Mumbai! Yeah, sure! The city of dreams and disasters. Traffic and terrorism. Slums and skyscrapers. Bollywood and bhais. Corruption and ‘cop’ulation. Cutting chai and ‘cut-pieces’. The city of extremes. It’s maxed out – Mumbai.
It’s raging war against the underbelly of the city. Two daredevil encounter cops, Pratap Pandit (Sonu Sood) and Arun Inamdar ( Naseeruddin Shah) are on a mission to shoot-at-sight. Ready to gun down anything (pointlessly) – but their power, ego and mean motives. Pandit, the young, fiercely ambitious and brutally brave cop (oh yes, he boasts of 150 medals, for a ‘hit’ rate that beats the count of tab tak chappan. No comparison with Nana please), is embroiled in a series of conspiracies, contract killings and suspicious criminal connections. Inamdar, a much senior and silently devious cop (with as many grey shades as grey hair), has a personal vendetta against Pandit, and has vowed to out-trigger his ‘body-count’ (even if it means throwing in some farzi encounters). The brief is simple, shoot-at-sight-as-you-like. The gritty drama sees a dash of glamour with a slightly-short-of-sizzle item number (Hazel Keech), and fleeting emotional moments between Pandit and his patni ( Neha Dhupia), his pretty pillar of strength.
This no-holds-barred game of ‘shoot-to-success’, happens while a conniving neta, Tiwari (Vinay Pathak), plots his own political ambition; and a diligent reporter, Ashwin (Amit Sadh), who believes in nothing but sach befriends the sharp shooters (over beer and kheema pau), breaks sensational news as it’s happening – from the cops’ mouth. Eventually, Mumbai’s ‘clean-up’ act turns into an unwarranted bloody affair, the dirty power-play turns into a death trap, and there’s no way anyone can ‘cop-out’.
In his first lead role, Sonu Sood, gets his chance to play a Chulbul Pandey, (minus the comedy, though in true Dabangg style). With ample confidence and flair, he displays a gamut of moods and emotions that his chequered character demands.
Naseeruddin, as the vengeful, angry old cop, stranger to sympathy, doesn’t belt out his usual knock-out performance. For an actor of his stature and skill, his role is partially sketched, and he’s left with no choice but to bite the bullet.
The usually comical Vinay Pathak puts up believable act as a sly politician, with wise-cracks and disposable gyaan. Neha Dhupia plays the wifely act to the tee, and pleasantly breezes through the role.
Director Kabeer Kaushik, has a good force of actors here and a gripping premise (with strong references to prominent encounter cops from recent past), but he doesn’t quite lead the way. There are scenes where he triggers good performances, but with the inclusion of too many facts, figures and case files, it loses entertainment value. And gradually the plot fades into dark gullies of our big, bad Maximum city.
You can take a ‘shot’ at this one if you want, but remember you’re not at gun-point, really.
Two encounter specialists get into a ruthless, head-on battle for maximum power and control; and are willing to go any extent to up the ‘headcount’ to fuel their selfish ambitions.