By Jaya Biswas
Director: Abhinav Kashyap
Cast: Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha
Rating: Very Good
After Ghajini and Wanted, Dabanng takes the so called ‘action’ genre one step ahead, bringing back memories of the 1970s and 80s when hardcore masala flicks were truly relished by the audience.
Set in Uttar Pradesh, Dabangg revolves around Chulbul Pandey (Salman Khan), a fearless but corrupt cop with unorthodox working methods (remember Big B’s Shahenshah?). Chulbul has had a bitter childhood. His father passed away when he was two-years-old, after which his mother (Dimple Kapadia) married Prajapati Pandey (Vinod Khanna). Together, they had a son Makhanchan aka Makkhi (Arbaaz Khan).
Prajapati obviously favours Makhanchan, which does not go down well with Chulbul. He detaches himself from his step-father and half-brother. Chulbul loves his mom. However, after his mother’s demise, Chulbul and Prajapati snap all ties.
Enter Rajo (Sonakshi Sinha), with her ‘hat ke’ ideas about love and life.After marriage, she brings about a great change in Chulbul’s existence. He gets sensitised to family values.
So if Salman is the ‘good’, there has to be an ‘evil’ in the drama. The dubious Cheddi Singh aka Netaji (Sonu Sood) along with few other political leaders have their own vested interests and emerge as spokes in the wheel, pitting one brother against the other. Makkhi doesn’t realise he is being used.
Dabangg has nothing earth-shattering to offer as far as its storyline is concerned, but what makes Dabangg special is Salman’s star power that has risen a few notches higher after Wanted. Breathing fire, Salman as Chulbul aka Robin Hood Pandey spins magic on screen. It has some smashing stunts by the actor. A particular scene where he bursts into a dance — hearing the Jalwa ringtone, a track from his film Wanted — while beating up a goon, is extremely funny. Another fight sequence in the end, when Salman’s shirt tears exposing his rippling muscles and bare-chest, is surely going to send the masses into a frenzy.
Sajid-Wajid’s music comes as a bonus. The title track Dabangg, Tere Mast Mast Do Nain and Munni Hui Badnaam (composed by Lalit Pandit) are already climbing up the charts.
Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap’s brother, debutant director Abhinav Kashyap does full justice to the age-old formula, at the same time he tries not to go overboard handling the emotional quotient in the film. As for the dialogue, those delivered by Salman, guarantee claps, whistles and catcalls. Sample this: “Abhi tak sabko hilaya hai, ab sabko dhounga” and one of the other such gems include “Hum tum main itne chedd karenge ke, ki canfuse ho jaoge, ki saans kahan se le aur ***** kahan se …”
Salman looks every bit the character he portrays. Oozing style, Salman continues with his Wanted jalwa in Dabangg. Sporting a thin mustache Sallu dons an avatar the way his fans love to see him in, which explains why this film will work at the box office. His gold-rimmed sunglasses that he sometimes slings behind his shirt collar (So that he can see both in front and what’s going on behind) is soon to be a rage with youngsters.
Sonakshi Sinha acts confidently and makes a nice pair with Salman. Most importantly, she delivers the right expressions at the right time. Sonu Sood is brilliant, matching up to Salman’s histrionics at every step. Vinod Khanna does a good job in a role as Sallu’s step father. The veteran actor was also seen in Wanted as Salman’s father. Dimple Kapadia is superb as Sallu’s mom. Well, the film also has Mahie Gill (of Dev D fame) in a special role. Malaika Arora Khan sizzles in the ‘Munni’ item number. Arbaaz Khan is good in underplaying his character as Makkhi.
As far as the business prospects are concerned, the film is bound to run not only in the single-screen theatres, but multiplexes as well (given the crowd I witnessed at the first day first show).
Overall, Dabangg has all the ingredients to make for a paisa vasool entertainer. Salman fans have every reason to rejoice this Eid.
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