Sunday, August 17, 2014

Singham Returns 

Roar Shor

Rohit Shetty’s Singham Returns does not demand that you leave your brain at home, just turn it down a bit. At full alert it would be difficult to sit through such a noisy and mostly senseless film without the said brain ‘satko-ing.’  When Bajirao Singham’s bheja ‘satakto’ he goes on a rampage. What is the cinema audience to do?

Shetty must have designed all those grand action sequences-- in which the hero and his band of cops don’t get hit with machine guys and rocket launchers, but they decimate armies of bad guys with revolvers; in which the baddies stand in front of Singham with guns, but don’t shoot. There are several fist fights, which are more thrilling than gun battles, and would have been less ear-splitting if the stunt men were not breaking so much glass.

Anyway, after all this work was done, Shetty must have ordered a plot to fill in the gaps.  Some romance with an irritatingly shrieky Kareena Kapoor (she should have grown out of playing the cretinous roles by now), some emotion, which comprises more shrieking women, and the standard issue villains—one politician, one godman.  Surprisingly, no gangsters and no corrupt cops. In Singham’s world there is no corruption in the police force. That’s good to know!

 Bajirao (Devgn) is a DCP in Mumbai now, and starts with trying to reform errant teens. One of his men is killed in suspicious circumstances and the trail leads to a phoney godman (Amole Gupte) and his political cohort (Zakir Hussain). They are amassing crores to win elections (really?) because a Gandhian type of Guruji (Anupam Kher) wants to initiate progress by getting young people to stand for elections, and that bothers the godman-politician combo. In such films, with a pseudo-political backdrop, elections are always coming up.

The godman obviously has enough manpower, money, wheels and weaponry to go after Guruji and a potential turncoat with massive attacks on the roads. The media reaches all over the place (with a smirking Barkha Dutt type leading the pack), except where the action is!

There is one scene that has the audience cheering--when Singham is told a cop in uniform can’t take the law into his hands, he takes his shirt off and marches to the villains' den, with thousands of ganji-clad cops following him. Then Daya (of TV’s CID fame) gets to break down the door to more cheering.

The film needed more of this kind of masala than its half-baked politics. Still, at least it is respectful towards cops, who are routinely battered in films, and Ajay Devgn plays Singham with a sober dignity and even allows some cracks at his age.

After the film is over, the brain can be restarted, tested for noise damage and life be resumed with no memory of the film just watched.


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