‘MUMBAI SAGA’ | 19 March, 2021

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T-Series, White Feather Films and Sangeeta Ahir Moviez’s Mumbai Saga (A) is an underworld film. Amartya Rao (John Abraham) is sucked into the world of crime when some goons, owing allegiance to underworld don Gaitonde (Amole Gupte), almost kill his school-going brother, Arjun (Harsh Sharma). Amartya gets the support of Bhau (Mahesh Manjrekar) who runs a parallel government in Bombay. Bhau actually blesses Amartya so that he can rule over Bombay city. Amartya also has the support of narcotics dealer Nari Khan (Gulshan Grover) and Sada Anna (Sunil Shetty in special appearance).

Police officer Vijay Sarvarkar (Emraan Hashmi) vows to eliminate Amartya and goes after him but the latter shifts to London for some time. Amartya is forced to return to India when brother Arjun (Prateik Babbar), now married, is grievously injured by Vijay Sarvarkar. Amartya swears revenge against Vijay Sarvarkar. In any case, Sarvarkar is waiting for a chance to eliminate Amartya. What happens finally?

Sanjay Gupta has written a story based on the true-life story of underworld dons Amar and Ashwin Naik. The story is like many other films based on the underworld. However, it has so many turns and twists that even the otherwise routine story keeps the audience, especially the masses, involved. Besides, the story is fast-paced, too. The screenplay, penned by Robin Bhatt and Sanjay Gupta, is engaging for a good part. There are some dull moments, of course, but the drama is mostly interesting. The fast pace of the drama is a major plus point. The entry of police officer Vijay Sarvarkar at interval point is a fantastic twist. Overall, the story and screenplay have masala for the masses but they have very limited appeal for the classes, gentry and family audiences. Dialogues, by Sanjay Gupta, with additional dialogues by Vishal Vaibhav, are a major plus point because they have a lot of punch. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that even the routine scenes often appear fresh because of the wonderful dialogues.

John Abraham does a very fine job as Amartya Rao. He acts with conviction and breathes fire into the action scenes. Emraan Hashmi is lovely as police inspector Vijay Sarvarkar. He gets into the skin of the character and it is fun to watch him mouth punch-packed dialogues. Kajal Aggarwal has a brief role but she performs ably as Amartya’s girlfriend/wife, Seema. Mahesh Manjrekar leaves a lasting impact as Bhau. He makes the character look very credible. Amole Gupte is entertaining as the eccentric underworld don, Gaitonde. Prateik Babbar is alright as Arjun Rao. Gulshan Grover stands his own as Nari Khan. Samir Soni is okay as Sunil Khaitan. Rohit Bose Roy is quite good as Baba. Shaad Randhawa has his moments as Jagannath. Vivaan Parashar makes a fairly impressive debut as Sadashiv. However, Baba, Jagannath and Sadashiv, who are virtually the shadows of Amartya, don’t collectively appear as strong as they should. Sunil Shetty lends star value in a special appearance as Sada Anna. Anjana Sukhani is confident as Mrs. Khaitan. Tithi Raj is so-so as Neelam. Akash Khurana (as father of Sunil Khaitan), Rajendra Gupta (as Amartya and Arjun’s father), Pawan Chopra (as Commissioner of Police Mario), Sandesh Jadhav (as Samant), Vinod Pulawle (as Samant’s colleague), Harsh Sharma (as young Arjun Rao) and the others provide able support.

Sanjay Gupta’s direction is stylised. His narrative style will appeal more to the masses because of the kind of subject he has chosen. Music (Yo Yo Honey Singh and Payal Dev) is fair. The Honey Singh number has appeal for the youngsters. Lyrics (Honey Singh, Homi Delliwaala, Prashant Ingole and Manoj Muntashir) are okay. Rajiv Surti’s choreography is alright. Amar Mohile’s background music is effective. Shikhar Bhatnagar’s cinematography is very nice. Anbariv’s action and stunt scenes are exciting and thrilling. They add to the mass appeal of the film. Production designing (by Priya Suhas and Sunil Nigvekar) is of a good standard. Bunty Nagi’s editing is reasonably sharp.

On the whole, Mumbai Saga is a good masala fare for the masses but it holds limited appeal for the classes and family audiences. Its title further restricts its appeal as ‘Saga’ is not a commonly used English word and also because ‘Mumbai’ in the title makes the story more relevant for the audience in Bombay.

Released on 19-3-’21 at Inox (daily 10 shows) and other cinemas of Bombay thru AA Films. Publicity: so-so. Opening: fair. …….Also released all over. Opening was not upto the mark at most of the places.