 2010