Director: Sanjay Gupta
IE Rating: **
Why would I want to watch yet another retro-gangster flick? Because Im a sucker for gritty gangsters and sharp cops. Because I like the bang-bang stuff,when done well. And because theres nothing as cool as retro,in the right hands. Shootout At Wadala gives us a bunch of gangsters and cops,all trying very hard for coolth. It has action,some of it explosive,but not madly new. What stops it from becoming the film that it could have is an avalanche of dialogue,the sort of smart-alecky lines that sounded so right in the 70s. In 2013,they seem like a tired device to hang an entire film on. And the fact that this genre is now feeling the weight of having been trod upon too often.
Shootout At Wadala,based on S Hussan Zaidis account of the rise of the mob in the Mumbai of the 70s,is a sequel to Shootout At Lokhandwala. This time around,it has Sanjay Gupta at the helm,and the director knows how to mount the big action scenes,and how to create maximum mayhem. Some of the sequences leap off the screen,and the action is solid. So are many of the performances. Bajpayee seems to be making the most of his second coming: he is clearly enjoying himself,as is Manjrekar,who plays a laconic cop. Its also good to have Anil Kapoor back amongst us. Jackie Shroff shows up for a tiny cameo,and suddenly,seeing him and Anil Kapoor in one film,you are reminded of Parinda,the film which got gangsters back into vogue again.
But that is all the similarity there is. The weak link in the film is the lead. John Abraham flaunts the most impressive musculature amongst the current crop of Bollywood heroes (he has his own shirtless moment with each gleaming well defined pack visible from a distance),but not the acting chops. Item girls,including Priyanka Chopra as the very Badmaash Babli and Sunny Leone as the impossibly curvy Laila,come and go. And the dialogue,smutty and excessive,is poured heavily upon everything. Not as much bang for my buck as I would have liked.