Friday, September 10, 2010

Review Dabangg

As stylish and as shallow

Director: Abhinav Kashyap
Starring: Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Sonu Sood, Vinod Khanna, Dimple Kapadia and Arbaaz Khan
Stars: **1/2

If you loved Wanted and can't get enough of Salman Khan, then Dabangg is totally up your alley. If not, it isn't easy to feel charitable towards a film that has nothing by way of substance and very self-consciously relies on its lead star's appeal. Salman, who found some measure of success with his macho act in Wanted, goes the full hog here, playing his Chulbul Pandey in an excessively stylised manner, derived from the Rajnikath school of acting. Salman can't claim to have half of Rajni's charisma, but he has a kind of roguish charm in real life that gets successfully transferred on screen. There is not one moment in Dabangg where Salman isn't trying to play to the gallery, and even though you see great promise in his role in the beginning - a Quixotic self-confessed Robin Hood - you realise there is nothing beyond the surface showiness. In many ways, his Veer character was a more wholesome and well-etched part.

Chulbul Pandey (Salman Khan) grows up disgruntled with his step-father, Prajapati (Vinod Khanna) and half brother, Makhi (Arbaaz Khan), who he believes treat him unfairly. His mother (Dimple Kapadia) tries to make him see sense, but his feeling of disdain remains. Sharp tongued Chulbul Pandey grows up to be a police inspector and is openly corrupt. He soon becomes a thorn in the eye of a political youth leader (Sonu Sood), who tries to kill him on a couple of occasions. Almost out of nowhere, Chulbul sees a pretty girl (Sonakshi Sinha) in his neighbourhood and starts wooing her. She has a drunken father (Mahesh Manjrekar) who she attends to and does pottery on the side. Meanwhile, Chulbul's uneasy equation with his father and brother continues, leading to several ups and downs.

The problem with Dabangg is that it is so consumed with trying to evoke claps and whistles for every scene that it ceases to be anything serious. All the three main plots, involving Salman with Sonu Sood, Sonakshi and Arbaaz respectively are utterly lame and shallow. The romance has no spark, and the love story, much like Sonakshi's role itself, is a serviceable one. You don't feel for any of these characters, and are never moved at any point in the film. The lack of a strong emotional core is the biggest weakness of Dabangg. The only scenes that do touch a chord are the ones with Salman and Dimple. Chulbul's affection for his mother is an understated, heart-felt one.

There's also a singular lack of intelligence in the script. Incited by on Sonu Sood, Arbaaz takes a box of mangoes into the Home Minister's residence, which are actually explosives. Is it so easy to enter with bombs in a high security zone?

Salman looks his best and fittest in Dabangg, the film has been shot well, and the setting looks ripe with possibilities - it takes the essence of Southern masala dramas and implants it in the North Indian soil.
Moreover, Sajid-Wajid's music is truly explosive. Whenever the lack-luster screenplay bring about a sense of ennui, the music infuses energy back into the film. Whether it is Tere Mast Mast Do Nain or the raunchy Munni Badnaam Huyi, Dabangg would've faced a truly uphill task without its chart-busting music.
With so many pluses, all the makers needed to do was invest in a decent story-line, but they choose to go with the most insipid of plots. You wait for some real drama to kick start, but nothing happens.

For all its shallowness, the film will probably appeal to those who are not looking for anything more than time-pass entertainment. For Salman fans, who like his style and humour, Dabangg is a good watch. For the rest, it's mostly a forgettable fare.


Anonymous rooney said...

interesting sandy, i will comment further after catching this out till then.. i have heard its near 3 idiots first day mark.. or might have broken it.. i guess i will have tough time finding tickets.

ps- there was a query, u might remember oldgold from satyamshot, she is visiting pune sometime in late september, and she was interested in watching dabanng in good single screen can u suggest some name? i have a cousin but he has settled there recently and thought whose best to ask then u :-)

ps2- i didnt found this on NG frontpage, and i have placed it there with two paras and link, i hope u dont mind.


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