Dabangg 2

Actors: Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Prakash Raaj, Vinod Khanna, Arbaaz Khan
Genre: Action Comedy
Rating: 3/5

If you are like me you’d be interested in peripheral aspects of a film, big or small. I could not locate autowallah Ram Lal in the entire film, let me know if you can. This Salman Khan outing as macho man Chulbul Pandey is a tale of unexpected twists. NOT. Dabangg 2 turns out as expected yet delivers high on the entertainment quotient. Written by Dilip Shukla (minus Abhinav Kashyap this time), the sequel is about Chulbul ‘Robinhood’ Pandey now on an adventure to catch bigger fish. The adventure takes him and family to a bigger town, Kanpur, where he takes on goon (and politico, of course) Baccha Bhayya (yea what a name!), played by Prakash Raaj. Rest, you’d guess, but the fun is in the detail.

Clearly, Salman is the glue that holds this collage together, making it look decent. In many ways, Chulbul Pandey is a direct extension of Salman’s image in the media. Chulbul outdoes himself and manages to get the Salman-esque going, without doing it himself. Let me explain. Salman’s belt is in auto-pilot in the Ud dabangg (reloaded) video; you’ve seen Chulbul’s goggles cling to the back of his collar, Sonakshi joins the followship this time; and many such. Salman follows up alright with improved Hindi diction and it suits the character well. But there is one important trait that Chilbul continues to own – being the action hero. He continues to own more actually – dance to ringtones, of Munni and of Dhinka Chika this time. For the ardent fanboy, Salman delivers big and paisa vasool big. Sonakshi as Rajjo is blah. She’s had meatier roles to play in her more recent flicks. Rajjo relegates to the background as the doting wife whose sole focus is Chulbul and family as Chulbul does his iFunny, iLadaaku, iStraightTalker, iGhamandi, iHulk, iBeingHuman, and overall iSalman. This time Sonakshi has a tad bit more to say than just “thappad se dar nahi lagta saab“, uses an improved North Indian dialect this time, and sounds pretty convincing too as Mrs. Pandeyji.

Dabangg is pretty much cookie-cutter and Prakash Raaj as Baccha Bhayya the thingamajigger villain, does an awesome job with his vile expressions – and why not, given his vast experience for ages together in the south, and carries the legacy forward. Prakash is known in the south for amazing dialogue delivery, but the production team decided to have his dialgoues dubbed by someone else. Strange, because Prakash is a polyglot who can work wonders with new languages and various accents too. Not much to his role otherwise, the import could be doing better roles, but relegates to being in his comfort zone – kinda similar to some of us continuing to be in the same job forever. Off topic, never mind. Vinod Khanna and Arbaaz Khan have low screen time. Their fan if any may feel sorry, but what a brilliant idea – editor’s I suppose. It works. 

Salman Khan declared in a promo interview that Arbaaz does a better job as a Director, than as an Actor. So it’s really okay that Arbaaz does not get more screen-time, one would reckon. I don’t fully agree, with Salman that is. Also, I am not vouching for more role-length for Arbaaz in this film – no,  that would be a really bad idea. But what works for Arbaaz the Director is – this film is his home production, the prequel’s success, and Salman’s brand equity, which is not questionable at this time. What does not work for Arbaaz is the stale screenplay, a morph of the prequel’s storyline scene for scene almost, and <cough cough>, Arbaaz’s talent of making the product look original. In terms of plot progression, part 1 definitely had more content and therefore, the screenplay was pretty gripping too, changing tracks well. This time, the screenplay, also written by Dileep Shukla, is very predictable and lacks depth. A sequence of events that can be delivered in under thirty minutes is stretched over two and a half hours. What’s amusing is that the plot progression mostly mimics part 1, and the turn of events are arguably co-incidental.

If you ignore the flow and the logic, the film is entertaining in parts. Salman has decent comic timing, and mocking as a humour technique works alright for him. Always has. Munni Badnaam worked well in part 1, and Favicol is THE item number of the sequel, and so Munni toh badnaam ho hi gayi. Arbaaz as Director could have decided to pull Munni (also not easy on eyes anymore) out, but did not. Any which way, Arbaaz deserves credit for his production team’s marketing efforts. Chulbul didn’t even have to pose macho for the posters – check out this poster – “Hey look I have a gun” look seems to work okay too. Given the fact that Dabangg 1 struck gold, the sequel has used parts from the prequel as fillers (music too, by Sajid-Wajid) in part 2, and by not really giving the new viewer any plot details, and possibly piquing their interest to watch part 1 as well – the opening credits are a good example. Product placement win? If you think not, watch out for cross-promotions of Xoom money transfer, Zeus mobile, Suzuki Hayate and the production office knows who else. Morgan Spurlock will be happy.

Cinematographer Aseem Mishra has delivered some seriously good stuff in the past (Ek Tha Tiger, Sahib Biwi aur Gangster, New York) and operates well within the narrow directional scope this time around. He makes Salman look good, Sonakshi look very much the gharelu bahu and paints a picture about Kanpur markets. His talent is on full display in the opening scene and in the climax – both dishum dishum with an Eastman Colourish feel. Noticeably mimicing the action sequences from the south (Example, starting at 0:45) , a flying Pandeyji bouncing goonie boys against the ground, is captured well. Aseem indeed does a god job of making Salman look good. And show off his body too – what a surprise, yes? Clearly, his abs were painted, but the fans don’t care. The DOP made sure that the beefy Nikitin Dheer was not left out, and Salman has been generous to share his only glorious moment of shirtlesslessness with Nikitin. Aseem’s camera work goes beyond people, their bodies and locales too. Capturing on camera, the Suzuki Intruder M1800 (or was it an M800?) that Salman rode in a song video, could potentially serve as a promo plug. Or may be it did.

WHY 3/5:
The good: Salman, Salman, Salman. Cinematography. 
The bad: Screenplay and loose direction. Music by Sajid Wajid is a let down.
The film is certainly not Da Bang, but go watch if you want some paisa vasool entertainment.

4 Responses to “Dabangg 2”
  1. inda review marketing article ku correct!! 🙂

  2. Varsha says:

    I agree with the review about direction and screenplay but not the performances. Very average storyline but I think the idea is to build a Chacha Chaudhary+Sabu type character who is funny and macho at the same time with “extra” characters used in vain.

    • Sunny says:

      Interesting thought. It will be amusing to see an even older Salman Khan do his thang. But the comics promoted both Sabu & Tingu Master, wonder if real Sallu-tards will be okay with this.

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