The Mumbai underworld has been a fascinating and intriguing chapter in the history of Maximum City. Sanjay Gupta has already made two films in this space – SHOOTOUT AT LOKHANDWALA [2007; as producer and writer] And telling about WADALA [2013; as director, producer and writer]. And now he is back with MUMBAI SAGA. It features Emraan Hashmi and John Abraham together for the first time. Both have a strong presence among the public and hence, the film has raised enthusiasm for the audience and even the exhibitors. So does MUMBAI SAGA give the audience an entertaining time? Or does it fail? Let us analyze.
Mumbai SAGA is the story of his rivalry with a gangster and a cop. In the mid-80s, Amartya Rao (John Abraham) lives with his family, which includes his father (Rajendra Gupta), brother Arjun (Harsh Sharma) and wife Seema (Kajal Aggarwal). His family sells vegetables on the streets and is harassed because they have to pay ‘Week’ (Bribe) to the goons of Gaitonde (Amol Gupte). One day, Arjun argues with a goon who throws Arjuna off the bridge. Amartya saves him in Nick’s time before Arjun is crushed under the train. Amartya had decided not to join the gangsters till now. However, he loves Arjuna to death and an attack on him makes him angry. He single-handedly assaulted the men of Gaitonde and cut off the hand of one of the goons. Gaitonde, who operates from the jail, asks the police to arrest Amartya. Apart from this, he also puts Amartya in the same prison. Gaitonde’s henchmen attack Amartya in prison. Nevertheless, Amartya single-handedly defeated them. Gaitonde now realizes that Amartya is very dangerous. The next day, Amartya was released on bail. This is made possible by Mumbai’s unofficial Raja Bhau (Mahesh Manjrekar). Bhau offers Amartya to work for him and find a solution to Gaitonde and his danger. In no time, Amartya learns the tricks of the trade. He also explores the area of Gaitonde, between Dadar and Baikula. Gaitonde has no choice but to give up. The story then moves forward 12 years. Arjun (Prateik Babbar) is now grown up and Amartya sends him to the UK to protect him. Meanwhile, Sunil Khaitan (Sameer Soni) is an industrialist who owns a mill built by his ancestors. He wants to fire all the mill workers, demolish the mill and sell the land for astronomical price. He enlists Gaitonde’s help to evict the mill owners. Bhau tells Amartya to physically stop the Khaitan mill so that he can get the votes of the mill workers. Amartya meets Sunil and warns him of the dire consequences. Sunil complained to Gaitonde about Amitya’s tendency. In retaliation, Gatonde tries to kill Arjun when the latter is in Mumbai on a short trip. Arjuna runs away unheard. Angry Amartya killed Sunil Khaitan in broad daylight. His widow, Sonali (Anjana Sukhani) goes to the police headquarters and announces that she will pay Rs. Will reward 10 crores to the policeman who killed Amartya. Vijay Savarkar (Emraan Hashmi) is interested in the proposal and decides that he will kill Amartya, whatever it may be. What happens next is the rest of the film.
The story of Sanjay Gupta is interesting and full of thrills and even twists and turns. The film is inspired by true events. Furthermore, it is based on people many people would not know. The screenplay by Robin Bhatt and Sanjay Gupta is effective. The authors try their best to ensure that the main plot remains focused and that the audience does not get bored even for a second. Therefore, the film operates at supersonic speed. Some of the moments in the film are extraordinary and very well thought out. Sanjay Gupta’s dialogues (dialogues other than Vaibhav Vishal) enhance the film’s collective appeal. Some one-liners are sure to clap in theaters.
Sanjay Gupta’s instructions are appropriate. He treats the story in a very dramatic and entertaining way and tries his best to fulfill the lowest of the har. As a result, he narrates the story with massive moments in abundance. The character of Amartya and Savarkar are particularly strong and are well taken out. On the flipside, some characters do not receive eligible screen time. Sanjay Gupta should have made a second half as well, especially intensifying the climax. Length is also an issue in the second half.
The Mumbai SAGA begins on a rocking note depicting a politician-gangster nexus in Mumbai a few decades ago. No time is wasted in the film as it soon comes down to the issue of why Amartya became a don. The scene where Amartya attacks Gaitonde’s men on the railway bridge begins unexpectedly and is sure to be loved by the public. The second action scene, in prison, leads to fun. Amartya rises very quickly but thankfully a lot is happening in the film in which interest remains. The murder of Sunil Khaitan is the highpoint. Timeout comes at a great turn. Post hiatus, the cat and mouse chase between Amartya and Savarkar keeps the audience on the edge of their seats, along with a sudden twist in the story in pre-climax. The climax, though it could have been better, is worth watching.
John Abraham is in top form. He looks like a ferocious gangster every inch and is brilliant in action sequences. In many places, he summarized his dim smile and added charisma to his character. Emraan Hashmi has entered late and this may make his fans unhappy. But the moment he enters the narrative, he is shaking. Not only with action, he also steals the show with his one-liners. His dialogue on the police uniform would create a frenzy in theaters. Mahesh Manjrekar is very good as a clever politician. Amole Gupte is fantastic. Prateik Babbar looks slightly different but leaves an impression. Kajal Aggarwal and Anjana Sukhani get limited scope. The same goes for Tith Raj (Neelam; wife of Arjuna). Gulshan Grover (Nari Khan) looks stylish and is decent. Rohit Bose Roy (Baba) is fine as Amartya’s right hand man. But his motive in the second half is a little unbreakable. Sameer Soni, Shad Randhawa (Jagannath), Vivaan Parashar (Sadashiv) and Harsh Sharma are fine.
The scope of music in such a film is limited. Thankfully the film has only 2 songs. ‘Danka Baja’ Leg is tapping ‘Shor Machega’ Is shot well but is out of place in a period film. Amar Mohile’s background score is dramatic and thrilling.
Shikhar Bhatnagar has complaints in cinematography. Priya Suhas and Sunil Nigvekar’s production design and Naheed Shah’s dress are authentic. Ambriva’s action is one of the film’s highpoints. Nube Cirrus’s VFX is good in some places. Bunty Negi’s editing could have been crisp in the second half.
Overall, MUMBAI SAGA is a film that deserves to be experienced on the big screen. It is embellished with massive moments, clap-worthy dialogues, sudden turns and loads of style. At the box office, it will find patronage in theaters and bring a smile to the faces of distributors and exhibitors.