Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara: Akshay Kumar all the way

MUMBAI: Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaa is touted as a sequel to the producers' earlier film, Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai. The claim is a deception and a ploy to cash in on the popularity of the earlier film. Supposedly based on a chapter from the don Dawood Ibrahim's life, it is just another love triangle.

Akshay Kumar has killed senior dons and attained the mantle of the ultimate don of Mumbai. The remaining local area gangsters are also rendered ineffective by him thereby creating enemies waiting to kill him. His main opponent is Mahesh Manjrekar. Akshay has shifted his base to Middle East but still rules the underworld of Mumbai from there. Akshay had long back picked a young boy, Imran Khan, and nurtured him into a perfect daredevil.

Having neutralised all his enemies, he plans to visit Mumbai again; the agenda being to eliminate Manjrekar once and for all. The task to eliminate him is passed onto Imran and another henchman, Chetan Hansraj, who botch it up as Manjrekar outsmarts them.

But there is a distraction in his life and plans. A khiladi with women otherwise, for the first time in his life, he falls in love. The woman is Sonakshi Sinha, but he is unaware that his own protégé, Imran, also loves the same woman. The film, which was fun so far, starts going downhill as the love triangle plays up and the villain in Akshay starts getting more and more cruel, illogical, stretched and dull.

As the film continues with its love story of two men and one woman, there are songs and dream sequences and poor Sonakshi ends up being in the imagination songs of both the heroes. There seem to be no better, more interesting ways known to the writer to fill up the reels, notwithstanding the tedium it causes to the viewers. This is until Akshay suddenly dreams up a plot to lure Manjrekar out of his den: to spread the rumour that Akshay and Imran have fallen out as both crave the same woman! As invincible as the tales of Dawood Ibrahim have made him, Akshay, supposedly playing his character, takes on Manjrekar in the middle of a busy Mumbai road with traffic in full flow from both directions.

Producers: Ekta Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor.

Direction: Milan Luthria.

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Imran Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Sonali Bendre, Mahesh Manjrekar, Pitobash Tripathy, Mushtaq Khan, Chetan Hansraj, Tiku Talsania.

Having killed his main adversary now is the time for the love triangle to reach some sort of conclusion. Pitobash Tripathy, Imran's childhood buddy, finds a place in Akshay's car. He has been brought here to 'unwittingly' convey that Imran also loves Sonakshi. Akshay being don and Imran being his underling knows only one way to end the love triangle: by killing Imran. There is some one-sided action as Imran refuses to raise his hand on his mentor and goes on to take a police bullet meant for Akshay on himself.

The film is okay while Akshay holds the fort on his own for much of first half of the film. It is also okay with Imran's entry scene. But enter Sonakshi and the film loses its track. Milan Luthria is not in his element and has also taken the viewer for granted at many places. Characters play Shoaib, Aslam and Jasmine speak of 'Paap' and cite 'Ram' and 'Ravan', which is odd. Nor does the film create the aura of the era it deals with. Rajat Arora has done well with his dialogue writing, especially the ones penned for Akshay. Musically, the film has an entertaining number in Tayyab Ali pyar ka dushman…. A hit number borrowed from Manmohan Desai's Amar Akbar Anthony and scored by Laxmikant Pyarelal. The other good songs are: Tu hi khwahish… And Yeh tune kya kiya… Editing needed to be crisper. Photography is good.

The film is an Akshay Kumar vehicle and he makes the most of it; dressed like a mid 20th century American gangster with jelled hairstyle, dark glasses and suit without tie, he carries a certain gait in his walk. This is one of his better performances. Imran is good in certain parts. Sonakshi is okay. Pitobash is good as usual. Sonali Bendre makes a brief role while Vidya Balan makes a passing appearance.

Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara is a mish-mash between a crime and a romance film, which does not quite work for a viewer.

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