Between raunchy item numbers and OTT dialogue-baazi, anybody who thought that the film is going to show a realistic, gritty portrayal of a real life event was either naive, or a pseudo-intellectual (Yours truly included :P).
For SAW is nothing more than a stylized, glammed up Gangster drama which claims at the very onset that it is a hybrid of fact and fiction - what does that even mean, anyways? You can't put a finger on anything and say for sure that it really happened.
Manya Surve (John Abraham) is a college student who seems determined to study well and get a decent job, thereby securing a peaceful future. But like all South Indian rowdy flicks, things go terribly wrong because the cops are corrupt, and people want him dead due to a twist of fate. Subsequently Manya doesn't take long to become aggressor from oppressed, killing and robbing people with ease. The finale is what is dubbed as the 'first encounter' in Mumbai, where Manya gets killed by the cops (Anil Kapoor and Ronit Roy).
SAW is a really good looking film, with chiseled actors, unconventional camera angles (low shots and extreme close ups), slow motion action sequences and a nice sepia tint throughout. The dialogues are really cheesy at times but don't pinch much due to the fast and gripping screenplay. The story is told in flashback mode, and its clear from the first scene that John Abraham is going to die in the end - not that anybody was expecting it otherwise, based on a real story as it is. However, the film seems to drag a lot, drawing closer to 2.45 hours of running time including 3 item songs, none of which add to the story. The actors have all dutifully obeyed their Director and played their parts aptly. I felt Manoj Vajpayee was somewhat underutilized, when compared with his releases in the past 12 months where he has been most effective.
Although being a good timepass flick, what troubled me the most about "Shootout at Wadala" is the intentional glamourization of the anti-hero, and the lack of depth in his personality. Perhaps a deep dive into the inner turmoil of a guy moving from good to bad would have been better. Sadly, John Abraham plays Manya in a single dimension - straightaway moving from white to black, no grey in between.
PS - In related news, Manoj Vajpayee has been advised to keep away from Petrol Pumps (think GOW :P) !!!view less