What is the story about?
The series charts the rise of Nawab, a lowly goon hailing from Bareilly, who makes his name as a gangster in the Mumbai underworld during the 1990s, and his run-ins with rivals Lala and Mastan, as well as his romance with starlet Laila.
There's nothing novel in the story of Mai Hero Boll Raha Hu, which is yet another fictionalized retelling of the exploits of gansgters in 1990s Mumbai, when the bhais ruled with an iron fist, and had their fingers in every pie, from politics to policing and even Bollywood. Between Ram Gopal Varma, Mahesh Manjrekar, Anurag Kashyap and Sanjay Gupta, the entire gamut of underworld-themes narratives set in Mumbai has been explored in vivid detail. Hence, Mai Hero Boll Raha Hu has nothing new to offer, story-wise. Yet, Suparn Verma and Saarthak Juneja's screenplay makes the most of the episodic format to deliver this predictable story of guns, girls and gansgters at an easy pace. The dialogues are corny and suitably outlandish--I will never be able to get over how a key character refers to his penis as his "cigar"--but they fit the colourful, larger-than-life world of the dreaded men of the 1990s. If stylish gangster sagas are your jam, you can check this out.
Parth Samthaan anchors this larger-than-life series, bringing swagger and machsimo to his role of Nawab, but he also infuses his role with a certain kind of vulnerability. Arslan Goni keeps hamming his way through the show as Lala, while Chandan Roy Sanyal relishes his over-the-top role as the don Mastan. Patralekhaa Paul brings oomph to her role as the starlet Laila, who becomes the object of desire for both Nawab and Lala, while Ganesh Yadav brings a certain assuredness to his portrayal of SI Rajan Singh. The rest of the cast is okay.
Music & Other Departments
Shanu Singh Rajput's cinematography is replete with garish hues, and weirdly works with the over-the-top treatment of the narrative, in conjunction with Vikas Arora's editing. Udbhav Ojha's background score is deafeningly loud. Pampa Biswas' costume design is on point.
Parth Samthaan's assured turn as Nawab and the campy, over-the-top production design are the major highlights.
The sheer predictability of the narrative is the biggest drawback of this show. The Mumbai gangster-movie genre has been done to death by now, and we have already seen various fictionalized iterations of the Dawood Ibrahims and Chhota Rajans that we can literally second-guess every twist that happens in the show.
Did I enjoy it?
I found some of the dialogues to be enjoyable, and there's some fun to be had while watching the lurid world of the 1990s underworld.
Do I recommend it?
This is good enough for a one-time watch. However, be warned: it's not going to tell you anything the films of Ram Gopal Varma or Sanjay Gupta haven't shown before.