Film: “Dongri Ka Raja”; Director: Hadi Ali Abrar; Cast: Gashmeer Mahajani, Reecha Sinha, Ashmit Patel, Ronit Roy, Ashwini Kalsekar, Gulshan Pandey and Sachin Suvarna; Rating: **1/2
Set in Dongri, the underbelly of Mumbai, “Dongri Ka Raja” is a tragic love story of a sharpshooter working for an underworld don.
In the backdrop of the Ganpati celebrations, Raja (Gashmeer Mahajani), an orphan who is brought up by an underworld don Mansoor Ali (Ronit Roy), meets Shruti Prabhu (Reecha Sinha) and they fall head over heels in love with each other.
But they both have secrets in their closets; his haunting past and her fickle mind. This is what makes the tale engrossing and brings us back from the brink.
With all ingredients for a timeless romance, this tender, deliciously dark tale unfolds meticulously and intriguingly in a contrived manner.
The plot and screenplay written by M. Salim are simple and engaging with; well-etched round but flawed characters, Urdu-laden dialogues and the right balance of drama and emotional quotient. What elevates his writing, is the deft handling of the project by director Hadi Ali Abrar. He is sincere, but does not push the envelope.
Marathi actor Gashmeer Mahajani, makes an impressive debut with this film. He makes Raja real and stand out as he oscillates between a hard-hearted assassin and a besotted lover-boy who is willing to do anything for love. He is aptly supported by Reecha Sinha who essays Shruti. She compliments him and their onscreen chemistry is fairly believable.
Ronit Roy is passive as his cold-hearted godfather Mansoor Ali. He has the persona to substantiate, but lacks the capability to emote wholeheartedly. Ashwini Kalsekar as his wife is wasted in a demure role.
Ashmit Patel is perfunctory as Siddhant Prabhu, Shruti’s brother and a police inspector.
The rest of the supporting cast is vibrant with evocative performances. Noticeable among the few are; Sachin Suvarna who plays Mansoor Ali’s adversary, the characters who play Shruti’s father and the corrupt police inspector who is Ashmit’s colleague.
Though unwarranted, Sunny Leone adds the oomph factor with an item number, “Choli blockbuster”, which was poorly mounted.
The songs and background score mesh in the narrative and effectively boost the viewing experience.
The action sequences are skilfully manoeuvred, which include wild chases in the narrow alleys of the slums in Mumbai.
With moderate production values, the camera work, editing and sound design are sharp and first rate.
Overall, “Dongri Ka Raja” is a staid love story that is reasonably-told.
By Troy Ribeiro