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Dabangg 2 increases the dose of wannabe Rajnikanth, only this time around the serving feels lukewarm. But that means nothing to the Saman-fan now, does it? So eye-rollers like me, can continue with the eye-workout. The fans - well, like they need a go ahead from anyone.
The best part about a Salman Khan film is the herd of Salmaniacs you are surrounded by. Oh, the whistles, the cheers, the non-stop cackle and overall enthusiasm. I would get through many a Salman film just to be in the middle of that kind of energy. And Dabangg 2 didn't have even that!
The crowd was surprisingly cold except for the mandatory excitement at grand-entry time and during the songs. But, usually the songs get more out of the fans. The first in this series, Dabangg had teenage girls in the audience dancing to the background music of the final fight sequence. Here it was restricted to general cheering and hooting. Since I don't get the mania anyway, and am very unlikely to enjoy the film by itself, my only barometer is the audience reaction - which was rather underwhelming.
The introductory action sequence feels like a recap of Dabangg and you wait for something new and fun in terms of action to come up soon. You keep waiting. There is nothing new or funny about them, they are just repetitive. Only this time, the sound design does the 'action' rather than the usual camera and/or editing. In the name of action choreography, people fall here, there and everywhere in the same old fashion.
In stead you are served one song after another, a few obviously inserted to give the feeling that Sonakshi Sinha had something to do. And in one she was even pitted against Malaika Arora Khan, which I didn't quite understand. Was it some way of making the contrast in terms of looks and dancing skills even more apparent?
Let's not waste our breath over story, it's the same old cop, up against the goon-turned-politician. Only this one is conveniently honest so that he can be Robin-Hood-cum-Kungfu-Panda. Interestingly, the other cops too are all honest and want to do the right thing. This version of Bollywood cop though is soon amalgamating into one, only the 'star' playing him changes - from Dabangg to Singham to Rowdy Rathore this police officer is fusing together and one is difficult to tell apart from the other. That two of these have Sonakshi Sinha as lead lady and two have Prakash Raaj as villain doesn't make it easier.
Of the lot, Prakash Raaj and to an extent Vinod Khanna try their best to bring life to their characters. The rest are just doing the drill, ably led by Salman Khan. Is it not disconcerting to the Salman fan that his playback singer, Sukhwinder Singh is singing his soul out while he barely moves his lips for lip-sync? How is that cool? So, Salman Khan continues to adorn his 'acting' with an attitude of nonchalance. He gets to play silly pranks which can slide by as cute.
Speaking of silly, the silliest gets sillier here and you are left with no choice but give it a laugh. Yet, the dialogue and especially the one-liners, save maybe one or two, carry no weight. Not even those repeat lines given to characters in order to define them, a la 'aata maajhi satakli' or Dabangg's own 'chhed'. To top it off the relatively funnier lines of the lot are repeated to push them down your throat and make sure you 'got' them. However, I did enjoy the language a lot. 'Clean' Hindi is indeed refreshing, even if it sounds fake and forced.
I know a Salman Khan film is no place for me. But, I really do love being in a theater, especially if there is hope of a lively audience. Here's hoping it will work the next time around like it did in Dabangg. Oh yes, there will be a Dabangg 3.
ps. Yes, yes, ladies (and gentlemen) the shirt comes off.
- meetu, a part of the audience
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