Saturday, December 22, 2012

Dabangg 2 

 Short And Painless

The craze for Salman Khan has been fuelled to such an extent that he could sit in a chair silently in a film and people would still flock for first weekend tickets.  To be fair, Arbaaz Khan, picking up the Dabangg franchise (it will be turn into a Chulbul Pandey franchise) from Abhinav Kashyap knows what the audience wants from Salman Khan and lays it out on a silver platter.  Salman treats with the irreverence it deserves—in the title song sequence, the belt buckle dances by itself (aping the popular dance move from Dabangg), and the aviator glasses stay hooked to the back of the collar.

It’s such a collection of Chulbul Pandey ‘items’ that the plot is rudimentary—here’s a brave cop, here’s a villain terrorising a city, and they have to clash.  Director Khan and writer Dilip Shukla make this inevitable journey quick and painless; punctuate with humour, songs and piquant ‘shudh’ Hindi dialogue; pity that there’s no quotable line, except a brisk “Aate Hain” whenever Pandey exits the scene, though this term is not used in Kanpur where the film is set.

The small town and recreated rather well, never mind the blatant product placements, and the characters are pure UP.  The villain, Bachcha Singh (Prakash Raj) doesn’t quite get the Kanpur lilt in his speech, and is not as fearsome an antagonist a Salman/Chulbul needed.  What is lacking in the villain department is made up by Chulbul’s little scenes of warmth shared with the family—wife Rajjo (Sonakshi Sinha), stepdad Prajapati (Vinod Khanna) and half brother Makkhan (Arbaaz Khan) and colleages, the gluttonous boss (Manoj Pahwa) and supportive colleagues. If it weren’t for the truly cheap item number (Kareena Kapoor’s Fevicol), in which the otherwise devoted-to-wife Chulbul goes carousing in the red light area, he would be an almost 
unimpeachable man.

Dabangg 2 has no soaring highs, but it delivers its entertainment in small, self-releasing doses and Salman Khan does it all—giggling, weeping (yes!), taunting, fighting-- with crowd-pleasing enthusiasm. So why shouldn't the crowds be pleased?


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