Posts tagged haji mastan
By Taran Adarsh, July 26, 2010 – 13:29 IST
The fascination with gangster movies has been immense worldwide. On this side of the Atlantic, several gangster films have left giant footprints on the sands of time. Films like DEEWAAR [Yash Chopra], DHARMATMA [Feroz Khan], NAYAKAN [Mani Ratnam], ANGAAR [Shashilal Nair], PARINDA [Vidhu Vinod Chopra], AGNEEPATH [Mukul Anand], SATYA and COMPANY [Ramgopal Varma], VAASTAV [Mahesh Manjrekar], GANGSTER [Anurag Basu], D [Vishram Sawant] and SHOOTOUT AT LOKHANDWALA [Apoorva Lakhia] have tremendous recall value to this day.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI recreates an era that so many of us have left behind and for those who arrived on this planet post 80s, I am sure, they must have visited the era through some medium or the other, mainly movies and internet or during their academic careers.
|BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM
ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI is not part of history, but it attempts to portray on celluloid tales that are now considered legendary, that continue to make news to this date. Of course, the disclaimer claims that it bears no resemblance to a particular person, but you can’t help but draw parallels with real-life characters. It could be a coincidence, though!
ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI is a fascinating story that talks of how the mafia came into force for the first time in Mumbai. A thriller that depicts the crime scenario in Mumbai during the 70s and 80s. The rise to power of two young boys, in different age-groups, who grew up to ‘rule’ the streets of Mumbai.
Since there’s tremendous speculation in the media that ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI chronicles the lives of Haji Mastan and Dawood Ibrahim, the curiosity to watch the film increases manifold. Of course, I am no one to comment if it’s actually based on their lives or merely borrows a few incidents from their lives or is pure fiction, but as a cinematic experience, I couldn’t help getting transported to the bygone era, getting sucked into a world I had no clue of.
Besides the gangster chapter, one enjoys this film also because of its riveting drama and the power play. It could’ve been set anywhere, in the corporate world, in politics, in the film industry. Anywhere. The rise and subsequent fall of the King and the emergence of the Prince as the super power is what makes this film a compelling watch. The icing on the cake is the magical and lilting song compositions that are juxtaposed so beautifully in the goings-on. On the sidelines of the power play, a game of hearts is being played and that’s what makes ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI a wholesome movie experience.
Final word? ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI is not to be missed. Set everything aside this coming weekend and watch this one. Strongly recommended!
The film, set primarily in 1970s Mumbai, follows the rise of Sultan Mirza [Ajay Devgn] and the conflict that ensues, when his protégé Shoaib Khan [Emraan Hashmi] challenges his supremacy and usurps power to rule the murky underbelly of Mumbai.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI is a power-packed drama that makes you thirst for more. You rewind to an era of romance, smuggling, cabaret and mafia, but director Milan Luthria and writer Rajat Aroraa ensure that there’s no sleaze or bloodshed-n-gore. In fact, there’s hardly any violent sequence in the movie, except for one when Ajay hammers a cop during a naaka-bandi.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI is not a biopic, but narrates the story through the eyes of a police officer [Randeep Hooda], who traces the changing face of the Mumbai underworld. The screenplay encompasses several moments that may compel you to draw parallels with real life, but talking strictly from the movie-going point of view, it satiates you completely. In fact, the writing is cohesive, smart and watertight and there’s never a dull moment. Besides, there’s no time to think whether it’s factual or loosely based on someone’s life or a work of fiction.
As I look back and recall the movie, a number of sequences flash across my mind. Note the sequence when Ajay divides the city amongst gangsters… The train sequence at the very start… The introduction of Emraan Hashmi’s character… Randeep Hooda’s landing on a film set and confiscating the equipment… The subsequent sequence, when Randeep is framed for accepting bribe… The romantic moments between Emraan and Prachi in the jewellery shop… Emraan starting his business and the confrontation that ensues between Ajay and Randeep… The showdown between Ajay and Emraan, with Ajay slapping Emraan in full public view… The conclusion to the story is equally novel. It stays in your memory and sets you thinking.
On the flipside, the story begins with Randeep attempting suicide, but the writer should’ve cited the reason that prompted him to take that drastic step. Sure, there’s a mention at the start, but it doesn’t register well. Also, you are keen to know the chain of events that drove Randeep to suicide. Also, the pace slackens in the middle of the second hour, but picks up dramatically when Ajay returns from Delhi and confronts Emraan. Besides, how I wish the film had a shorter, mass appealing Hindi title to attract more eyeballs and a big jump in footfalls [at single screens and smaller centres mainly] for a mass appealing subject like this.
This is director Milan Luthria’s best work to date, no two opinions on that. Recreating the bygone era is tough and the director, the writer and the art director [Nitin Chandrakant Desai] deserve brownie points for giving the film that authentic feel. In fact, the film wears a chic retro look throughout. Even otherwise, Milan’s handling of the subject material is exemplary. This film is sure to catapult him to the top league. Rajat Aroraa’s screenplay is powerful and engaging. The writer marries heavy-duty drama and subtle and delicate emotions beautifully. I would like to make a special note of the dialogue, also penned by Rajat Aroraa, which are simply fantastic. In fact, the dialogue writing is such it elevates even an ordinary sequence to great levels. One rarely comes across such potent dialogue in today’s times.
Pritam’s music is another ace. Injecting songs and that too a terrific soundtrack in a gangster film is tough. He did it in GANGSTER. He does it again in ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI. ‘Pee Loon’, ‘Tum Jo Aaye’ and the remix of APNA DESH track are super compositions, which are also placed appropriately in the plotline. Cinematography [Aseem Mishra] captures the look to perfection. Akiv Ali’s editing is sharp.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI is embellished with fantastic performances. Ajay Devgn is splendid as Sultan. The actor had enacted a similar role in COMPANY, but it must be said that his interpretation is so different in ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI. He adds so much depth to the character, which only goes to prove his range and versatility. This is, without a trace of doubt, Ajay’s finest work so far. Emraan Hashmi is brilliant as the power greedy, wildly ambitious rebel. He plays the dark character to perfection. He’s incredible in the penultimate moments of the film in particular. Besides carrying the look to perfection, Emraan is sure to break-free from the lover boy, serial kisser image with this film.
Kangna Ranaut is extremely natural and performs very well. Also, she brings so much of sensuality and glamour to her character [an actress of the 70s]. In fact, Ajay and Kangna make a wonderful on-screen pair. Prachi Desai is a bundle of talent who proves her mettle yet again. She’s proficient in emotional scenes and sizzles in the BOBBY song-sequence. Besides, the chemistry between Emraan and Prachi is exciting. Randeep Hooda is top notch. Even though the film belongs to Ajay and Emraan, Randeep makes his presence felt with a powerful performance. This film should prove to be the turning point in his career.
Avtar Gill [as Home Minister] is good. Naved Aslam [as Patrick, Ajay's trusted lieutenant] is perfect. Mehul Bhojak [as Emraan's friend Javed] is competent. Ravi Khanwilkar [as Vardhan] is satisfactory. Gauhar Khan sizzles in the remix track.
On the whole, ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI is an extremely well-made film that lingers in your memory. The realism coupled with stellar direction, power-packed writing, exceptional performances and ear-pleasing tunes are its trump cards. An outstanding cinematic experience!
Rebecca Samervel | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; July 21, 2010)
Mumbai: Producer Ekta Kapoor can breath a sigh of relief. A city civil court on Tuesday refused to stay the release of the Ajay Devgn-starrer Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai, after the adopted son of Haji Mastan filed a suit praying for a “permanent order of injunction’’ against the release of the film. The court, however, directed that a disclaimer clarifying that the film had no resemblance to the life of Mastan should be given at the beginning.
Colaba-based Sundar Shaekhar alias Suleman Mirza had alleged that Kapoor and the director Milan Luthria have “claimed in clear terms that the film is based on the character of Mastan along with other anti-social elements like Dawood’’. This, he said, would mar the reputation of Mastan, who died in 1994.
Kapoor’s lawyer Dinesh Gandhi argued that no such remark was made by Kapoor to any newspaper. “They can publish whatever they want Have they quoted us?’’ he said. He also stated that in a letter, they had denied all the allegations and also that the story was a work of fiction.
“If Haji Mastan was not an underworld person as you say, then why are you connecting him to a film based on the underworld?’’ Gandhi argued. He remarked that Mirza should approach the censor board to register his objection there.
The suit is filed by Mirza and the Bharatiya Minorities Suraksha Mahasangh, an organisation founded by Mastan, of which Mirza is the chairman. He alleged that “an attempt was being made to suggest that Mastan, during his lifetime, was a terror and an anti-social element’’.
Mirza said he wanted to watch the film before its release. “If we are dissatisfied, we will move the HC,’’ he said. He added that he would approach the censor board soon and stage a dharna if needed.
By Joginder Tuteja, July 16, 2010 – 11:24 IST
There is no denying the fact that Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai has fast turned out to be one of the most awaited films of the season. Credit it to the Ajay Devgn factor as he seems to be walking in straight from the days of Company, the charm of Emraan Hashmi who seems to be on a role reversal of sorts after Gangster, the music by Pritam which has everything going right for it, the Bobby nostalgia that has been created by Prachi or the mystery called Kangna Ranaut which seems to follow her film after film.
Kangna Ranaut – a mystery, something that led to names like Madhubala and Meena Kumari being thrown around as the reference points for the role of an actress that she plays in this Milan Luthria directed film. Still, there was no concrete information coming in from any quarters. Now that the film is just a few days away from release, a couple of shocking truths have been revealed.
First and foremost, it has been declared that Kangna’s character is indeed based on an actual heroine from the 70s. Secondly, the actress in picture is neither Madhubala nor Meena Kumari but a small time actress whose name was Sona. A girl who had actually acted in a couple of Bollywood films in the 70s, Sona was also the love of Haji Mastan on whom Ajay Devgn’s role in the film is based. Since Kangna plays the female lead opposite him, it was obvious that the reference point was Sona.
“Well, I have been told that Haji Mastan was in love with this girl called Sona”, Kangna says in a hush-hush tone, “She was a Madhubala look-alike and a struggler during the 70s. When the two came together, they became romantically involved. He even went on to make a movie for her.”
A quick Google search assures that Kangna’s claims were indeed true. Sona did actually work in a couple of films though the one which was notable was Raj Khosla’s Kuchche Dhaage where she had Vinod Khanna, Moushumi Chatterjee and Kabir Bedi for company. Incidentally, another striking factor about this casting and the film was that Moushumi’s screen name here was, as you guessed it right, Sona.
Cut to 2010 and there are obvious similarities in Kangna’s characterisation. As Rehana – an actress, she plays the love interest of Sultan (played by Ajay Devgn) who is a don in the Mumbai of 70s. “Rehana is basically a cross between Madhubala and Sona. She is really desired and is madly loved by Sultan”, confirms Kangna.
Unlike Sona though, Kangna gets the perks of playing a superstar instead of a struggler in the film. “Ajay’s character feels connected to her because he knows her only through the big screen. Once the two fall in love, Rehana becomes really vulnerable. You can say that while Ajay is the positive force of the film, Emraan is the negative force and I am the romantic force.”
Of course Kangna, we would like to believe that!
Finding the right period car for Emraan Hashmi in Once Upon A Time was no cake walk
Only now has Milan Luthria, the director of Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai, got a real taste of the problems of making a period film. Apart from getting the right look for the lead actors, Ajay Devgn and Emraan Hashmi, Milan has struggled to find them the right period cars.
The film is based in the 1970s. In the film, Ajay Devgn who plays the role of Haji Mastan drives a white 1967 Mercedes and Emraan Hashmi who plays Dawood Ibrahim has a Classic 1971 Ford LTD. The model Emraan drives, has been used in high-octane action movies like The French Connection and Terminator.
A source says, “It took about three months to find the white 1967 Mercedes. But it took Milan five months to find an apt car for Emraan’s character. He finally decided on the Ford LTD.”
Milan Luthria says, “For me it was great fun to source out these cars.” Being figurative, are we?
|Emraan Hashmi (right) with the Ford LTD|
Zeenat Aman was livid on hearing that Ekta Kapoor’s Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai hints at Haji Mastan’s infatuation for her
That late gangster Haji Mastan was infatuated by the queen of the 70’s, Zeenat Aman, is well known. But Zeenat, for obvious reasons, has tried to stay as far away from that past as possible.
Recently, when she learnt that Milan Luthria’s forthcoming film Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai has a passing mention of Haji Mastan’s fondness for her, she took urgent steps to change it before it got out of hand.
Apparently, a poster of Zeenat’s is seen in the film. And Ajay Devgn, whose character is loosely based on that of Haji Mastan’s, makes a remark about it. A source says, “The poster is from a film in which Zeenat acted as one of the leads. The poster has a picture of Zeenat’s back and it is clear that only she is depicted in it and no one else.”
Soon enough, news about this leaked out and reached Zeenat’s ears and she was livid. The source says, “Zeenat called up Ekta and ordered that the scene in question should be cut out of the film.”
Initially, Ekta tried to argue with Zeenat and pacify her so she sees some sense in it but Zeenat refused to listen to her. In the end, Ekta had to give in and understand Zeenat’s perspective. The source adds, “ The scene has now been scrapped.”
Seems like Ekta, who is usually the one calling the shots when decisions like these are taken, lost this battle. When contacted, Ekta said, “Zeenatji called Balaji’s CEO and we changed what she wanted us to.”
However, Zeenat is in denial. She heard us out and said, “There is nothing like that. These are just rumours. Why do you want me to clarify them? Please don’t call me for such things.”
Following a recent controversy and a near hit-and-run incident, Ekta Kapoor beefs up her personal security to two armed gunmen and four bodyguards
She may be the queen of small screen soaps and a feared one at that, but Ekta Kapoor no longer feels safe in this city. Following the incident, which Mumbai Mirror reported on June 14, where Ekta was almost run over by a car while she was jogging on the road along Juhu beach, she has decided to increase her own security.
Earlier, three bodyguards used to accompany Ekta wherever she went. These men were never armed though. But now, four bodyguards and two gunmen track every step Ekta takes and follow her wherever she goes. A source close to Ekta says, “She has six people close to her to ensure that she is well protected. Moreover, there is a car that follows her. This car always has a few more people who have been especially hired to protect her.”
Ekta beefed up her security at her mother Shobha Kapoor’s insistence. Her father Jeetendra too was extremely worried after the jogging incident. So agitated was he post the incident, that he had reprimanded the cops at Juhu police station for having taken no action in the near hit-and-run complaint lodged by his daughter.
Obviously, his daughter’s account of the driver’s abrasive behaviour had got Jeetendra even more worried. Apparently, the man behind the wheels had allegedly gotten off the car and screamed at Ekta saying, “Aapko footpath pe chalna nahin aata kya? (Don’t you know how to walk on the footpath?)”
There is another reason why the Kapoor family has been worried of late. Haji Mastan’s adopted son Sundar Shekhar Mirza recently sent a legal notice to Balaji Telefilms saying that the Kapoors did not take their consent before making Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai. The story of the film is supposedly based on the life of Mirza’s late father.
“The family wants to take no chances,” says the source, “Shobhaji told Ekta that she must have more people around her who can ensure that no untoward incidents happen to her. Ekta could not argue with her mother and had to obey.”
When contacted, Ekta did not deny the story. She simply said, “It’s a very personal matter. I don’t want to discuss this.”
Ajay Devgn’s all-white ensemble in Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai is inspired from Amitabh Bachchan’s look in Deewaar
Remember Amitabh Bachchan as the broody Vijay Verma in Deewaar? Those who can’t have enough of Amitabh’s strong and silent personality in the blockbuster are in for a treat albeit with a modern twist.
Though Ajay Devgn is all set to play a character inspired from the 1970s don Haji Mastan in Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai, fact is that Ajay’s look in the film is strikingly similar to that of Amitabh Bachchan who played the angry young man in Deewaar.
A source said, “Ajay’s look has been inspired from Amitabh’s look in Deewaar. Almost 37 costumes and looks were rejected before the filmmakers finalised the Deewaar look for Ajay.”
Director Milan Luthria said, “Yes, we scrapped many of Ajay’s earlier costumes. We had initially decided to dress him like Amitji in Trishul so all the costumes were either polo necks or blazers and jackets. But I happened to see Deewaar again, I loved Amitji’s all-white look when he goes for his father’s funeral in the film. I realised that the look would work for Ajay as he looks good in white. Ajay wears white throughout the film. It gives him a different identity.”
Ajay Devgn takes on Ranbir Kapoor in Prakash Jha’s political thriller
MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; June 2, 2010)
Those who have watched Raajneeti’s promos on television have been myopic. Most have only noticed the screen chemistry between Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif. However, for the trade, distribution circles and hardcore cineastes, the real excitement rides on an even more potent face-off between Ajay Devgn and Ranbir.
“If media reports are true, then Raajneeti is based on the Mahabharata. And the crux of the Mahabharata is the confrontation between Karna (Ajay) and Arjun (Ranbir),’’ says a screen writer. “This is the twosome the trade is banking on. The Ajay-Ranbir combination, a virgin one. And Raajneeti wouldn’t be the same without one of them.” A trade consultant says, “If Ranbir spells excitement, then it is Ajay who spells trust. When you have a reported Rs 70-crore plus project on the anvil, you need two superstars to balance it out.’’
Prakash Jha, who is confident he will be third time lucky with Ajay — Gangajal, Apaharan and now Raajneeti, knows that he may have a galaxy of actors in his political thriller, but he wouldn’t have been able to pull off this gamble without Ajay on board. Ajay himself is very excited about the film. “It is hot,” he says, but underplays his own contribution. “Prakash and I have a good box office track record. More importantly, we have a terrific understanding with each other as filmmaker and actor. That is why even when there is an ensemble star cast as in the case of Raajneeti, I’m confident about the way Prakash handles me.’’ Ajay plays a Dalit leader with shades of grey who makes his way up the political ladder. “Prakash knows my strengths and he is intelligent enough to use them to the film’s advantage,’’ says the two-time National Award winner.
Raajneeti is also particularly significant for Ajay because the film is set to kickstart one of the finest acting seasons for him. On July 30, he will be seen in Milan Luthria’s Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai — a film where he plays a character reportedly modelled on the notorious Haji Mastan. Since the promos started in theatres, trade circles are once again abuzz with excitement. Says a tradewallah, “When Ajay plays a true-to-life character, he excels. If you recall he made a terrific Dawood in Company.’’
The next six months promise to be an exhilarating ride for the intense, brooding actor who plays an officer on special duty in Priyadarshan’s Aakrosh, a crazy guy in Rohit Shetty’s comic caper Golmaal-3 and a superhero in Kumar Mangat’s Toonpur Ka Superhero where he teams up with wife Kajol.
• Your next release Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge? is about an unwanted visitor. Have you ever encountered anything like this?
You know it’s bizarre but everyone has been telling me weird tales about unwanted guests but I have never faced the situation. Right through the making there were so many incidents I heard. I guess I will have to wait for my own experience.
• You are paired with Konkona Sen Sharma. Don’t you think it’s quite an odd pair?
We wanted someone who could look convincing as a housewife who is also a working woman. The feedback I have got so far has been quite encouraging. I have not worked with her before Atithi… but we did interact during Omkara. She is a brilliant actress and that’s what Ashwini (Dhir, director) wanted.
• You started your career with action then shifted to intense roles and now you are mostly doing comedy. Comment.
Doing the same thing over and over again is boring. I always try to do different things. My comedy films have worked so I am doing comedy at the moment. Atithi… is a situational comedy. You will sympathise with my character. But I am also doing Priyadarshan’s crime thriller, Garam Hawa as some people told me that they wanted to see me in action roles.
• Weren’t you supposed to start your next film as a director?
Yes. In fact, I have just zeroed in on a fresh idea and I will start by the end of the year. After U Me Aur Hum, neither did I get the time nor did I get any subject which I was inclined to make. But all that is a thing of the past as I am finally excited about a subject.
• Have you watched My Name is Khan?
Not yet though I want to watch it. I have been out of town for the last three months.
• Your image is that of a very moody person but those who have worked with you have a completely different opinion.
Those who know me know that I am not moody. I guess my films have contributed to that image. But I guess I will have to change that now. (laughs)
• What do you have to say about playing Haji Mastan in Once Upon a Time in Mumbai?
It’s not completely based on but inspired by his life. It was fun as it required going back to the 1970s complete with bell bottoms and typical mannerisms. I am enjoying playing a don again. It’s different from what I did in Company.
• You only work with directors you are close to…
That’s not true. I won’t deny the fact that I am very comfortable working with Priyan or Rohit (Shetty) or Prakash Jha. But I am also open to working with other directors.
• Are you becoming more social? You were seen at an awards ceremony recently.
I was there in the capacity of a producer (for All The Best). My film was nominated and everyone said that I should be there, so I went. Otherwise I get bored by all this.
For her next film, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, Ekta Kapoor wants everything to look exactly like Mumbai did in the 1980s. To this end, she has hired art director Nitin Desai, and added Rs 7 crores to the film’s art direction budget and even shot at a gangster’s house. “I am totally involved with the making of the film. I want the roads, clothes, hairstyles of the 1980s to come alive,” said Ekta.
However, Ekta is against shooting the film’s derby sequence on the sets. She said, “We’ll be going into actual locations to recreate the Mumbai of the 1980s. But, no matter how good Nitin Desai is with the art direction, he can’t recreate the race course ambience on the sets. So, the film’s derby sequence will be shot at the Mahalaxmi Race Course. Just like Om Shanti Om recreated the 1970s and the flower-power culture, we’ll be going into the next decade to recreate the early 1980s in every detail.”
Ajay Devgan, who plays Haji Mastan, will also have a characteristic gangster get-up. Ekta said, “During those times the derby was the most ‘in’ thing, thanks to Feroz Khan who introduced horses, stud farms and stallions into our film culture. Haji Mastan used to dress up flamboyantly and hang out with film stars. He loved going to the derby.”
But isn’t Ekta taking the ‘real’ deal a bit too far? “Even during these times of recession we’ve decided to scale up our art direction budget from Rs 8 crores to Rs 15 crores, after seeing the rushes,” said Ekta, “It’s a high-concept film and it can’t look tacky. We have to create a distinct difference between Dongri, which was poor and underfed and the derby culture which was opulence at its best.”