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The world is his playground at this point. But the Bhai is lonely. He trusts nobody. And nobody trusts him. In such a desolate scenario, he hopes to find a bedmate and confidante. An ally and lover. That stereotype rarely changes …”, said Shobhaa De in one of her columns in a popular entertainment newspaper as part of promotions of Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara. And these two lines very neatly encompass the essence of the film as well. After winning over the city by hook or by crook, the gangster wants to win over the girl, also by hook or by crook. Little does he realize that it won’t be that easy and convenient! The story itself makes for a great watch and director Milan Luthira manages to put up a great show. But the second half is weak, unfortunately.

The story of the movie: Shoaib (Akshay Kumar) is the new ‘ruler’ of Mumbai. Flamboyant and menacing, Shoaib’s reign extends to even Middle East where he has set up his base. However, circumstances compel him to return back to his hometown. One fine day, he comes across Jasmine (Sonakshi Sinha), a wannabe actress and a simpleton. Shoaib falls deeply in love with her, not realizing that she’s in love with Aslam (Imran Khan), who works under Shoaib! On the other hand, Shoaib’s love for Jasmine turns into an obsession. An ultimate showdown between Shoaib and Aslam is on the cards.

Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara has a rocking first half. Akshay Kumar kind of has a ‘double entry scene’ in the film and both the sequences work big time. The engaging execution and witty and sharp dialogues help engross and entertain the viewers. The love that blossoms between Aslam and Jasmine is neatly done while Shoaib-Jasmine’s conversations are quite funny. Also, the parallel track of Shoaib’s enemies is quite a treat. The intermission point is simply brilliant! Problem arises in the second half. The sequence where Aslam unsuccessfully tries to propose Jasmine and also the last-minute added ‘Bismillah’ song serve as a stumbling block in the otherwise great-going film. Thankfully, film comes back on track from the scene where Shoaib unleashes his anger. Things do hot up in the pre-climax. But the climax, though well written, doesn’t come out quite well. For a film that had such a rocking first half, one expects things to hot up and explode into an ultimate finale. Sadly, that doesn’t quite happen. The final scene, however, makes for an impact.

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Performances are decent and sans complaint. Akshay Kumar looks great as the villainous gangster. Some of the best dialogues of the film are mouthed by him…and how! Right from the entry scene till the finale, he remains in character and also creates that fear that his character commands in the film. Imran Khan is a surprise. Many viewers were apprehensive about his performance but he sails through with ease. His entry scene is something to watch out for! Sonakshi Sinha looks stunning and as always, gives a terrific performance. Watch out for her in the finale…a great actor indeed! Mahesh Manjrekar (Rawal) is strictly okay in his negative role. Sarfaraz Khan (Javed) plays his part well. Abhimanyu Singh (ACP Kamat) puts his best foot forward but the character could have been better written. Sonali Bendre (Mumtaz) has a special appearance but leaves a huge mark. Pitobash Tripathy (Dedh Taang) puts up a sincere performance and so does Chetan Hanraj (Jimmy). Sophie Choudry is sizzling in the cameo. Tiku Talsania, Akash Khurana, Mushtaq Khan, Kurush Deboo, Deepraj Rana, Vidya Malwade and others do a nice job.

Pritam’s music is alright. Tu Hi Khwahish turns out to be the best song of the lot. Tayyab Ali is fun while Ye Tune Kya Kiya is neatly incorporated in the film. Background score enhances impact. Ayananka Bose’s cinematography is top-notch. Sets are authentic, sans flaws and re-created the 80s era beautifully. Rajat Aroraa’s dialogues are the highpoint of the enterprise! In fact, almost every line is worth claps and whistles! His story was interesting and made for a good sequel for an underworld don who has achieved everything but love. But screenplay in the later part of the film sadly wasn’t upto the mark. Also, Mahesh Manjrekar’s buffoonery character stood as the sore thumb in the film. The double meaning one-liners seem forced initially but are nicely incorporated in the narrative later on. Milan Luthria’s direction is good and wonderfully builds up the drama and tension. Sadly, he fails to hold up or escalate the narrative to a different level in the concluding part of the film.

Some of the best scenes of the film:
1. Shoaib watching match
2. The songs Tu Hi Khwahish, Tayyab Ali, Ye Tune Kya Kiya
3. The blast in the car
4. Aslam’s entry
5. Jasmine’s entry
6. Jimmy attacks Rawal
7. Jasmine wins award
8. Aslam shows Jasmine the ‘stars’
9. The intermission point
10. Jasmine learns about Shoaib’s feelings for her
11. Shoaib at Jasmine’s film set
12. Shoaib, Jasmine, Aslam at the hospital
13. Shoaib attacks Rawal
14. The final scene

On the whole, Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara is a decent entertainer and drama that sadly fails to sustain in the second half. However, performances are impressive while dialogues are just out of the world! Worth watching once!

My rating-*** out of 5!

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