Mumbai Saga’s drama comes from this idea of placing politicians as the significant players who moved their pawns from time to time to remain in power. Sanjay Gupta, with his brand of gangster thrillers, could have used this idea to create a space of moral dilemma in the audience’s minds. But that’s not the case, and it’s the same old cliched rise of the underdog story happening here with heavy broad-strokes. With the cast making zero impact in creating any sort of charisma around those characters, Mumbai Saga is an absolutely lackluster movie with cheesy dialogue baazi.
Amartya Rao is our hero. He was a regular guy who lived an everyday life ignoring the oppression simply because he never wanted his younger brother to face any sort of threat. But when his brother got attacked, his blood boiled and what he did in return eventually made him the mafia don of Mumbai. Under the guidance of the political kingmaker Bhau, Amartya became this powerful figure, and the movie Mumbai Saga shows us the rise and fall of Rao.
As I said, there is absolutely no freshness to the writing here. It just feels like a template. You have this naive phase of your hero where he wants to be a common man. Then he suddenly becomes this man who can simply punch ten men, and they will just fly away. Then the usual drill of becoming the most dreaded gangster is happening. If you have seen Sanjay Gupta’s own gangster movies, you would be able to guess where the story is going. If the theatre folks decided to play Shoot Out At Wadala after the interval point, there is a high chance that you might not get it for some time. It’s that similar in terms of the presentation, texturing, visual aesthetics, dialogues, etc. And the most bizarre part was that the police officer Vijay Sarvarkar, who was trying to find Rao, didn’t know how he looked like. And to justify that, the movie claims that Rao has changed his looks. That’s like saying John Abraham in Force, and Rocky Handsome look extremely different.
John Abraham as Manya Surve, oh sorry, Amartya Rao is tough in terms of physicality and stiff in terms of acting. His emotional outburst that looks like some bug went inside his eyes was unintentionally funny. Emraan Hashmi as Vijay Sarvarkar is just repeating that attitude show he used to show in movies like Jannat, Once Upon A Time In Mumbai, etc. Kajal Aggarwal as Seema is very inconsequential to the story. Amol Gupte as Gaitonde and Mahesh Manjrekar as Bhau are perhaps the only two performers here who genuinely showed a transformed performance. Pretiek Babbar, Ronit Roy, etc., have important roles with forgettable screen space.
Sanjay Gupta has these saturated color filters in all his movies, and here also one can see that style getting followed. But his framing and cuts are at times totally bizarre. It’s almost like he is trying to act like the vintage RGV, but the flaws and cluelessness become very clear. The tilted shots are excessive, and even in normal conversations, one can see the editor chopping from one shot to another without any sense of motivation. The music was nothing short of terrible, and the song placements were equally bad. The dialogues are the other negative. One would expect the filmy lines to go through a little bit of evolution. But here, the characters are saying so much of rhyming punch dialogues that you would wish to break the fourth wall and ask those characters whether they rehearsed these lines before.
Sanjay Gupta’s Mumbai Saga is a movie that would have got the watchable label if it was released ten or fifteen years back. For a 2021 audience, this is a heavily outdated gangster movie with a boring level of predictability. The story is set in the ’80s and ’90s, and the storytelling is also set in the same era.
Sanjay Gupta's Mumbai Saga is a movie that would have got the watchable label if it was released ten or fifteen years back.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended