And there it is: yet another critic-proof film that the audience has pre-decided to like, such that you imagine them displaying the relevant finger to those who disagree. Given the vacuum owing to back-to-back flops, the audience is fed up, almost desperate to blockbuster-ise a film. And this seems a worthy suitor. Take a look those bright, happy promos. Who can not like gregarious Akshay Kumar crackling in a florescent pagdi and Katrina’s effervescence lighting up the screen? You’re hooked. Plus we already know Anees Bazmee by No Entry and Welcome, which we all enjoyed (somewhat), so this film is even more intriguing. You’re booked.
The premise is as plausible as Salman Khan running a shelter for battered women (forgive the crassness). Australia’s underworld is run by a strange consortium that comprises only turbaned Sikhs – childhood friends from a village who ran away to make it big. Their mob-boss is one Lucky Singh a.k.a King (Sonu Sood, looking harmless and lost) who’s a ruthless baddie.
Meanwhile, in a remote Punjab village, we meet Akshay Kumar who plays the local Dennis the Menace. Named Happy Singh he’s a clumsy do-gooder, the kind who bashes up the owners of a home mistakenly thinking them to be the robbers. His introduction scene has him chase a frightened chicken. This track continues relentlessly for a good ten minutes, ending in a song. You wait for the story to begin. When it finally does, you learn that Lucky’s aged parents are yearning for him.
Since they belong to the same village, Happy and over-the-hill friend Rangeela (Om Puri reprising his Mere Baap Pehle Aap character of an uncle-type creeping out young women) set out to bring Lucky back. They reach Egypt owing to a mix-up where Happy meets Sonia (Kaif) and falls for her.
Once in Australia, he meets a lady running a flower shop (Kirron Kher) and in typical filmi tradition adopts her as his mother. Welcome to Namastey Australia oops London, where we see the familiar track of the girl and her unworthy suitor (Ranvir Shorey) while our boy waits patiently by the sidelines.
Circumstances prod our Singh to become the underworld King and he uses this opportunity to make all the gang members (Sudhanshu Pandey, Neha Dhupia, Javed Jafferey, Yashpal Sharma, Amok Pahwa, Kamal Chopra…phew) rediscover their conscience. Of course this, he does, without sweating a brow, or creasing them. The climax makes melodrama seem mellow, complete with a preachy monologue. I suspect half-humorously, the catchy title may have come before the plot, and not the other way around.
Director Anees Bazmee’s technique of unnecessarily slowing and speeding up shots is one of the most annoying devices a filmmaker can use when not severely required. Coming from Bazmee, the humour is rather disappointing here. The term blood-boiling, for example, finds its literal representation here, with the blood (in close shot) bubbling over and finally the tube containing it bursting. If this sort of thing tickles you, it’s very likely you’ll genuinely enjoy the film.
Technically the film is average. The camera work is as tipsy as the folks in the Talli Hua song. It remains inconsistent through the film – now there’s a massive close-up, now everything on-screen is trembling, now it’s panning.
Music is average. The songs are way too many, and has the regular mix of bhangra, romantic and the now-mandatory Hard Kaur rap-trap. The end reels give us the Snoop Dogg song which I found to be clumsily done. The editing allows scenes to drag and drag. Careful not to offend the Sikh community in the least, the film flatters with rabble- rousers like sardaron ka kaam hi hai logon ki madad karna.
Since the film has nothing path-breaking to deserve an A-list cast and crew, you wonder its worrying intentions. Quite naturally, Singh is Kinng is hard-selling the Akshay-Katrina-Bazmee combo and their history of blockbuster success, nothing else. And it has a little story wrapped around this hit coupling for good measure. For those looking at a paisa vasool entertainer, this won’t enthrall but won’t disappoint either. Amen.
Verdict: 2 1/2 stars