‘Mosagallu’ hit the cinemas this Friday (March 19). In this section, we are going to review the income-tax crime thriller.
Arjun (Vishnu Manchu) and Anu (Kajal Aggarwal Kitchlu) are twin-scammers who set up a technical support call centre in Hyderabad and cheat thousands of Americans into parting with dollars by posing themselves as tax officials. They use a hawala network to convert dollars into rupees.
Their partners in crime are played by Navdeep and Naveen Chandra, who have an evil genius of their own. When US investigators sense a scam, they take the help of ACP Kumar (Suneil Shetty) to nab the culprits. Can the scammers save themselves from eventual arrest?
Kajal Aggarwal and Suniel Shetty are the best performers, with them showing a range of emotions through the course of the film. Manchu Vishnu, too, is decent enough. Naveen Chandra’s superb talent was not tapped into fully. Even Navdeep is not entirely consistent.
Raja Ravindra plays a comically stupid cop with ease. Ruhi Singh gets a hazy role. Tanikella Bharani and Thulasi, as the parents of the lead actors, are unnecessarily melodramatic.
For a multi-lingual film, Mosagallu’s technical output is shoddy. Sheldon Chau’s cinematography is average, while Sam CS’s background music is somewhat jaded. Stun Siva’s stunts don’t make the cut.
The film needed better editing (by Gautham Raju), given how the temporal lines shift between the US and India.
‘Mosagallu’ is officially based on the Mira Road call centre scam that was unearthed by the US Department of Justice and later investigated by the Mumbai police. Given that the story-writer of the film is a Telugu man (Manchu Vishnu), creative liberties were taken and the story was set in Hyderabad.
The call centre scam, which is alternatively referred to as the IRS scam (IRS standing for Internal Revenue Service, the US federal agency responsible for the collection of taxes), involved not one but at least seven call centres, hundreds of employees and at least three masterminds. In real life, as many as 70 were arrested and, in a breathtaking turn of events, about 700 employees of the shady call centres were detained by the Thane police for interrogation. Most of the detained employees told the police that they didn’t know that their paymasters were scamming US citizens using them as fodder for their nefarious designs. So much drama could have been built around these stunning facts.
But ‘Mosagallu’ doesn’t put the material available on the scam to good use. The screenplay makes the “world’s biggest IT scam” look much smaller than what it really was. In real life, the US and Indian investigators worked together. When a top cop like Param Bir Singh himself swooped down on the call centres, one can imagine the level of cooperation that existed between the two. In ‘Mosagallu’, all we get is dumbing down of the investigation, with Suniel Shetty’s ACP character being shown as resourceless and helpless in the face of an indifferent boss (played by Nagineedu).
A few of the facts shown in the film reflect reality accurately. For example, like in the film, one of the scammers had bought a luxury car from a legendary cricketer (read Virat Kohli). However, the ACP is shown to have stumbled upon the fact accidentally.
In real life, Sagar Thakkar aka Shaggy (the main accused) was mentored by someone. The mentor’s role in ‘Mosagallu’ has been played by Navdeep. We don’t get an inkling of how the mentoring happened. The undercurrent of rivalry between him and Kajal’s character feels quite forced.
‘Mosagallu’ sort of glamourizes the gaming of the system, which runs against the fate of the real-life scammers. The main accused, Shaggy, was arrested by the Mumbai police in 2018.
‘Mosagallu’ is a wasted opportunity. In the hands of a better writing team and a talented director, it would have been a kicka$$ thriller.