Once upon a time in Mumbaai…

These days, it is a cliche to say ‘I love Mumbai during the monsoon’. Who doesnt? There is something about taking the ‘black and yellow’ taxi and driving around Juhu and Worli, with the high tiding ocean on one side and getting drenched through the broken rear window on the other. Let me not start on the late afternoon coffee, for I will never get to what I Really wanted to write about today.

‘Once upon…’ is a lot of fun. A few years back, I had sworn never to watch a Emraan Hashmi film and up until last night, I would not have believed you, had you told me that I would watch a Milan Luthria film in theatre. This is not just my kinda film. But watch I did and had a reasonably good time.
It is impossible to not like a song like ‘Pee loon’. Something about the lines ‘Let me drink in….for it is the season for drinking in’ is very intoxicating. And Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s version of ‘Tum jo aaye’ is blissful.
I of course did end up squirming in my seat (something about the sofa seats at PVR make you squirm generally) multiple times during the film. It is impossible not to do so, when every line in the film is a ‘punch dialogue’ and said for the effect. Half hour into the film, you are desperately craving for a normal conversation. FYI, it doesnt happen until the end.
I just do not buy the fact that gangsters generally drink, smoke and play cards all day. I am pretty sure they have a life and may be even do other fun stuff! It was a technique that worked quite well in the 60s and 70s in bringing out the ‘bad-ass’ness. Not anymore. It is hilarious to see Milan run out of ideas in engaging his characters and constantly letting them light cigarettes and breaking bottles for the effect.
And there are other things that put you off. But at the end of the day, it is impossible not to warm up to Ajay Devgn’s swagger, the racey background score, the cuts (oh the cuts!) and the charm of the 70’s Mumbai. I was especially surprised (pleasantly) by how much Randeep Hooda looked the part.
Disclaimers before the film notwithstanding, your own inner voices tell you this is Haji Mastan and Dawood – gangsters you and me loath in real life, being glorified on screen. But you just cannot quell the ‘sense of history’ as the film unfolds. For history doesnt differentiate between the good and the bad. There are only those who changed the world we live in.
Watch it. Like I said, it is great fun. I am glad I saw it in Mumbai and took the auto back, holding its ‘leather parda’ with one hand and still getting drenched a little in Mumbai’s monsoon…. ‘Drinking it in’ and wondering if the stories shape this city or does this city shape her stories.
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