Reviewing the Reviews: 1.5-2 stars for OUATIMD

19 Aug,2013

By Deepa Gahlot


Director: Milan Luthria

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Imran Khan, Sonakshi Sinha


At least the Mumbai is spelt correctly this time, even if the ‘a’ becomes ‘ay’. Numerlogical predictions, probably. The sequel to Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai and Milan Luthria gets a battering this time, not just for glorifying a gangster to absurd heights, but for its weak plotting and overwrought dialogue.


Akshay Kumar gets way because he plays the don with the required swagger, but Imran Khan is not made to play a Dongri boy-he can’t get rid of his urbane personality.


The film got 1.5 to 2.5 stars, with the Times of India coming up with the expected 3.5. Even Taran Adarsh’s generous count stopped at 2.5.


Karan Anshuman of the Mumbai Mirror commented, “The Milan Luthria/Rajat Arora director-writer combo is back; this time with an even more baffling titled film: Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara. Stare at that for a moment and see if it makes sense on its own and then in context with the film. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. This mantra is entirely understandable from a producer’s point-ofview, but one wonders how many identical looking films can a creative mind keep cranking out. Unlike in Hollywood, where a franchise is usually handed over to another director while the original creator moves on, our filmmakers are content repeating themselves for most part.”


Rajeev Masand of IBNLive slaughtered it. “This disappointing sequel to 2010’s Ajay Devgan-Emran Hashmi starrer is constructed around the premise of a love triangle…the laziest love triangle you could possibly imagine. Shoaib (Akshay Kumar) is a mob boss. Aslam (Imran Khan) is his loyal protégé. Both men develop feelings for struggling actress Jasmine (Sonakshi Sinha), who is close to Shoaib and Aslam. But Jasmin doesn’t know that Shoaib is a don, or that Aslam works for him, or even that Shoaib has designs on her. Shoaib and Aslam, meanwhile, are unaware that they’re both in love with the same girl. That’s way too many clueless people in one film!”


Aniruddha Guha of Time Out was not kind either. “The sequel to the awkwardly spelt but rather enjoyable Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai was initially called Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai Again, before the “Again” was replaced with “Dobaara”. A closer look at the film’s poster will reveal that a “y” has been added to the “a” lately, and the name currently stands at Once Upon ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara. You could brandish a dictionary in revolt, or hold that Wren & Martin close to your chest and weep, but the idiotic title makes complete sense once you’ve watched the film. If anything, it reflects the mindset of its makers perfectly. The sequel’s a confused, botched-up attempt at reworking the formula of the first film, one that hurtles from point A to B without any sort of focus. The title is its least unintelligent feature.”


Shubhra Gupta of the Indian Express wrote, “What did you expect from the sequel of Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai which came out in 2010? Given that its director and writer are the same, I knew that the clunkily-titled-and-spelt Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara! would tread the same territory: gangsters- muscle-flexing-in-Mumbai-which-used-to-be-Bombay, non-stop rat-a-tat of ’70s style dialogue-baazi, loud background music, and a plot riddled with predictabilities from beginning to end. What I wasn’t prepared for was just how similar it would be, despite the change in leads (Ajay Devgn and Emran Hashmi have been replaced by Akshay Kumar and Imran Khan, and instead of Kangna Ranaut, there is Sonakshi Sinha), and after a point, just how listless it would turn out to be.”


Rediff’s Sukanya Verma panned it too calling it a “complete drag, unintentionally comical and painfully verbose unlike the prequel which hit quite a few right notes with its slick take on the anti-hero against the half-hearted immorality of the 1970s. Rivalry makes way for romance in the follow-up but for a film set against the mafia, the predominant action is the yak yak coming out of Akshay Kumar’s mouth. Though the actor, saddled with an absurd script against a gaudy set in a jaded love triangle, is a treat though conveying an extravagant personality and remorseless menace as the underworld kingpin.”


Sanjukta Sharma of Mint was equally scathing. “The Dawood prototype in Milan Luthria’s new film, mindlessly titled Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara!, is a raunchy playboy who transforms into a wrathful and obsessive lover. Not a diabolical underworld don by miles. There is something incongruous about a Dawood remotely akin to Rahul in Darr. That Akshay Kumar plays the role with a lot of relish does not really help. The ersatz, 1970s-style dialogue-baazi, many notches worse than those in Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai (2010), combined with Kumar’s hammy, monotone performance-his tricks for the role include craning his neck to the left and a swagger that works only in slow motion-add to the banal claptrap that it is.”


Saibal Chatterjee of was mild in comparison. “Stylishly mounted, Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara! is shot in muted hues, which captures both the street-level dread and the soaring sparkle of 1980s Bombay with consistent sharpness. What robs the film of genuine traction is that the action seems to unfold in a disinfected bubble that is out of bounds for the urban realities of the era.


Moreover, there is very little chemistry between Sonakshi and the two male leads. The only time sparks actually fly is when Jasmine and Aslam lie under a small rail bridge and watch the wheels of a running train as it races by, generating electro-magnetic flickers in the darkness.  What makes matters worse is a overly sterilised narrative that presents every hint of passion between the girl and the two men only as flights of the febrile male imagination running riot to the accompaniment of ‘romantic’ songs.”


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