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Singham Returns review: Worth a watch

Movie:
Singham Returns
Director:
Rohit Shetty
Cast:
Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor, Amole Gupte
Avg user rating:

Bajirao Singham is back and this time, he's posted in mean Mumbai. Attempts to bribe this super-cop are met with a teacher-like "what am I going to do with him" expression and finished with an ear-splitting slap.

Like Singham that released in 2011, this one has Ajay Devgn do the slow-mo walk, slap people a couple of dozen times, say corny dialogue, and play the cool, honest cop. In one scene, Singham refuses to arrest a group of young boys with the dialogue, "Chod raha hoon, kyon ki, jail ko nahin, desh ko tumhari zaroorat hai." (I am letting you go, because the country needs you, not the jail). You don't know how to react to this self-serious, misplaced dialogue, told in the dead of the night to a group of teens who look at him blankly.

We see Bajirao worried about threats to a politician's life, who has inducted several young people in his party including a saas-bahu serial actress (ahem). This politician, also Singham's mentor, is fashioned as a clean, progressive-thinking leader. Heck, he even wears white all the time!

An attack on the life of this politician and the murder of a trusted colleague leads Bajirao to say the famous three words, "Aata majhi satakli". The villains are a quasi-comical baba (Amole Gupte, playing an Asaram-type charlatan) and a rival politician (Zakir Hussain).

Romance arrives in the form of Avni (Kareena Kapoor) who runs her own salon business and has an impressive appetite. No one can do the bright-eyed, in-love, loud heroine character better than Kareena. She's called Lady Singham for her fearless feistiness; that's until it's her turn to play babe-in-the woods, and then the characterization is completely ditched.

The action is there, yes, and you'll have fun watching the body count pile, if that's your thing. One wonders if it makes sense to show the hero behaving this violently— hitting, slapping and killing people through half the film. That song sung by Yo Yo Honey Singh aptly describes him as an angry, young man (one of the adjectives is suitable), and someone who's always 'hyper'. But then you're talking about Yo Yo maybe he was just trying to rhyme something with 'tiger'.

This violent "method" of working is glorified through the film. A reporter tells him, "Tum nahin sudharoge" (You'll never improve) with him coming back with a 'This is the only way Singham works' retort.

The finale portion is engaging with the police force revolting against the system. The scene's tension is superb, but writer-director Rohit Shetty bungles it up by making the villains fight like children, watering the scene down.

What's more absurd is the inconsistency of the images. Several close-ups are unflatteringly lit and the film moves in hurried cuts, bordering on the abrupt.

But there are aces too. You cannot help getting caught in Singham's battle, cheering him on. Shetty adds in mischief in bits, like Avni admiring Singham wearing only a dhoti, taking a dip in the water. Or the scene where everyone orchestrates to embarrass a politician.

Ajay Devgn plays the role like he always has — with a self-serious intensity. This Singham has jaded a bit, but still roars just as loud. Or at least tries to. You could call it a predictably good performance. But some of the spark present in Singham is missing in the sequel.

This is a Rohit Shetty film, and that should be a genre in itself. You'll get a film full of violence and a simplistic plot, that's still watchable (even entertaining at times) for the actors, the few moments of genuine conflict and romance, and the earnest representation of the hero's angst. Worth a watch, if you can be patient with the trappings of a formula film.

Rating: 3 stars

 

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