After the dismal Box-Office performance of Once upon a Time in Mumbai: Dobara, Milan Luthria returns after four years with his prize duo of Ajay Devgan and Emraan Hashmi. The females leads have changed and so has the theme of the movie. The setting and the overall aura, however, remains the same as the first part of Once upon a Time in Mumbai series.
A welcome addition to the Luthria gang is the rising action hunk Vidyut Jamwal. After appearing in back to back mainstream action movies, Vidyut is revisiting the pseudo bad-guy image in this movie. There are quite a few shirtless scenes for him in the movie which I’m sure would prove to be quite beneficial for the audience as well as the maker. The limelight however stays with the duo of Ajay and Emraan, shared responsibly with Ileana D’Cruz.
How will this duo and the resilience of Milan Luthria perform on the Box-Office remains to be seen. How they performed in the acting arena, however, I’ll describe in detail in the next sections.
Set in the emergency era of 1970s, the movie starts on a regal note. Maharani Gitanjali (Ilena D’cruz) is the heir to the royal seat of Jaipur in a post-independence India. Bhawani (Ajay Devgan) is her bodyguard, who has vowed to make sure Maharani goes through her otherwise problem-ridden life without any obstacles. Everyone else I’m afraid is either noise, a smokescreen, or unnecessarily buffed up. I’m talking about Sunny Leone, of course. You thought I was talking about Vidyut Jamwal didn’t you?
Then, as if she already didn’t have enough problems (first world problems) in her life, Maharani Gitanjali is faced with another one. You know it’s quite serious judging from the creases on her forehead and constantly changing fashion statement. Her ancestral gold has been confiscated by the government; the last of it being transported out of Jaipur. This takes us to Bhawani, and his crew Dalia (Emraan Hashmi) and Tikla (Sanjay Mishra), who will do everything in their power to loot that gold and take it back before it reaches Delhi. This invariably introduces the character of Officer Seher Singh (Vidyut Jamwal) who is supposedly trying to stop them from doing so. It also drops off Esha Gupta in the midst but I honestly don’t know why. I might’ve dozed off at the point when the plot changing reason for her to be in the movie was mentioned. Other than to show her sleek long legs and bad (read excruciating) acting, that is.
So with a whiff of the Ocean series, we begin on a swashbuckling adventure which promises plenty of action scenes, dramatic reveals, and thrill like you’ve never seen before. Get ready to see the Thar Desert more than you’d like to and a non-existent plot less than you’d like to. I think that rhymed.
String of Disappointments
Let’s get serious for a second. Baadshaho like any other Milan Luthria movie shows the audience a lot of dreams about what’s to come. The buildup is there; I don’t argue with that point. But ultimately -and I closely compare it to Once upon a time in Mumbai Dobara– the plot and the ensemble thereof fails to live up to its own hype. The first half manages to construct a very interesting and exciting picture of what’s to come, only to disappoint in the end. The second half is not what you expect it to be and the climax doesn’t come close to what it should be or could be. Either or both.
I will truly like to mention it at this point that I was expecting to witness the genius of Luthria in work, like I did in Once upon a time in Mumbai. I have since then tried to make myself and many of my friends believe that it was not a one-time-fluke for the immensely talented maker. Maybe it’s time I made peace with the truth once and for all. Perhaps the conditions, the cast, and the time all fell in the right place for him the first time. After that, not so much. He just doesn’t seem to be achieving his full potential and with every near miss -or far off miss I guess- he appears to be going more and more towards the wrong end.
I’m not saying the movie is not good. It’s quite enjoyable. The dialogues are good. Acting at times is bearable. I would go as far to say it’s a one time watch. But does it do justice to the triumphant trio of Milan Luthria, Ajay Devgan, and Emraan Hashmi? I think not.
Also read: Barielly Ki Barfi Movie Review