Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

May 3, 2013

The G-spot!

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 11:05 pm

May 03, 2013

Cast: John Abraham, Anil Kapoor, Tusshar Kapoor, Manoj Bajpai, Sonu Sood, Ronit Roy, Mahesh Manjrekar, Siddhant Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut

Director: Sanjay Gupta

A gangster runs into a police station, both his arms lopped off by a rival wielding a butcher’s knife. Another goon is held down as his skull is pushed through an ice-crusher. A third, tied to a chair, is run over by a speeding car in reverse. The brutality is relentless in Sanjay Gupta’s Shootout at Wadala, a saga about the rise and fall of dreaded Mumbai gangster Manya Surve (John Abraham) in the 1970s, and his subsequent death in 1982 in what was reportedly the first police encounter.

Based on a chapter in S Hussain Zaidi’s book From Dongri To Dubai, the film nevertheless conveniently insists that it be viewed “as a hybrid between fact and fiction”. This means that while the story is rooted in Manya Surve’s journey from an innocent, bright college student to one of the city’s most powerful mafia dons, Shootout at Wadala is a pot pourri of stomach-churning slashing and shooting, writhing item girls, and lewd dialogue. In fact, Gupta infuses so much violence and sex into this tale that it hits the G-Spot – and by this, I mean, gratuitous. The director has no qualms pandering to the lowest common denominator; inserting item songs at will, peppering his actors’ lines with cusswords, filming bump-and-grind lovemaking sequences, and even throwing in a titillatingly-shot rape scene.

The film ostensibly follows Manya in a story as old as time itself – a boy is framed by the cops, he befriends a thug (Tusshar Kapoor) in prison, and escapes a hardened criminal. Manya decides to stand up to the Haksar dons, brothers Zubair (Manoj Bajpai) and Dilawar (Sonu Sood), and form his own gang. Meanwhile, the cops, led by the dedicated Aafaque Bagraan (Anil Kapoor) and his team (Ronit Roy and Mahesh Manjrekar), try to contain the gang wars by pitting one against the other. Manya’s biggest weakness is predictably his girl, college sweetheart Vidya (Kangana Ranaut), who is repelled by his line of work but can’t give him up for good.

While the songs are nothing to write home about, Shootout at Wadala has some trademark Gupta flourishes in the sepia-soaked camerawork, slow-mo action sequences and slick editing. The problem, unfortunately, is that there is barely any semblance of storytelling here. Scenes of visceral violence between the gangs are strung together, interrupted only by Milap Zaveri’s clap-trap lines. It all feels empty beyond a point because none of the characters are developed enough for you to care about them.

John Abraham pours everything he’s got into the author-backed role, using his eyes and his voice as much as his vein-popping physicality, in his effort to humanize Manya. Kangna, sobbing and nagging most of the time, reduces her character to a mawkish caricature. Anil Kapoor plays it straight as the cop on a mission, while Manoj Bajpayee and Sonu Sood get a few moments to make an impression.

Shootout at Wadala revels in its violence, yet sadly all the bloodshed leaves you unaffected and cold. I’m going with two out of five.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. Ok, I’m sorry, but did you just describe a RAPE scene as “titilating”?

    Comment by Maya — May 3, 2013 @ 11:40 pm

  2. I will wait and pray that one day you will make a movie.
    I have seen some crap movies made by so called
    bollywood critics. If you guys know so much about films,
    You guys should not make those crap. It’s very easy to
    Laugh at others work. Others will see and judged when
    you wil come with your own Mr Masand.

    Comment by Bhargob — May 4, 2013 @ 12:12 am

  3. @Bhagrab, Mr Masand is inteliigent enough to not make a movie himself.
    And why do you even care reading his reviews when you are sure that he will be ‘laughing’ at the shit, they call movies these days

    Comment by Kalyan — May 4, 2013 @ 1:23 am

  4. @Bhargob: We have multiple movies coming week after week, critics opinion help us decide wisely where to spend our money (yes to some even 100 bucks matter). Ultimately it is our opinion and up to us to decide how the movie was but Why blame the film critic for pointing out the flaws or make us aware of the content without spoiling what the movie has to offer? You either agree with them or not.
    But still, if it is about Critics making movies, Khalid Mohammed was one of the most celebrated Film critic and Screenwriter and, directed a couple of movies which did receive applause.
    Good review. Will watch it later this week, will prefer watching Bombay Talkies this weekend.

    Comment by Romil Chennupati — May 4, 2013 @ 2:10 am

  5. thankx for such an honest review , m never gonna waste my time on this bullshitt
    , i hope this film is a big flop

    Comment by isha — May 4, 2013 @ 2:54 am

  6. Its a amazing movie with great performance s ….superb dialogs .great background. ..sizzling item songs ….total masala what else u expect more from a movie …its a 3.5 star ppl .watch it

    Comment by salil prabhu — May 4, 2013 @ 10:32 am

  7. This movie deserved a 3 star rating mate. I feel that you are being unjust and overlooking a lot of aspects of the movie.

    Comment by Umesh Nair — May 4, 2013 @ 1:43 pm

  8. hello to Mr Masand

    Of all critics your are the best one. I sincerely appreciate your feedback based on which so many of use decide to buy a movie ticket.

    To all those CRITICS of The Critic (Mr Masand); views expressed on this site are very much personal and are likely to vary w.r.t your taste. As a cultured netizen express your view on movies not on him.

    We all know how BIASED the reviews are in so called our NATIONAL DAILIES. This is one site which not been corrupted so far, it helps us to entertain with good movies and save time, money from those unbearable one. Thanks to his fair review of movies.

    Keep up the good (and free) work Mr Masand. Nevermind your critics, even they dont realize that they visit your site cause they luv ur review.

    Comment by Sharma — May 4, 2013 @ 3:30 pm

  9. It was a sad movie.

    Comment by Nikhar — May 4, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

  10. Was harsha bhogle one of india ‘s greatest batsman? Yet he is the best commentator we have today, internationally. So let’s stop this crap about critics making movies. If the film is shit, you call it shit. Screw them rather, you are doing a fantastic job.

    Comment by Aditya K — May 4, 2013 @ 6:33 pm

  11. superb Rajeev. If it was not for people like you, we would have had to go into the trouble of watching these movies . .

    You are the best film critic in the world

    Comment by ksnsimha — May 5, 2013 @ 6:57 am

  12. Don’t knw y makers made it filmy. It could be gud Mafiya movie.

    Comment by Rushi — May 8, 2013 @ 5:36 pm

  13. i liked the movie , i think it deserves 3 stars

    Comment by Himanshu — May 10, 2013 @ 10:15 pm

  14. Real Manya Surve doesnt had six pack abs,he was a thin man…….lot of heroic action is fake ….i dont know why indian movie maker cant make a mafia movie which is realistic and close to real life.

    Comment by nived — May 14, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

  15. yeah.. loads of gore, violence and cuss words.. but totally watchable for awesome performances from john, manoj n sonu.. my review – http://jigar-doshi.com/2013/05/shootout-at-wadala-movie-review/

    Comment by Jigar Doshi — May 19, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

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