ONCE UPON AY TIME IN MUMBAI DOBAARA!
Balaji Telefilms’ Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbai Dobaara! (UA) is a sequel to Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai. After Sultan’s (Ajay Devgan’s) death in the first part, Shoaib (Emraan Hashmi) has become the don of Bombay. This film traces the love story of Shoaib (Akshay Kumar in place of Emraan Hashmi of the first part). Aslam (Imran Khan), whom Shoaib had taken under his wings in his childhood, is the trusted lieutenant of don Shoaib who rules over Bombay city. Don Rawal (Mahesh Manjrekar) resents the growing hold of Shoaib on Bombay, and he (Rawal) is, therefore, out to eliminate him.
Shoaib comes from abroad to Bombay and meets Jasmine (Sonakshi Sinha) who is a new actress, working in DK’s (Akash Khurana) film. Jasmine’s simplicity and straightforwardness greatly impress Shoaib who, in any case, is a womaniser, and has his old flame, Mumtaz (Sonali Bendre Behl, in place of Prachi Desai of Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai), for company. Jasmine treats Shoaib as a good friend but she is neither in the know of his activities as a don nor aware that he has fallen in love with her.
Aslam, who teaches Jasmine to speak English even though he himself is illiterate, also falls in love with her. Aslam meets her while he is helping his friend, Dedh Tang (Pitobash Tripathi), establish contact with Shireen, the girl he loves.
All hell breaks loose when Shoaib tells Jasmine that he loves her and wants to possess her. She also learns of his underworld activities and is petrified.
Shoaib soon learns that Aslam, his protégé, loves the same Jasmine whom he loves. Obviously, Shoaib’s frustratation increases. On the one hand, Shoaib has Rawal to settle scores with. He also has to contend with an unrelenting Jasmine and a junior, Aslam, who he thinks has back-stabbed him. Then, there’s Bombay police who is thirsting for Shoaib’s blood.
What happens thereafter? Whom does Jasmine actually love – Shoaib, Aslam or none of them? Does she marry Shoaib or Aslam or none of them? Does Shoaib confront Aslam about Jasmine? Do cracks develop in the relationship between Shoaib and Aslam? What happens to Rawal? Does the police get Shoaib?
Rajat Aroraa’s script concentrates on the love life of don Shoaib and almost completely remains away from his professional activities. Since Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai dealt with both, the personal and professional lives of Sultan, the audience which comes to watch this film as a sequel, may feel cheated because it is more about the personal life of don Shoaib. Also, although comparisons are odious, the viewers are bound to search for similarities in this film and OUATIM, and they will not find the screenplay of the sequel as engrossing, gripping and entertaining as that of the first part. No doubt, the love story is quite different from many love stories seen in earlier films but the mere novelty does not make up for the lack of entertainment value in the screenplay.
Although the drama keeps the audience involved, it does get repetitive and boring at places. For instance, the scenes between Aslam and Jasmine are not half as exciting as those between Shoaib and Jasmine. The comedy of Aslam is quite boring. Also, the viewer, at places, gets the impression that the screenplay is one of convenience. For example, showing Jasmine to be so innocent and even more ignorant makes it a case of convenient writing. Again, Shoaib asking Aslam to pretend that he also loves Jasmine (which, the audience knows and Shoaib doesn’t know, is actually the case) is a bit too much of a coincidence.
While Rajat Aroraa’s story and screenplay are not upto the mark, his dialogues are extraordinary. There is more humour and drama in his dialogues than in his screenplay. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that Aroraa’s dialogues are a major asset of the film.
Akshay Kumar does a truly fantastic job as underworld don Shoaib. His facial expressions and body language, when he is livid, are a treat to watch. He has worked hard on his acting to make the character of Shoaib look different and the results show. Imran Khan is good in the role of Aslam. He comes up with an easy-going performance but needs to brush up his act in comic scenes. Sonakshi Sinha springs a wonderful surprise and shines in the role of Jasmine. She is brilliant in emotional and dramatic scenes and cute in the scenes in which she has to appear innocent. Mahesh Manjrekar get very limited scope and does well. Pitobash Tripathi leaves a mark as Dedh Tang. Sarfaraz Khan makes his presence felt as Shoaib’s Man Friday, Javed. Abhimanyu Shekhar Singh gets limited scope as the police inspector and he is earnest. Sonali Bendre Behl, in a special appearance, stands out in her scene with Shoaib in the post-interval portion. Vidya Balan makes a very tiny special appearance in a song. Mushtaq Khan is fair. Hussain Shaikh lends able support as Akbar. Sophie Choudry gets her expressions perfectly right in the role of the glamorous sex kitten she plays. Chetan Hansraj, Vidya Malavade, Tiku Talsania, Akash Khurana and the others provide able support.
Milan Luthria handles the love triangle with maturity. His direction is able but his choice of subject is not very appropriate as the sequel comes with the formidable brand of OUATIM which was loved by the audience. Pritam’s music lacks hit songs but two songs – ‘Ye tune kya kiya’ and ‘Chugliyaan’ – are appealing, besides the remixed version of the super-hit ‘Tayyab Ali’ song of Amar Akbar Anthony. ‘Tu hi khwahish’ is a fair fast-paced song. Rajat Aroraa’s lyrics are of a good standard. Song picturisations (Raju Khan) are alright. Sandeep Shirodkar’s background music is very fine. Ayananka Bose’s cinematography is wonderful. Priya Suhas and Sunil Jaiswal’s sets are nice. Javed-Aejaz’s action scenes provide thrill to the masses and front-benchers but the audience would expect more action. Akiv Ali’s editing could’ve been sharper.
On the whole, Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbai Dobaara! is an average film with dialogues and performances as its big plus points and the burden of Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai and limited action as it minus points. Its huge cost is probably its biggest problem as the merits are not enough considering the investment in the film (around Rs. 85 crore). The holidays (Independence day, Raksha Bandhan) will help boost its collections but the haphazard release (it opened in limited/small-capacity auditoria of multiplexes, that too, in very limited number of shows on Thursday) will reduce its box-office takings. Business in Muslim centres will be better. Considering all the pros and cons, it will barely be able to recover its heavy cost.