Star cast: Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Sonu Sood, Arbaaz Khan, Vinod Khanna, Dimple Kapadia.
Plot: Salman is a corrupt but golden-hearted police officer in a small town of U.P. He dotes on his mother (Dimple) but hates his stepfather (Vinod Khanna) and stepbrother (Arbaaz Khan). He is at loggerheads with the local politician, Sonu Sood, who sets the two half brothers against one another. Sonakshi is Salman’s love interest in the film.
What’s Good: Salman Khan’s performance; the songs, particularly Munni badnaam huyi and Tere mast mast do nain; the action and stunts; the humour.
What’s Bad: Not bad, but the story offers absolutely no novelty.
Verdict: Dabangg will rock at the box-office. A sureshot and a huge hit!
Loo break: Not really!
Dabangg (UA) is the story of a fearless but corrupt police officer, Chulbul Pandey (Salman Khan), stationed at Lalganj in Uttar Pradesh. A Robin Hood by nature, he loves his mother (Dimple Kapadia), but can’t stand his stepfather, Prajapati Pandey (Vinod Khanna), and stepbrother, Makhanchan Pandey alias Makhi (Arbaaz Khan).
Chulbul Pandey falls in love with Rajo (newfind Sonakshi Sinha) who won’t marry him as she has her drunkard-father (Mahesh Manjrekar) to look after. On the professional front, Chulbul is daggers drawn with politician Chhedi Singh (Sonu Sood), also called Netaji.
For his own ulterior motives, Chhedi Singh puts Makhi against Chulbul. He also makes Makhi commit petty crimes which soon turn to heinous ones. Meanwhile, Rajo has gotten married to Chulbul Pandey. Also, Chulbul has lost his mother and he disowns his stepfather and stepbrother.
Suddenly, one day, Makhi learns of a secret from Chhedi Singh, which shocks him terribly. Does he let Chulbul Pandey in to the secret? Does Chulbul bury the hatchet with his stepfather and half brother?
In terms of story, Dilip Shukla and Abhinav Kashyap offer no novelty as films with similar plot lines – family drama, mother’s death, love story between a police officer and a simple girl, enmity between local politician and police officer, fight to finish etc. – have been seen in the past. But the presentation is so fresh, the humour is so new, the characterisation of the main protagonist is so endearing, the performance of Salman Khan is so wonderful, the music is so outstanding, and the action is so brilliantly composed that the lack of novelty hardly becomes a sore point.
The screenplay also may not be the most ideal screenplay or one which offers novelty but it is, at least, clear and conveys everything in a straight and simple manner. Only thing, since it is the story of one police officer, there is no bigger or larger issue, something which could’ve been incorporated by the writers. However, the writers have taken care to add a touch of sentiments and a bit of romance in the action fare – and what’s more, the emotions and the romance work like magic.
What also work fabulously well are the humour and the stunts in the film. Examples of fun scenes which will evoke a lot of laughter: Chulbul Pandey breaking into a dance while doing dare-devil stunts, whenever he hears the ring tone of the mobile phone of a henchman of the villain, the ring tone being the tune of a hit song of an earlier film starring the actor (Salman Khan) himself; when Chulbul tries to woo Rajo; the high-voltage scene in which Chulbul talks about making holes in Chhedi Singh’s body; the scenes of Chulbul when he refers to a demeaning word and, taking cue from it, enquires after the well-being of some person in a derogatory manner; and several other scenes. Likewise, the stunts, composed by Vijayan, are absolutely breathtaking and supremely mass-appealing. In fact, the action scenes will win thunderous applause from the masses and the youth.
Salman Khan lives his role and is the life of the film. He is so extraordinary that it seems, he was born to play this role and that the role was written for him and him only. Besides his endearing acting, he throws the right kind of attitude to carry off the role. He has looked like a million bucks, handsome as ever! For his fans, this film will go down as one of his best – as far as the film as well as his performance are concerned. His dances are lovely. The climax scene, in which his shirt tears off, will meet with such thunderous applause that it will bring the house down. There are several other scenes of Salman which will meet with large rounds of applause. Sonakshi Sinha makes a startlingly confident debut. She is camera-friendly and performs very ably and in a very natural manner. She uses her beautiful eyes excellently to convey her feelings. Sonu Sood excels. He acts with effortless ease; and his physique has been exploited very well. Even his dancing is perfect for his character. Arbaaz Khan delivers a fine performance and looks every inch the character he plays. Vinod Khanna lends good support. Dimple Kapadia acts ably. Mahesh Manjrekar, Tinnu Anand and Mahie Gill make their marks. Anupam Kher is sincere in a brief role. Om Puri is wasted in an almost inconsequential role.
Abhinav Kashyap’s direction deserves distinction marks. He has narrated the routine subject in such a refreshing manner that it is difficult to believe, this is his maiden attempt at direction. Mahesh Limaye’s camerawork complements the director’s vision fabulously well. Vijayan’s action scenes and stunts may be gimmicky but they are the stuff which will drive the masses crazy and will ensure repeat audiences.
Yet another highlight of the film is its music (Sajid Wajid and Lalit Pandit). Every song is a wonderfully composed number so that the three music directors emerge as three additional heroes of the film. ‘Munni badnaam huyi’ (Lalit Pandit) is already a rage and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that it has become the new national anthem. Its picturisation (choreographer: Farah Khan) is to die for! The racy tune and the sexy picturisation on Malaika Arora-Khan (who has danced extraordinarily) will ensure repeat audiences for the film. The interlude dance movements by Salman Khan and by Sonu Sood are just too enjoyable. ‘Tere mast mast do nain’ is another hit number. ‘Humka peeni hai’ and the title track are excellent. The dance movement in the title song, in which Salman and the dancers shake the waist bands of their trousers in a typical fashion is lovely. The lyrics of ‘Munni badnaam huyi’ (Lalit Pandit), ‘Tere mast mast do nain’ (Faiz Anwar) and the title song (Jalees Sherwani) are excellent. Sandeep Shirodkar’s background score is of a good standard. Pranav V. Dhiwar’s editing and Wasiq Khan’s sets are both appropriate.
On the whole, Dabangg may be a routine subject but its other plus points will ensure that it proves a runaway hit from North to South and East to West. It will be loved by the masses and classes, the young and the old, the girls and the boys, the men and the women. Business in single-screen cinemas will be historic, of course, but collections in multiplexes will also be outstanding. This one will click in big, medium and small centres, with the Eid festival and the heavy anticipation only adding to the business.
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