Shootout at Wadala is a movie that disappoints on various levels. The biggest disappointment is in the treatment of the subject. The story of Manya Surve is one that has been begging to be made into a big movie, but it is unfortunate that this happened to be the one. John Abraham as Manya comes up short. The movie begged for a younger Sanjay Dutt. John Abraham lacks the acting talent required to bring Manya to life. He plays Manya is a single dimension and robs the viewer of the chance to root for this unlikely goon.
Apart from the treatment of the story, the movie is replete with negatives.
First there is the music is jarring and does nothing to enhance the film.
Then the item numbers, there are three. Priyanka Chopra, Sunny Leone and Sophiya Chaudhary get one each and none of them make any sense or appeal to any of the senses. To make things worse the choreography of all the songs is way below par.
Then there are the terribly stilted dialogs. The movie boasts three screenplay writers. Unfortunately, not one of them seems to know how a conversation is carried out in normal life. Take this gem when ACP Afaaque Khan, played by Anil Kapoor, is riding in the van with Manya and Manya is telling him his story, when out of the blue Manya asks the ACP, “So what were you doing when I was going to prison?” The ACP then launches into his own story. Ugh!
Then there is the fact that no attention was paid to the details. The movie is set in the 80s but you have Manya and friends drinking out of pint-sized beer bottles which didn’t show up till early in the 2000s. Then you have a scene where one of Manya’s friends is in a modern Harley-Davidson jacket. In the same scene, Manya is wearing a Ferrari F1 jacket. I can go on and on about the props that were completely out of place.
Not to say that everything in the movie is bad. There is Sonu Sood. The guy just gets better and better. Here playing Dilawar, one of the Haskar brothers, he is brilliant. His sense of costume is impeccable and I didn’t see him wear one thing that didn’t suit the period.
But in the end, Manya Surve was hard done by. His story deserved more than this.
Manya Surve is a quiet, hardworking boy living in Mumbai. His father is a drunkard and his brother a wannabe goon. Manya works hard at his studies, hoping to finish college, land a job and take his mother out of the mire. Along the way, he would like to marry his college sweetheart Vidhya. But fate intervenes and when he tries to help his brother, who is getting beaten up, he ends up holding the person his brother eventually kills. He is convicted for the murder and sent to prison. He breaks out of prison, with his new friend Munir, and they return to Bombay to start their own gang. Along the way, they take on the Haskar brothers and kill the older one. Fate intervenes again and it is the moment when Bombay Police decide something needs to be done about the escalating violence in the city. Manya Surve is chosen as the example to be set. What happens next is the first encounter in the Maximum City.
Get the Vastav DVD and watch it again. Or pick up the book Dongri to Dubai: Six Decades of The Mumbai Mafia by Hussain Zaidi. In fact, the movie is based on a part of this book. The book is better and a lot more fun to read.
Reviewed By Vinay