After each trailer, a small kid in some row asked, “What’s the next movie?” But after Dabangg started, all questions stopped. Never having been a great fan of Salman Khan, for the first time I had bought a ticket to watch what I thought was a comedy with some action thrown in. Once the movie started, I was as riveted as the rest of the audience.
Salman Khan plays Chulbul Pandey, a small time corrupt cop, in a larger than life role that will rate as an ekdum chummeshwari performance like DID would say. He mixes machismo and comedy with such élan, a la Rajanikant style, that you forget to eat your caramel popcorn. Except in the emotional scenes between him and his mother, which lack emotion and drag. But the movie is not about emotion.
It is an in-your-face story with wacky comedy and action that does not wallow too much in the traditional soppiness of most Bollywood movies, except at the tail end. The first half is paisa vasool script.
Vinod Khanna marries Dimple Kapadia, a widow, who has a son Chulbul from her first marriage. Quite unlike Sholay and other potboilers, which shy away from the theme of widow remarriage. Anyway, I digress. The second marriage results in Makki, his dim-witted step brother played by Arbaaz Khan showing unexpected moments of cunning. The love hate relation between the two brothers is the central focus of the movie with the stormy relationship between the step father and step son following close behind. But a predictable twist comes in two-thirds into the movie and hence stopped it from going all the way in its kickass approach. Where one feels that the script writer chickened out and wanted to wrap up all the threads on a conventional note.
Coming to Sonakshi Sinha and the love interest of the besotted Pandey. She is 100 per cent woman and the perfect foil to Salman’s Robin Pandey. Sonakshi has a certain confident aura that hooks you into her role as a village belle whose stubborn affection for her drunken father clash with her hidden feelings for Chulbul. A big change from most girly heroines in debut roles.
Dimple and Vinod play very watery roles and seem travesties after their famous pairing in Lekin years ago. The only time Dimple shines is when she explains to a young Chulbul why she married the second time. Also Sonu Sood, who plays Chedi Singh, a politician and a baddie, fails in the half-hearted script penned for a villain. It lacks that edge to make a viewer really hate him.
The movie is scattered with many superb one liners while the comic timing is perfect – like, the ringtone that sets Salman dancing in the middle of a fight or the scene where the cops try to make Sonakshi laugh. Must add a mention of Malaika who makes a great Munni in her item number and the ideal Jhandu balm at a point when the movie gets slightly tedious after which it stumbles towards a predictable happy ending..
Having said that, the fights scenes in Dabangg fall into a class that will satisfy all front and back benchers to set the cash registers ringing. The songs are good but Raahat’s Tere Mast Do Nain will inch up the charts to number one very soon. If Munni Badnaam Hui does not.
Rating : 9 on 10