Director: Hadi Ali Abrar
Cast: Ronit Roy, Gashmeer Mahajani, Ashmit Patel, Reecha Sinha, Ashwini Kalsekar
Within the first thirty minutes of the unimaginatively titled Dongri ka Raja, the full shebang of a Bollywood album template forces itself upon us: a Ganesh Chaturti celebration song (love at first visarjan), an Arijit Singh love ballad, an item song (Sunny Leone thrusting her bosom forward in perfect sync with the second half of the phrase “choli block-buster”), a sad Qawali interspersed with a determined Ganpati temple dance (praying for a speedy recovery) and a slow romantic ghazal.
Ronit Roy, who is probably tired of playing the Indian father from hell, adds another dimension to his Balaji-flavoured versatility: he is a much-feared Muslim don here – who is also, of course, a father from hell.
In between these songs and Amar Mohile’s vulgarly loud background score, a time machine plot-transfers us to the 1990s-underworld-movie factory: an awfully dated 2016 where a young love story attempts to blossom amidst Bollywood-Dresswaala costumes, gang wars, bad cops and bad-turned-good killers, and “white-collared” dons still wanting to rule Mumbai’s Dongri, spouting mic-drop gangsta dialogues like ‘Jo haan bole usse chhod deta hu, jo naa bole usse tod deta hu.’ The English-translated line isn’t worth it, I promise.
Ronit Roy, who is probably tired of playing the Indian father from hell, adds another dimension to his Balaji-flavoured versatility: he is a much-feared Muslim don here – who is also, of course, a father from hell. His adopted son, Raja (Gashmeer Mahajani), also his sharpshooter (that term exists?), has lost focus after falling for a Maharashtrian girl (Reecha Sinha) who insists that he can never be killed because he is in her heart. The Hindi-translated line is worth it, I promise.
Ashmit Patel, whose fake moustache is perhaps the best actor of this film, is an angry cop forever on Raja’s trail.
Ashmit Patel, whose fake moustache is perhaps the best actor of this film, is an angry cop forever on Raja’s trail. He spends one half of the film warning Raja in a townie accent, and the second half compensating for his incompetence by chasing Raja only moments after detaining him.
If his fingers were any slipperier, he’d be Kamran Akmal wicket-keeping in a shower cubicle. The eccentrically inconsistent girl, too, is responsible for the only twist of this interminable film, long after I stopped caring about betrayal. Was that a spoiler? I promise you, it isn’t worth it. After all, can there be a bigger act of betrayal than releasing this to the public in legitimate cinema halls? I think not.
The folks who make these kind of atrocious films probably work hard to make them, carefully remaining in a bubble of denial and vehemently nodding yes-men. Their passion is not in question, but I can’t help but doubt their intentions. They cannot be serious, right?
The folks who make these kind of atrocious films probably work hard to make them, carefully remaining in a bubble of denial and vehemently nodding yes-men.
If they are, they must face the consequences of using this very public medium of expression. They must know that the craft isn’t for them. And they must look for another career if they continue surrounding themselves with people who think like them. While there’s way too much space for mediocrity in this world, there’s no space for work that doesn’t even qualify to be dismissed.