Due to his hallmark of unorthodox, meaningful and adroitly narrated movies, Anurag Kashyap would've exiled to Rajasthan's deserts to bury his head in shame after watching his younger brother's entertainer-for-the-masses - 'Dabangg'. While the film goes against the tide of new age cinema, it does one thing better than most films. It entertains. With over-the-top sequences, exaggerated circumstances, incredulous action and Salman Khan at its helm, Dabangg not only explodes with its outlandish style to entertain but garners more moolah than all of Anurag's films combined.
One look at Salman's entry in the film and you know what's in store for you. No superhero can walk like him, pack a punch like him or jump over obstacles in one breath. This is Inspector Chulbul Pandey in the hinterland of U.P where the lawless land is a haven for the corrupt. Regardless of his weird mannerisms of placing sunglasses on the back collar, his silly expressions or the brashness under his kindest self, Pandeyji is unmistakably charming. He will tend to let himself loose at times by dancing to Wanted's ringtone that plays on a sidekick's cell phone while he's about to beat the life out of him. Try controlling your laughter at that point.
Dabangg draws much of its strength from a screenplay that keeps the action rolling with Salman's presence seldom missed. Witty dialogues in Bhojpuri add the most to the fun element while Salman's rendering of them will leave you craving for more.
Director Abhinav Kashyap puts Salman Khan in Rajnikant's shoes in action sequences while the film's setting in U.P gives it a grand scope to explore the bhojpuri realm and take advantage of it for entertainment through dialogues and characters. Although the plot is a no-brainer, it still has enough juice in it to keep its momentum going with action, romance, comedy and Salman's jalwa. There is something about Salman's performance here that may not necessarily be charismatic but it engages you enough to make you whistle even in a multiplex (although this is totally a G7 or Chandan movie). This is Sunny Deol on drugs and Rajnikant revamped for Bollywood. Dabangg is different from 'Wanted' yet similar in Salman's prowess against adversaries.
The music by Sajid-Wajid-Lalit is hummable with Tere Mast Mast do nain and full of masti with Munni Badnaam and Humka Peeni hai. Reminiscent of 'Omkara's title song is Hud Hud Dabangg with excellent cinematography. Salman in all these songs is a charmer and looks to be enjoying the filming completely. There is no choreography. Just some drinks on-the-house.
As the unstoppable Macho-man, Salman Khan excels in action sequences. He is, of course known to be stiff and it becomes very apparent while he is dancing but it is fun to watch no doubt, when he lets loose in most songs and just goes wild. Delivering bhojpuri dialogues, threats and romanticism, Salman Khan earns your whistling and hooting. Wanted and Dabangg both would've been catastrophic flops if it weren't for Salman re-inventing himself. Here, he doesn't look like he is out to prove that point. Most of the time, you can see him simply enjoying himself.
Arbaaz Khan is passable but could've been sillier to add to the fun as Makhi. Om Puri, Vinod Khanna and Anupam Kher in cameos were superlative while Mahesh Manjrekar delivered a shockingly good performance as a drunkard father. Sonu Sood has been better in 'Jodha Akbar' but he is quite adequate as Chulbul Pandey's adversary. Newcomer Sonakshi Sinha looks beautiful, can put up a straght face pretty well and can compete well against her contemporaries.
It goes without saying that Dabangg was never going to be an intellectual enricher. This is pure, flawed entertainment and that is how it needs to be enjoyed. The action seems like a spoof of our southern counterparts and therefore, is fun to watch. Dialogues, however rude at times: 'haraamzade se yaad aaya, aapke sasur kaise hai?' are thoroughly laugh worthy and the sensational cinematography around Salman's entry at various points in the film augments his heroism. Considering these factors, Dabangg offers tremendous value for money and is no surprise that it opened to such an overwhelming response. Nevertheless, this is not going to be a revolution in Bollywood but just a passing tide and it better remain that way.
If you have read this all the way and have now decided to go watch it, then it should suffice to say..... â€œKamaal karte ho Pandeyji...!â€
- 8.279 on a scale of 1-10.