Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, starring Ajay Devgan, Emraan Hashmi, Prachi Desai, and Kangana Ranaut will be released in 2010.
The movie, directed by Milan Luthria, is about the early gangster and smuggling phase in Mumbai, in the 60s and 70s.
Once Upon a Time in Mumbai traces the life and times of famous gangster-smuggler Haji Mastan (Ajay Devgan), his relationship with protege Dawood Ibrahim (Emraan Hashmi), his obsession with actress Madhubala (Kangana Ranaut), and his renouncement of crime in his later years.
Haji Mastan had lived a very interesting life, and to that extent there is a wonderful story here, of a man with many contradictions in his personality. He was a smart smuggler, successful distributor and producer of Hindi movies, and a politician. He is said to have formed the Dalit Muslim Surakhsha Maha Sangh in 1985-86.
When his unrequited love for Madhubala went nowhere, Haji Mastan married Sona (also played by Kangana Ranaut) a young starlet who looked like Madhubala.
It’s a different matter if Milan Luthria can tell that story well. His career as a director has been quite erratic. His first movie, Kachche Dhaage, was pretty decent as far Hindi movies went in those days.
But he kind of lost the plot with Chori Chori and Deewar: Let’s Bring Our Heroes Home, did well with Taxi No 9211, but not so well with Hat Trick.
In Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, Luthra brings together a pretty neat cast, so if the script is good, he should be home safe and dry.
Of the cast, Ajay Devgan can do the broody gangster, with a golden heart, in his sleep.
Emraan Hashmi, a very underrated actor – it’s a pity he is remembered only for his kisses in Murder - should be able to play a young Dawood Ibrahim well.
As far as Kangana Ranaut is concerned, I’m not too sure whether she can pull off the role or not. For one, she does not look like Madhubala, at least on the surface of it.
Not that physical resemblance is the only criteria. If that was so, then Amrita Rao would have been a better choice. She looks luminous and fragile, and she can act.
But can she do dark, I don’t know.
Kangana Ranaut can do the disturbed bit well – that is the only thing she has done so far as is evident from most of her previous movies Woh Lamhe, Gangster, Life in a Metro, Fashion, and Raaz – The Mystery Continues.
Madhubala did have a very disturbed life, with a controlling father, an inflexible love, a life-threatening illness, and a tumultuous marriage. She died young, at the age of 36.
Once Upon a Time in Mumbai draws from the Robert DeNiro-James Woods gangster movie, Once Upon a Time in America, that was set in the 60s.