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Dabangg, and more so, Salman Khan, won't even allow a reviewer her right to roll her eyes. How can she be the snoot who ignores a packed house is dancing and clapping its way to the background score of an action sequence? She laughs at the silliness on screen and off. She walks out of the theater feeling happy for the people who had come to enjoy and made sure they had a good time. But enjoy, for her own self, did she? Nope. Not a chance.
No one can say, "Dabangg falls short of expectations." - Salman Khan fan or not. The kind of 600-odd youngsters that come for an 8:30AM show; those who boo at trailers because they stand between Dabangg and them; they can't wait for their hero's grand entry - these people certainly fall in a skewed sample set. But they are the target audience too. Vouching for Dabangg, on their behalf, is easy. Thanks to the deafening cheers at every line Salman Khan mouthed and even at some non-verbal, action-packed sequences. Me? Well, I am an outsider in such a forum. I try to go with the flow but it just isn't my kind of film, Dabangg.
Dabangg turned out to be what I thought it would be - Salman Khan playing himself (for he knows no other way); reasonable action; cheeky one-liners; good music; and loads of nonsense in the story but who cares about that anyway, right? In fact, I'll go out on a limb and say Dabangg even exceeded my expectations - Salman Khan plays Rajnikanth; there are a few awesome moves in the fight sequences; and the plot is loosely coherent.
But then again, I'm no Rajni-fan either. ducks brickbat(s). At least, that attack on me isn't animated by some shoddy computer graphics. And they are not bad copies from various other films either. Also no chick editor snap and sew it together oh-so-quickly. Hey, who am I kidding, I ain't Salman Khan fan either.
Every actor in the film takes cue from Salman Khan. Take one expression and stick to it. Be it Vinod Khanna or Dimple Kapadia. Oh, Sonakshi Sinha, she has two to switch between - disturbed-why-me and smile-when-my-admirer-wants-me-to. Her role seems to have gone under some heavy-duty scissors. Only that can explain the gaps in her character arc. Producer and item-numberer, Malaika Arora Khan makes a better impact on your memory than Sonakshi Sinha.
Films of this genre can't be bothered by things like consistency and comprehension, and this one at least makes an attempt. Fails miserably, but tries nevertheless. It actually takes time to set the characters and their relationships up. The script goes on to build on this background, too. But, the rush to wrap it up shows. The urge to put in more action and less story, becomes transparent. Thus starts a race for the quickest character transition - be it good to evil or the other way around. The change is glaring at you even harder because of the extremes that each of these characters have gone to in the opposite direction. You remember the 80s.
The broad plot tries to say something about national issues, from political to social, from dowry to bribery. But then they are left loose. Not that I want any preaching from anyone. But those elements don't find conclusion and that's sort-of disorienting. You leave with questions that didn't look like they were intentionally so.
Oh, look at me trying to impersonate an intellectual fart. Go on people, go enjoy your annual dose of Salman Khan. I love to see people let their hair down, abandon care and just have a good laugh...or dance. Even if it is to the tune of a wannabe 'omakara' or 'beedi jalai le'. Oh, by the way, if you enjoyed the munni song, check this out - the original.
- meetu, a part of the audience