The last few years have seen Bollywood filmmakers come down with a case of nostalgia for yesteryear’s films. From Phir Milenge Chalti Chalti to the remix of ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’ that opens Bachna Ae Haseeno, at the same that films are becoming more like Hollywood, filmmakers are borrowing the glamour of days past to try and sparkle up their films. Refreshingly, Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai isn’t borrowing anything – it captures both the grit and glitz of 1970s Bombay all on its own. Allegedly based in part on the story of real life gangsters Haji Mastan and Dawood Ibrahim, the film both takes place in the 1970s and uses the style of the films from the era.
Written by Rajat Arora (who also did the underrated Taxi No. 9211) and directed by Milan Luthria (also of Taxi No. 9211), Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai” stars Ajay Devgn as Sultan, a top criminal in Bombay. The film follows his rise and his fall, as he must defend his criminal empire against the advances of Shoaib, played by . Kangana Ranaut plays Sultan’s paramour and Rock On!!’s Prachi Desai is playing Shoaib’s girlfriend. Randeep Hooda and Gauhar Khan also feature.
With the film set in the 1970s, style has been a very important part of the film. Much care has gone into getting the costumes and look right of the film. Ajay’s look is heavily influenced by Amitabh Bachchan in Deewar and the girls’ looks are inspired by the beauty icons of the day including Dimple Kapadia, Zeenat Aman, and Sharmila Tagore. And Gauhar Khan channels Helen in a very retro item number. Not only that, just like in 1970s films, everyone has been cast exactly to type – Ajay Devgn returns to playing a thug; Kangana Ranaut does her troubled woman act; Emraan is the smooth operator; and Prachi Desai is sweet and innocent.
Hit music director Pritam has assembled the soundtrack for the film and has gathered the voices of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Sunidhi Chauhan, Mika Singh, and the ever-romantic KK for his album. So far the song promos for the sentimental ‘Pee Loon’ and the vibrant ‘Tum Jo Aaye’, which shows Kangana Ranaut in her vintage avatar for the first time, have generated lots of interest.
Produced by Balaji Telefilms, studio doyenne Ekta Kapoor has been taking a very personal interest in the film, making sure that every detail is correct – even having Pritam rewrite a song at last minute because it wasn’t groovy enough. Balaji has already had one critical smash this year with Love Sex aur Dhokha and if Ekta Kapoor has her way, Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai will be a second hit for Balaji Telefilms.
Check out the gorgeous song ‘Pee Loon’!