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Monday, April 19, 2021

Amped-up dialogues, sepia tone and the ‘inspiration’: Elements that make a Sanjay Gupta film

Sanjay Gupta, known for films like Kaante, Zinda and Shootout at Wadala, returns to the director's chair with this week's release Mumbai Saga.

Written by Sampada Sharma | New Delhi |
March 18, 2021 7:06:42 pm
sanjay gupta moviesJohn Abraham in stills from Shootout at Wadala (left) and Mumbai Saga (right) - both Sanjay Gupta movies.

After an entire year of binge-watching television shows and catching up with the latest releases on our home screens, it is now time to head back to the theatres, or at least that’s what Bollywood folks expect us to do. With theatres across the country re-opening and new films getting released in cinemas, it is slowly starting to look like the old days are back. While none of the Bollywood theatrical releases has had a huge impact as of now, every Friday brings in new hope and this week, it’s time for Sanjay Gupta’s Mumbai Saga to try its luck.

Sanjay Gupta is known for films like Kaante (2002), Musafir (2004), Zinda (2006), Shootout at Wadala (2013), Jazbaa (2015), and Kaabil (2017), among many others, but for an avid movie-goer, there is a certain ‘Sanjay Gupta’ stamp that’s visible on almost all of his movies. You might call it his signature style or even something that makes his films stand out from the rest of the crowd, but I would argue that his ‘signature style’ actually makes all his movies look similar.

The sepia filter with a slight tinge of green that makes everything look kind-of grungy, the characters who speak at a higher decibel and often indulge in the classic Hindi film ‘dialogue-baazi’, and then the overdose of violence that has been a part of most of his films. Gupta has a certain style and from the trailer of Mumbai Saga, it looks like we are in the same arena again.

Like many others in my generation, my first big introduction to Sanjay Gupta’s world was with the 2002 film Kaante. Little did I know that the film was actually inspired by Reservoir Dogs, but given the entertainment we were served in 2002, this looked ‘cool’. Of course, over the years, my interpretation of ‘cool’ has changed but not much has changed in the Sanjay Gupta world.

Be it Zinda or Jazbaa, or even Shootout at Wadala, Gupta has his own set of followers who come in expecting a show that’s far from subtle and thrives on exaggeration, visual or otherwise, and for those followers, Gupta delivers almost all the time.

His last outing at the theatres was the 2017 Hrithik Roshan starrer Kaabil. Here, Hrithik played a visually challenged man who takes it upon himself to defend the honour of his wife. While Kaabil was a step away from the standard Sanjay Gupta colour palette, it was right in his wheelhouse with the exaggerated storyline (which was again ‘inspired’) and the violent action sequences that felt a little too intimidating.

It has already been over four years since the release of Kaabil but looking at Mumbai Saga’s trailer makes you feel like you are still living in the ‘Shootout’ days. With Mumbai Saga, Gupta is trying to bring back the classic Hindi film theatrical experience where every little detail is amped up and you realise that if this was not a theatre, then you would have probably turned the volume down.

The COVID-19 times have certainly made us long for what is comfortable and nostalgic but does this also include Gupta serving a seemingly similar wine in a new bottle? We’ll know more about that after the film releases in theatres on March 19.

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