Cartel by Ekta Kapoor also has direct references to the gangster drama of 2010.
Ever since Cartel's trailer release, the show took the audiences back to the times of Ajay Devgn and Emraan Hashmi's Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai. Now that the entire series is released, it is clear that Cartel is indeed a tribute to the iconic film, which was also produced by Ekta Kapoor.
Rani Maai (Supriya Pathak) plays the role of Cartel's leader who kept all other gang members under control under one roof with her undeniable power. Gangster Sultan Mirza played Ajay Devgn did the same in Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai. The audiences are also introduced to a villain on the show, who is likely to be a backstabber and tries to see that Rani Maai meets her end, leaving no traces to lead to the killer. If one remembers correctly, Shoaib Khan (Emraan Hashmi) also backstabs Sultan and conspires to kill him (although he eventually did make sure the leader meets his end).
Moreover, Cartel has a direct reference to the film too. Rama (Girija Oak) could never watch the movie completely. When she finally does, it becomes quite a memorable day for her. Eventually, Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai becomes an important part of her husband Madhu's (Jitendra Joshi) life too. The film also talks about people ruling over Mumbai which is what Rani Maai does in Cartel. After her, Major Bhau (Tanuj Virwani), Madhu and Abhay Angre (Rithvik Dhanjani) start ruling over the Cartel together.
Cartel sees five gangsters being controlled by Rani Maai and later, her sons (Abhay being the real one). As she stays in a coma, life around her changes drastically with many people getting killed. A gang leader is also killed in the chaos between the Angre family and the leader.
The second season of the show will reveal what transpires further among all the characters. Meanwhile, Cartel has released on AltBalaji. The show can also be streamed on MX Player and its new platform MX Gold, which was launched along with the show. Cartel can be viewed at less than Re. 1/day subscription on MX Gold.