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Dongri Ka Raja review – Pretentious gangland drama

Release Date: 11 Nov 2016 / 02hr 19min

Keyur Seta

The film shows some promise initially but soon loses its way and falls into a pit.

Film: Dongri Ka Raja (A)
Rating: 1.5/5

A title like Dongri Ka Raja indicates that the film is based loosely on Dawood Ibrahim, or at least relates to Mumbai’s infamous underworld. The promos also mention the names of Dawood, Karim Lala and Haji Mastan. However, the film turns out to be a regular masala potboiler with innumerable twists and no conviction. And I don't mean that in the legal sense.

Dongri Ka Raja is the story of Mansoor Ali (Ronit Roy) and his adopted son Raja (Gashmeer Mahajani). Mansoor and his wife (Ashwini Kalsekar) adopted Raja when he lost his parents at the age of five. Growing up, Raja becomes the best sharpshooter of the ruthless Mansoor. A cop (Ashmit Patel) is eager to pin cases on the father-son duo but struggles, until Raja falls for the simple Shruti (Reecha Sinha). 

To be fair to Dongri Ka Raja, the film does not stoop low at the beginning. It gives you hope of a good plot in the initial hour. Although the storytelling isn’t top draw by any means during this part, it at least keeps you interested in what happens next.

But just before the interval comes a huge twist. It takes you by surprise and shocks you, too. Unfortunately, it is not believable. On top of that, later on, the writers explain the twist as if to a child. Still, it does not make it believable.

As if this weren't bad enough, the narrative loses its grip from here on. Not only does the film start treading the done-to-death path, the plot dishes out one unconvincing twist after another till the credits start rolling. Even if you ignore the fact that there have been innumerable Hindi films on the underworld (some even about a don pitted against his right-hand man), it doesn’t help.

The film has two Ganesh Visarjan sequences that are worth mentioning for their unintentional hilarity. In the first, a man impersonating a policeman walks into an immersion procession and openly shoots another. The people around continue to dance and beat the drums as if this were a normal occurrence.

In the other, a policeman throws water at random people dancing in the procession to identify a criminal who has coloured his face. Since the junior artistes in the first procession didn't bat an eyelid when a man was killed in cold blood in their presence, it is obvious that the second lot would find nothing unusual in the cop's actions and continue dancing merrily away.

Surprisingly, the film has a couple of impressive songs. ‘Tere Sang Naina Lage’ is soothing, though it reminds you of the hit 'Pee Loon’ number from Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai (2010). ‘Madad Al Madad’ has a good fusion of Islam and Ganesh vandana. Sunny Leone chips in with the sleazy track ‘Meri Yeh Choli Blockbuster Lage’. 

Gashmeer Mahajani has been impressive in the Marathi arena. But the films haven’t been worthy of his talent. Here too he displays his talent on numerous occasions while simultaneously making you question his choice of films. Reecha Sinha, who makes her debut, is average. Ronit Roy succeeds yet again in showing his baddie side. 

Ashmit Patel is a misfit as a police inspector and struggles with the part. Kamlesh Sawant fits the role of a corrupt police officer. However, he has played the exact same character continuously for the past few years, in both Hindi and Marathi cinema. Ashwini Kalsekar puts forth a mature act. 

Overall, Dongri Ka Raja leaves you feeling disappointed.

Director: Hadi Ali Abrar
Producer: PS Chhatwal
Writer: M Salim
Cast: Gashmeer Mahajani, Ronit Roy, Reecha Sinha, Ashmit Patel, Ashwini Kalsekar, Kamlesh Sawant
Music: Asad Khan
Genre: Action
Duration: 139 minutes