Review: ”Is sheher ka baap hai Manya Surve”, John Abraham exclaims in the movie which could be the the quintessential dialogue of the film. Shootout at Wadala is primarily based on the life of underworld don Manya surve (Manohar Surve) and chronicles his rise to power till his death in an illfated but crucial encounter which happened at the Wadala area in Mumbai. One must say that the director has got his script in place this time and directs much of the film from the material itself while being constantly aware of giving it the touch of an enjoyable film. The screenplay written by Sanjay Gupta, Abhijeet Deshpande & Sanjay Bhatia from the story by Hussain Zaidi (on whose book Dongri to Dubai this film is based on ) does justice to the story of Mumbai ganster world in a entertaining fashion.The opening of the film shows Manohar surve (Manya surve) as the sincere college student who aspires to do good in studies and make name for himself & his family but destiny had other plans and as a result of ill fated circumstances he descends in a world of crime.
Again this is a subject which has been dealt with on screen in numerous films and still resonates with viewers as the notion of justice is a fundamental concern for any individual and repurcussions of being wronged goes much farther in the long run. Audience feels for Manya surve (Manohar Surve hence becomes Manya Surve) through his trials, tribulations and his ascension to power where he rises to become a major underworld don of his time who is still in love with his college sweetheart Vidya (played by Kangana Ranaut). On the other end of this movie spectrum, there is ACP Ishaque ( played by Anil Kapoor) who is determined to eliminate the underworld but is helpless initially in doing so in the reigning era of dons. The whole climate of Mumbai is infected with crime, much of which is the contribution from a Muslim gang run by two brothers whom Manya encounters in his bid to power and then much of the drama unfolds. John Abraham arguably gives his best performance till date and portrays the role of Manya Surve in partially convincing fashion.The treatment and tone of the film often reminds of Once Upon a Time in Mumbai.
Perhaps it is because of the fact that both films are more or less from the same time period. Indeed it needs to be said that while succeeding in entertaining the audience, at the same time Shootout at Wadala lacks the kind of subtlety of which better works are made of. This is not to say that the film did not have its share of brilliance, certainly there are few scenes which are quite admirable.Sanjay Gupta is known to be a Tarantino fan and this time also he chooses excessive violence as his key aesthetic element in his quest of bringing this story to screen .This is a major flaw in the picture as too much of onscreen violence tends to kill the spirit & creativity of craft. A relatively restrained use of violence would have been a better choice. Dilaogues are well written keeping the public taste in mind and can be read as direct derivative of mass entertainment. Background music ranges from average to good, frequently alternating between these two parameters. Item songs are nice to watch but on a serious note obstructs the flow of the film and tends to affect the gradual building of the drama. On an encapsulating note this is an earnest attempt at showing yet another chapter in Mumbai underworld history and has partially succeeded in doing so with sincerity and hard work.
Legandary German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said “There is no crime of which I do not deem myself capable”. Nothing else can be more true for Manya Surve in this tale of Injustice, power and ultimately the end of it.