In the ever so familiar, nay, clichéd scenario of cop vs bad guy battle: the cop who has a huge monetary incentive if he bells the cat, at half-time wonders what he would do with the booty. If only Sanjay Gupta had asked himself that question, the pandemic-defying film buff would’ve been saved of a couple hours of fatigue- filled formulistic cinema denominated with historic reference, political footnotes and much more.
Cinema has moved from entertainment to propaganda and Bollywood celluloid archive is bursting in the seams with lawdefying policeman — designed to match the vile of the crafty politician, the goon, the international drug mafia, et al. Come Friday come a new permutation. So is it with this ‘consistent’ John Abraham depiction of the seeming rechristening Bombay to Mumbai. In case the scare of the dubious Wave 2 doesn’t keep you away, the content will.
Cut to the narrative, it is about Amartya (John Abraham) who comes under the tutelage of a corrupt local politician Bhau (Mahesh Manjrekar). Very early in life he decides to take on the local goon Gaitonde (Anmole Gutpe). He goes about amputating the hands of the “little bad men” who are the cronies of Gaitonde, survives attacks in jail and begins to own up a region in Bombay as a gift from Bhau. The gang war precipitates and when a policeman is shot dead, the saviour killer officer Vijay (Emran Hashmi) enters the scene.
Needless to add, the Mahapurge (or Manthan if you may so describe) begins. The meaningless bouts of killings go on. Sharing the vile den of virtue with Amartya are his younger sibling Arjun (Prateik Babbar) and a team of no-gooders including a jaded Baba (Rohit Roy) springing from nowhere; in a blink and miss role is Murali Shankar (Suniel Shetty) and in an illogical streak, Nari Khan (Gulshan Grover).
The film begins with an attack on businessman of the Khaitan lineage (Samir Soni). Then, the flashback justifying it. This leads to even the killing of other policemen; the widow of the Khaitan family (Anjana Sukhani) announcing a juicy carrot when Inspector Vijay steps in to clear the mayhem. Again, anarchy is peddled in the name of heroics till all die and the new heir takes over.
I, like the filmmaker (Sanjay Gupta), have forgotten the existence of the heroine Seema (Kajal Agarwal). Sometimes actors overcome poor scripts. One surely doesn’t ponder with this as a working alternative given this assemble. If anything, one must salute John Abraham. He is one rare actor who manages a single expression and holds on to it consistently throughout the film. In fact, in all his films. This consistency is what you expect from the Indian middle order. Emran has a role that is half-baked, half-fried. Lost partly to dark camera work and surely to an unedged character, it is sad to see talent take a back seat.