Mayank Shekhar | Last Modified - May 06, 2013, 09:42 AM IST
If you didn’t know any better and there weren’t that many guns going off at one go, you would imagine that you had actually walked into a long mushaira of lafanga shayars with this hollow film. Every character here is a poet and he knows it. Every line in the picture is loud dialoguebaazi. This makes it at best a super cheap, cheesier version of Once Upon A Time In Mumbai. Even while a person (Manoj Bajpayee) is breathing his last breath, he can’t stop throwing his bombastic final word. The person (John Abraham) twisting a knife into that person’s belly does so spouting neatly momorised rhyming prose.
Bajpayee plays a young don Zubair. Over-built John portrays a heavily mythologised character called Manya Surve who’s run away from jail and upon killing Zubair would become, you know, Mumbai ka king and all those things that underworld types used to say in Bollywood movies of the late ‘90s and early 2000s. Very little is known about Manya Surve, so claim the filmmakers right at the beginning of the show, and with this disclaimer free themselves up to take as many fictional liberties with his supposed biopic.
In the opening shot, Manya is sitting opposite a young, handsome, ageless cop Anil Kapoor in a police van. Both seem to be telling each other the same story. You’re not sure if Manya is going to die. Eventually you wonder why he is probably not dead yet. The police are known to be helpless nincompoops though. Shayar no 5 Anil Kapoor explains to us why they wear khaki uniforms, because even if anyone shits on it, nobody will know. The audience in my theatre laughs out loud. The cop’s boss (Jackie Shroff in a cameo appearance) reasons however that the colour khaki is meant to signify soil or, mitti: Hum iske liye mitti mein milne ke liye taiyaar hain. Wah!
Sounds like fun? Maybe. People, mostly men, in my half packed theatre erupt into a snigger when one character or the other blurts out a popular expletive: b********, ch******. “Be Indian, abuse Indian,” instructs one of the blokes in the film. This novelty factor only comes from years of repression by the Indian censor board. The guys I am sure also find sexual release watching Johnny boy oddly doing push-ups over Kangana Ranaut’s body that pass for lovemaking in bed. There are semi-clothed Sophie Choudry and Sunny Leone to further tickle the collective imagination.
All of this could still make sense to me if I cared enough or at all for the main character Manya on whom the whole movie is based. But why should anyone bother? These characters are all hit-men who love to “play with items” and even “rape if the item is good”. They’re somehow looking for a hit film. Don’t know why but I feel like the one being hit on the head right now.