It is a Monday and a wonderful start to the week post a weekend which was absolutely emaculate with the new releases. And I still have a couple of leftovers, and first up I finished watching the new Hindi film Mumbaikar which is now streaming on Jio Cinema. Mumbaikar is an official adaptation of the original Tamil film Maanagaram which was directed by the then debutant Lokesh Kanagaraj who has now emerged as one of the top directors of the country at the moment.
There are films that the world had discovered during the twin lockdowns and Maanagaram was one of them. Having originally released in 2017, the film gained popularity much later on so much so that the Hindi adaptation was soon announced. I had absolutely loved the storytelling of Maanagaram with seemingly unrelated stories intertwined in a narrative. This sort of a narration can so easily go wrong and it was Lokesh Kanagaraj who did showcase his skillset as a director very early on in his career. And the very same reason was my cause of worry with its Hindi adaptation. So then does Mumbaikar manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
An official adaptation of the original Tamil film Maanagaram, Mumbaikar follows the story of different stories intertwined together with each story having a brush with crime. For those who are privy to the original source material would know that the story is outstanding. But I was more interested in the screenplay, and standing at a shade above 2 hours, it is exactly here that the screenplay falters. As they say, copying also requires skills which were terribly missing here.
The opening sequence was enough in itself to tell me that the film is absolutely trashy with its execution. If you remember the original film, the narrative allowed you time to spend with the characters as opposed to the mad rush here where an ongoing sequence is cut short, and the drama shifts elsewhere. What this ensured was that you ate never invested in the journey of the characters and you couldn’t care less even when their lives are in danger. Even the humour element is so scratchy that I had my hand on my head for most parts of the film. The sequences were unfunny and outright ridiculous.
The proceedings are surprisingly dull despite a subject which was interesting on paper. Another fundamental flaw is that while the film is titled as ‘Mumbaikar’, absolutely nothing in the screenplay made me believe that the drama was set in Mumbai. The vibe of the city was missing and there was no effort made in the writing department to even remotely tap into this issue. Just showing passing shots of Mumbai, independent to the ongoing drama was never going to be sufficient. Also, the conflicts aren’t well established here as well. For some reason, there is a mad rush throughout the film that doesn’t help its cause either.
To be fair, the second hour is slightly more organized than the first hour which is scattered to no bounds. But despite it being organized, it doesn’t quite guarantee you the excitement which was needed in the film. Shifting from one event to another while abandoning an ongoing conflict meant that the makers were never in control of the drama, which in turn made me believe on what a splendid job Lokesh Kanagaraj had done with the original. An issue that I had with the original was its slightly bland ending but even that hasn’t been changed in the Hindi adaptation. Overall, the screenplay is trashy and haphazard with zero control on the proceedings.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are plain average and exude no confidence at all. The music and BGM are below the mark. Surprisingly, even the cinematography is poor and it didn’t make for a wholesome movie watching experience. The editing is far too choppy and probably the worst that I have seen all year. That was one aspect that significantly brought the overall product down. Director Santosh Sivan fails miserably with this story wherein he was never in control of the proceedings at any given point of time. Safe to say that the direction was poor here.
The performances aren’t great too. Hridhu Haroon was visibly uncomfortable with Hindi and his character did not rise up to the occasion. Veterans like Sachin Khedekar, Sanjay Mishra and Brijendra Kala are plain average here. Ranvir Shorey is caught in between being intimidating as a don and being funny. Tanya Maniktala looks pretty but has literally nothing to do. Even Vijay Sethupathi looked lost and was barely in the form that we expect him to be in. And a word to Vikrant Massey – PLEASE WAKE UP! You are extremely talented, do not keep wasting it on half-baked/poor projects like these. Here, he was a clear case of being miscast wherein he did not look like a ruffian at all unlike Sundeep Krishnan in the original. Time to return to the drawing board and reflect on his recent choices!
Mumbaikar is a trashy remake of the original brilliant film Maanagaram that deserves to be skipped. Available on Jio Cinema.