Shootout At Wadala Movie Review by Rajeev Masand

Rating: 2

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.


    • sputnik 10 years ago

      So its twice as good as Shootout at Lokhandwala 😉

  1. Reddemon 10 years ago

    Just 1 star?? Lol. I liked SAL and have rewatched it 3-4 times

  2. sameer 10 years ago

    This movie is absolutely fantastic. Shootout at Wadala is based on a book by S Hussain Zaidi’s and John Abraham plays the part with a lot of gusto. What a splendid performance by the actor. Abraham breathes life into the role. From the innocence of his college days to the smoldering look in the eyes cold killer , to the raw sexuality of a gangester and his wild lovemaking .. John gives an award winning performance. And Sanjay Gupta’s direction is stylised but does not comprise the basic premise. Manoj Bajpai, Sonu Sood and Anil Kapoor excell in their roles. Kangana Ranaut is good. The film is a must watch and is a gem in the history of gangster movies.

    In Shootout at Wadala John Abraham is playing the role of Manya Surve who becomes an underworld gangster.After a long time we are seeing an actor in such an intense role and John has played Manya to perfection. John Abraham plays the part with a lot of gusto. What a splendid performance by the actor. Abraham breathes life into the role. From the innocence of his college days to the smoldering look in the eyes of a cold killer , to the raw sexuality of a gangester and his wild lovemaking everthing about him was perfect. The love making scenes with Kangana are important to show that he was attracted to her mentally and physically and loved her. This is a real story so you could not show them running around trees and singing songs. How can people have a problem with the bad language in the movie. That is so stupid. This is an Adults movie and most people use bad language, ….and this was a gangster movie, so tell me which gangster will talk with thehzeeb and politeness. The item numbers are not unncecssary as they are shown at hotels and places the gangsters hang out at and form part osf the backdrop to carry the story forward. The movie is based on the book Dongri to Dubai-6 by S Hussain Zaidi’s and he has come out a winner. This movie is excellent

    • Baba 10 years ago

      manya surve life story is quite interesting. particularly a loot which he executed by reading a novel when he was in prison. he was a graduate who was booked for a murder he did not commit. i hope the film is good.will watch soon

  3. hello 10 years ago

    Havent seen the film but heard from few friends that its a Pathetic adaption of the book also poor narrative with too many gaalis and vulgar item songs not really suprised dont expect much from a Sanjay gupta film.

Leave a reply

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?