Milan Luthria pairs up with Ekta Kapoor once again and directs the sequel to his gangster hit Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai with generous and unapologetic Bollywood masala and action scene close-ups, enriching this new film with more romance than the first movie of the series.
A swaggering and disgustingly übercool vilain, Shoaib (Akshay Kumar) appears garingly macho in his role as a new underworld don. Seemingly, the actor is truly fond of portraying exceedingly "masculine" characters though I personally would prefer to watch him in roles that are more subdued but, hey, if that's his cup of tea, then so be it. His performance in OUATIM2 is in accordance with what has become his trademark image and therefore there is truly no major change or epic scene to look forward to in terms of his acting in this particular film.You get what you pay for: a macho Akshay.
I personally found myself finding the scenes with Aslam (Imran Khan) as a gangster much more interesting and engaging than those with Shoaib, who takes Aslam out of the slums to make him his protégé. Imran brings a sense of normalcy and truth to events by playing realistic and more "feeling" gangster than his mentor. His performance in the second half of the film greatly surpasses his very initial scenes, where he seems a bit uneasy about his potential as a bad guy.
Sonakshi Sinha was the best casting choice in the role of the female lead, Jasmine. Her beauty shines through in every scene she appears in and she brings a classy and discrete sweetness to the character where, in my opinion, any other actress would have had a difficult time keeping the film from becoming unpalatable for most of the female audience or even trashy. Sinha rises the film's bar with her sole presence and makes it soar above any other run-of-the-mill masala film.
Sonali Bendre delivers a subdued and suitable performance and it is a pleasure to watch her on screen once again.
The background score has been very well chosen, with the theme of OUATIM being revisited in various ways throughout the film.
Watch dons with a soul drop their criminal doings to fight for the love of an innocent sweetheart in Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai 2. Betrayal, jealousy, forbidden love, power struggles and moments of sweetness are all rolled up into one. Although a shorter version of the story might have been able to convey more effectively all these moods and more, being part of the female audience, I would say this is a better bet than the prequel, giving it a nice thumbs up for the right amount of romance infused into what might otherwise have been just another commercial film pretending to explore Bombay´s dark side. I say "go for it"!
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Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai Dobaara
Producers: Shobha Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor
Writing credits: Rajat Arora
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Imran Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Sonali Bendre, Vidya Balan (special appearance)
Music: Pritam Chakraborthy