Manohar Arjun Surve is a student, who scored great results in his college examinations but he was never capable enough to live the life of a respectable ordinary man that he had envisioned for himself. The life of this bright young boy is catastrophically altered and he is left with a new avatar – that of the feared notorious gangster Manya Surve.
Sanjay Gupta’s story revives the events leading to the creation of this figure of the Hindu don of Mumbai aka Bombay ka baap- as the film says. The characters were picked straight out of history. ‘Shootout At Wadala’ does not investigate deeply into the psyche of the gangsters neither does it indulge in a fact-finding exercise, it merely goes beyond our imagination. The film confidently imprints the manifestation of the forgotten Manya Surve on our minds. Every sentence that has emerged out of this piece is capable of conjuring up either a laugh riot or an authentic tornado in theatres. One will be shocked and stand up in adoration for the sheer audacity with which these brazen dialogues were written with. There are expletives galore, slangs used to punctuate every sentence as the film goes on.
Manohar (John Abraham) is deceptively implicated in a murder charge by a bribed policeman, his fate is changed forever. He is jailed for life along with his step-brother Bhargav. Within the prison Manohar became Manya Surve , Along with a dependable supporter Sheikh Munir (Tusshar Kapoor), who later turns into his best friend, Manya escapes out of jail. He slowly forms his gang of five and strives towards replacing the Haskar brothers namely; Zubair (Manoj Bajpayee) and Dilawar (Sonu Sood) – who rule the Bombay underworld. In this constantly shifting battle for power and the endless chases with ACP Afaaque Bhagraan (Anil Kapoor), Manya Surve gradually rises up towards being unstoppable.
‘Shootout At Wadala’ boasts of a power-packed cast. Every performance is worth profound praise. As Manya Surve, John Abraham breaks the notion that acting is not exactly his strongest point. He does it all with a hitherto unseen rawness be it while mouthing cuss words or emptying bullets and does justice to almost all of the screen time that has been chosen for him. If as the ruthless gangster, he kills with passion, he loves Vidya (Kangana Ranaut) with even more of that. The latter (Kangana), temporarily, fits well as the gangster’s moll. She is horrified at the transformation of her Manohar into Manya, but loves him too much. Kangana’s character here is reminiscent of her role in ‘Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai’ .She acts along skilfully.
Anil Kapoor in the shoes of ACP Afaaque Bhagraan is a live electric wire. The man pervades life into Afaaque’s frustration of not being able to do justice to his khaki uniform and deserves a hearty salute. Manoj Bajpayee is spectacular in the little time that he appears on screen. Even in the despicable character of Zubair, Bajpayee can make women faint over him. Sonu Sood’s performance is extremely commendable. Along with Bajpayee, this brother-duo is definitely worth a thunderous applause. Tusshar Kapoor, Siddhant Kapoor, Ronit Roy and Mahesh Majrekar – all make for an able supporting cast and helps bring to life the life of Manya Surve feel real on-screen.
The sepia-tinted shot of the 70s-80s creates an old world charm of reminiscence. The props, the polka dots as well as the shades are all constructed to perfection. Along with that, the background score is custom-designed for that era of cinema. The music of the film suits the film and style of storytelling .The song ‘Laila Teri’ with Sunny Leone stands out as the most entertaining item song of the film. The songs along with good choreography can be enjoyed by all , nevertheless. ‘Babli badmaash’ and ‘Manya ala’ are the two other item songs in the film which could have been left out as it was pointless within the context of the film but are perhaps better included for entertainment value . Go watch ‘Shootout At Wadala’. The movie gets an 8/10 from me for its revival of Bollywood’s underworld.