There's a spate of desi entertainers of late. All starring top league actors and helmed by reputable names. Now Anil Sharma, whose body of work consists of desi entertainers like HUKUMAT, ELAAN-E-JUNG, FARISHTAY, TEHELKA, GADAR - EK PREM KATHA, APNE and VEER, helms yet another big ticket film with a desi angle to it -- SINGH SAAB THE GREAT.
When Anil Sharma joins hands with Sunny Deol -- the jodi has delivered one of the biggest hits of Hindi cinema in GADAR - EK PREM KATHA -- one expects the duo to recreate the epic success in their new outing. Clapworthy dialogue, fiery confrontations, hi-octane drama and of course, Sunny's dhaai kilo ka haath to vanquish the oppressors... the mandatory requirements have to be in place. And SINGH SAAB THE GREAT has it all in trademark Anil Sharma style.
SINGH SAAB THE GREAT narrates the story of Singh Saab [Sunny Deol], an honest Collector, who believes in carrying out his duties diligently. However, the crooked and shady Bhoodev [Prakash Raj] falsely implicates him in a case of bribery and gets him imprisoned. Even though Singh Saab is seething with anger, he decides to settle scores with Bhoodev differently, by bringing about change instead of revenge [badla nahin badlaav]. The ground is set for a confrontation between the honest and corrupt forcesâ€¦
With not much to look to forward to in the storyline, the challenge lies in making the screenplay captivating and spellbinding and Anil Sharma and writer Shaktimaan attempt to package the film with ingredients that connect instantly with the masses. The character portrayed by Sunny is like any other character we may have witnessed in several films, but when Sunny roars, bashes the villain black and blue or pulls a tree with its roots, it appears bona fide. The larger than life character suits him and Anil Sharma and Shaktimaan make sure they capitalize on this actuality.
Anil Sharma's movies, generally, have an undercurrent of emotions. In fact, his biggest victories have stressed on emotions [his directorial debut SHRADDHANJALI, GADAR and APNE in particular] and SINGH SAAB THE GREAT too maintains an iron grip on emotions and sentiments. Like GADAR, the emotional chord is between the couple [Sunny-Urvashi Rautela] and also between the brother-sister [Sunny-Anjali Abrol] this time. But what weighs the film down is the conflict with the antagonist. It's predictable and one feels that the issue of an honest citizen waging a war against the corrupt has been done to death. Sure, a few confrontations are fiery, especially the one when Sunny and Prakash Raj meet for the first time or the one when Sunny throws Prakash Raj in the fire, but the sting operation and the fight to finish towards the climax tend to get monotonous. Besides, the intimate scenes between Sunny and Urvashi look odd after a point.
SINGH SAAB THE GREAT overstays its welcome by a good 10/15 minutes. A crisp, concise edit would've only facilitated a solid punch. The soundtrack tilts heavily towards the Punjabi flavor, with the theme song staying on your lips. It's full of vigour and vivacity. 'Daaru Bandh Kal Se' [which has surprise cameos by Dharmendra and Bobby Deol] is hummable and gels well in the context of things. Dialogue are sure to be loved by the strata of audience they are targeted at [the masses]. In fact, the single screen audience in particular will relish and applaud the jibes and retorts for certain.
Sunny Deol looks most fitting for the part. Also, the certainty and conviction with which he interprets his character is worthy of note. In addition, like I stated earlier, he looks most apt for roles where he has to illustrate muscle power. The masses should go into raptures as he delivers dynamic dialogue in his distinctive trademark style. Enacting the role of a news reporter, Amrita Rao manages to leave a strong impact, despite the fact that the film belongs to Sunny. Urvashi Rautela looks photogenic and though she's a first-timer, she seems confident in several sequences. Post WANTED and SINGHAM, Prakash Raj seems to be getting typecast in similar roles. Not his fault, but I wish to add that the gifted actor enacts his part with gusto and fervor. He matches Sunny at every step. Anjali Abrol does well.
Johny Lever is as lively as ever. Rajit Kapoor, Sanjay Mishra, Yashpal Sharma and Manoj Pahwa don't get much scope to put across their talent. Shahbaaz Khan appears in a cameo. The kid enacting the part of Sunny's nephew is cute.
On the whole, SINGH SAAB THE GREAT is atypical Sunny Deol film that a section of the audience still enjoys. The clapworthy dialogue, the raw appeal, the undercurrent of emotions and of course, the dhaai kilo ka haath should appeal to those who relish desi fares, especially the single screen audience.