Trends of Bollywood are like clothes fashion, suddenly a style becomes the latest trend and a whole bunch of movies in the same genre hit the theatres and fades away suddenly to make way for another style, only to raise again couple of year later. After romance dominating the first half of the year, gangsters and mafia are back in style; Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Dobara, D-Day, Satya-2 and Madras Café are just the beginning.
Even these crime based movies have two facets, one is based on old Mafia, belonging to the Dawood era and the second being the post Saleem phase where new gangsters are trying to gear up their acts in order to take over the empty throne of Don. The first kind being the likes of Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai. The popularity of this film has spawned a sequel Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Dobara. Speaking of sequels, Satya2 is going to hit the theatres soon and it is a sequel of Satya, which falls in the category of new generation gangster movies.
The treatment of both the styles of films is very different. For OUATIMD a stylized look is adapted. The film looks stylized because it’s the 80s-90s costumes and cars and dressing style. The setting of the film is that of the underworld and the big underworld king getting challenged by a simple pawn. But the theme of the film is a love story. The tone of the film is soft and even though it is set in the criminal world, by the end of the film you will you will go home feeling happy. There are love songs, and peppy numbers, it is a feel good film, no matter where it’s set in.
Satya 2 is everything that films like OUATIMD are not. It represents the current situation of the underworld based in Mumbai now. There is a pandemonium without a ‘don’ calling the shots. Small gangs are trying to make it big, some men of power are trying to clamber up to the empty throne; it’s a complete chaos. Satya 2 is the story of one such man who thinks he can rule the underworld by not repeating the mistakes made by Dawood and Chota Chetan. He is a man of various means who tries to claim the ultimate power intelligently. There is jarring camera movement, abrupt cuts, unnecessary killing and blood splatter, guns thundering everywhere; such films have rawness to them. It’s a dark world that is being represented, there is no extra lighting added to make a scene pleasant. It’s a representation of a part of life we are not familiar with, still, it’s real and the film is kept that way. Elaborate sets are replaced with dirty lanes and paan spit splattered alleys. Films like Satya 2 will leave you with an uncomfortable feel which you can’t shake off.
Both these types of films have different audiences which overlap at some point. Films in the OUATIMD class are more popular than Satya 2 and are more successful at the box office as well. But such films fade off as soon as they are out of the theatres. Whereas, the other kind stays with us and in the history of Bollywood long after it finishes its business. Take Satya or Vastav for example. We still talk about them, in fact when Bollywood gangster movies are mentioned; these are the first names which pop up in our minds.
Regardless of their categories or sub-categories and verdict, Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Dobara and Satya 2 are going to raise some unanswered questions about the Mumbai underworld we all find so fascinating.