I have watched, yet again on the plane, two movies about Mumbai, both about the muscle of Mumbai. One is about the immigrants who form a large part of the society and are the muscle of Mumbai. And the other is about the conflicts of men in mafia (supposed based on true story). One is an art film with outstanding actors produced by the National Film Development Corporation of India. And the other is a mainstream Bollywood Boxoffice hit produced by a rich daughter of an old time Bollywood actor.
Disha has Nana Patekar moving to Mumbai as an immigrant, living in terrible conditions, always wanting to go back to the village and yet stays on after he loses his wife’s loyalty. Om Puri plays a man who would never give up hope and sticks to the village in spite of terrible finances, proving that hard work and dedication will prevail in the end. Shabana Azmi plays a nagging wife, who acts tired of Om Puri’s never giving up attitude but loves him deeply and is proud of the same attitude. The plot unfolds delicately with the actors’ abilities rather than dialogues. It talks of the simple village life, its struggles, its malicious nature as well as protective nature and the male ego. A beautifully made movie! Yet, I would say it is only a onetime watch. But it stays with you for a while.
Once Upon A Time in Mumbai has all the glitz and glamour of a mainstream Bollywood movie. It talks about the rise of a good-hearted, helper of the poor, mafia don played by Ajay Devagan who is shot dead by a dark character played by Emraan Hashmi whose main goal since childhood was to get the power, money and fame that comes from being a mafia don. The movie was well made keeping up to pace and makes for a good watch. Except that I do not like bad endings, this one is almost lame. But some say it is about some true story and I am not aware of it so I still feel it is a lame ending. Also, I thought both of the love stories were randomly put and sort of stupid. Everyone has to agree with me that Ajay Devagan and Kangana Raunat’s romance was outright nonsense. And Prachi Desai’s role was more like made for an award and all that. She apparently won a lot of Supporting Role awards even though I do not see how her role is in anyway supporting the film. Remove her from the movie and the story will not suffer. However, remove Emraan’s father, the sub-inspector and the narrative will suffer. He played his role perfectly. All in all it’s a onetime watch.