Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobaara was the much awaited big release of last weekend.This one hit theaters Independence Day weekend on 15th August 2013.

Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobaara was the much awaited big release of last weekend.This one hit theaters Independence Day weekend on 15th August 2013.

Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobara Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobaara Review   Bit of a Damp Squib

Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar and Director Milan Luthria speaking at the press launch of the film Once Upon A Time In Mumbai-Dobara in New York on June 27, 2013. (Photo: Mohammed Jaffer/IANS)

Release date: 15th August (Special Independence Day Release on Thursday)

Starring: Akshay Kumar as Shoaib

Sonakshi Sinha as Yasmin

Imran Khan as Aslam

Sonali Bendre, Sarfaraz Khan, Abhimanyu Shekhar Singh, Tiku Talsania, Sophie Choudry in supporting roles.

Direction/Production: Directed my Milan Luthra, Written by Rajat Arora (of Dirty Picture and Once Upon a Time in Mumbai fame) and produced by Ekta Kapoor and Shobha Kapoor.

Music: Pritam

The story starts off where Once Upon a Time in Mumbai left off – the first part featured Sultan Mirza played by Ajay Devgn supposedly alluding to Haji Mastan and Emraan Hashmi supposedly as Dawood Ibrahim.

Right off, this one isn’t a patch on Once Upon a Time in Mumbai; and for so many reasons. Firstly Akshay Kumar is unable to bring the quiet menace to the role that Ajay Devgn did in the original film. He is unable to evoke any sympathy where Devgn came across as authentic and believable. When Kumar attempts to be suavely ominous-sounding he ends up sounding almost comical. He is also mysteriously and inexplicable irresistible to women. We see little evidence of that, considering that he spends most of his time in the film wooing and spouting flowery rubbish about stars to a young Jasmine who is utterly oblivious to his supposed charms. He seems to speak almost entirely in cliché and each time that he delivers his weighed-down-with metaphor lines, he appears to grandstanding instead of delivering his lines. It simply gets tedious after a bit.

Secondly there is really very little in the way of a story here. Shoaib, his lackeys and sidekicks are all supposed to be gangsters but there is precious little ‘gangstering’ on show. We see Mumtaz played by Sonali Bendre but her presence in the film is so superfluous as to make us wonder what she is doing in this film at all. Shoaib’s sidekick Javed supposedly does all his shady deals for him; but what exactly those shady deals are is not clear. Sure there are some allusions to him being some kind of cricket fixer kingpin, but how exactly is he supposed to be the uncrowned king of the Mumbai underworld? Again not clear.

As for Imran Khan as Aslam the gangster, well he is just not believable. He is supposed to be a ruffian who is ‘discovered’ by Shoaib, but just sticking a moustache on the man doesn’t change the fact that he is best suited to the rom-com variety of movie.

Then there is Mahesh Manjrekar who plots and schemes to get rid of Shoaib; frankly a waste. There is also the mandatory police officer looking to get Shoaib and end his reign – a poorly etched, uni-dimensional character that does little except grimace and glare during the entire film.

The fact is that this is not a gangster film. It is a silly love triangle masquerading as one. The starlet Yasmin played by Sonakshi Sinha is the object of affection for both Shoaib and Aslam.  Predictably friction erupts between these two, thereby setting the scene for yet another mentor/protégée face-off; though we stuck with having to watch Aslam being brutally beaten up without raising a hand in retaliation because he is so pathetically grateful to Shoaib for – well it isn’t very clear what he is grateful for other than being presented with the opportunity to be a sidekick.

The movie is supposed to have the look and feel of a period piece that seeks to recreate the retro chic that was such a hit when Once Upon a Time in Mumbai released. The locales, and outfits manage to do this to an extent.  Akshay Kumar’s gelled-down-with-cement variety of hairstyle and clothing is meant to convey the look of the time as well. I am quite happy that I didn’t watch the film with my kids; quite simply because they would have been as bored as I was with it.

The recurring theme music of the film sounds good, as does the melodious Ye Tune Kya Kiya, and the entertaining reworking of Tayyab Ali (from the original featured in Amar Akbar Anthony). I doubt that the music will be will be as memorable and successful as the songs from the first movie.

There were no other big releases slated for this week, probably because Dobaara made at the whopping great cost of Rs 85 crores is such a big ticket release and no one wanted to take on the Akshay Kumar starrer. Besides the releases from the previous weeks, Chennai Express and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag are still sending the cash registers ringing and any slated release would be wisely put off in the circumstances.

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