Once Upon A Time in Mumbai is about a "Gangster" - Ajay Devgan, the new age Robin Hood and how he ruled over Mumbai long ago. And then came the over-ambitious " Wannabe" - Emran Hashmi who brought about Robin Hoods downfall and took over as the more devilish successor. Devgan's philosophy is "Main woh kaam karta hun jiski kanoon ijaazat nahi deti.. Woh nahi jiska Zameer ijaazat nahi deta". and Emran's philosophy is getting power at any cost. Then, there is also an ambitious cop - Randeep Hooda, who watches from the sidelines as Wannabe brings about the downfall of the Gangster.
Lets talk about the plus points of this film : Its well directed, its stylish, it has good performances and good dialogues. Devgan is an automatic choice for the role. Emran nd Randeep Hooda get their first shot at doing an A grade multi-starrer . Devgan is as good as always in a role he can sleep walk through. Emran Hashmi is getting better, but suffers a bit in dialogue delivery. The one who surprises the most is Hooda, and if not for his heavily curtailed role, this would have been his vehicle to fame... Kangana Ranaut looks pretty, but struggles to pull off the sophisticated heroin character. It also has some hard hitting dialogues and some powerful scenes. Also, a couple of songs in the film are awesome and that helps.
But the film suffers because it's an all too familiar tale. It looks like a poor cousin of "Company". Though the story has promise, the screenplay suffers. Romance takes away half of the screen time and keeps the screenplay slow. Also, one of the most promising character's - Randeep Hooda, is sidelined. Gangster glorification is accompanied by Police derogation. Also, the story defies logic. Even though he is the KING of Mumbai, Devgan defies logic by selecting a rank new comer, Emran, to take his place while he takes a sabbatical. Also, just because Devgan is slated to die in the end, Ranaut is conveniently diagnosed with a hole in her heart which limits her life. The film is based in the 70's but the director could have done well, without having the cliches of 70's films ! Also, the writer/director seem to have fallen short of ideas towards the end and have the lamest end possible. You are left with the reaction " Oh! its over !! OK... lets go !"
A gangster film requires a punch and should have enough drama to keep you occupied - Eg- Satya, Company, Kaantein and this film lacks both. But once upon a time is still a more than decent film for this time ( of truly over hyped trashy films) ! DVD mile toh dekh lena...
Rating : 5.5 / 10