Review - Dabangg: fearless mix of masalas

Dabangg

quick review:

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.

Audio review (subscribe):
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[Poster for Dabangg]

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

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Loads. In fact the non-violent parts are the ones we should be able to count on our fingers.
  • Language: A couple of innuendoes and strong language implying violence
  • Nudity & Sexual content: The 'munni badnaam hui' song.
  • Concept: Dowry, politics, bribery, family tiffs, etc, etc, etc.
  • General Look and Feel: Its bright and never takes itself too seriously.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 2.5
  • Story: 1.5
  • Lead Actors: 2
  • Character Artists: 2
  • Dialogues: 2
  • Screenplay: 1
  • Music Director: 2.5
  • Lyrics: 2.5

Dabangg - Movie Details

Dabangg - Trailer

Comments (42)

Rahul:

Taran Adarsh seems to have gone bonkers on this one. However, truth be told, I wouldn't mind watching this film if it is as entertaining as it is being made out to be.

http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/movies/review/13793/index.html

Roy DSilva:

Taran Adarsh... no comments.

g:

watched it today.. suuuuuuuuuuuuuuperhit.

meetu:

@Rahul go right ahead!

@Roy :)

@Harpreet true, enjaay maadi!

@cinefreak oye teri! He copied mine!

You liking this one is a surprise. Cool. As long as you had a good time, sab chalta hai.

@g that i will have to agree. I'd be shocked if this one doesn't do well financially.

Abhinav:

Well Andy, I did feel that Jodhaa Akbar and Namastey London were really bad movies :)

Usually I tend to agree with her reviews, though I actually did like Khosla Ka Ghosla

meetu:

@cinefreak I think i've mentioned this earlier. I don't get this whole concept of honest vs. pretentious film-making. This HAS to be our perception of the film, I doubt any director starts out thinking, I actually want to pretend to be so-and-so or like-this.

@Swetha thanks ;)

@Andy You are right, and it's because I cannot even attempt to understand the pulse. I can just say what I liked and why and same for what doesn't work for me. And you can agree/disagree with the opinion and the reasons, of course.

@Abhinav There is no way there can be a 100% match for movie-liking, no?

Pondy:

Meetu,

It seems you enjoyed the movie, but did not 'like' it? Anyway, here is a review on Shaolin Soccer by Roger Ebert, where he explains his reasons for giving a movie the ratings he does.
Even if you may not feel he is a good reviewer, the points he raises are all valid.
http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040423/REVIEWS/404230305/1023

meetu:

@Andy I'd love to, in fact there is a provision for that information already in wogma's backend. But, I don't know of any reliable source from where it would be legal to take this information.

@Lost in Lamancha yep! i have that and 54 others listed in the 'external reviews section'

@Pondy Yep! The enjoyment vs. liking argument is epic. My problem is there is half a percent chance that I won't enjoy a film, I enter a film and start enjoying. On the other hand though, I am going through a rigorous internal thought process about reviewing films. I will share that with you in a couple of days.

Satish Vijaykumar:

10 Reasons why Dabangg Rocks!!
http://bit.ly/bRrIEW

meetu:

@Satish :D

@lost in confusion - thanks for pointing it out, fixed now.

Dimpykash:

looks like Salman has did it again !! awesome flick, complete family entertainer. albeit it has some Rajnikant style action and moves but it is still entertaining and Salman has done a great job there.

cheers
Dimpykash
TVForDesis.com

Neetu:

@Meetu
The plot might be loose....but Salman wasn't, isn't it?

A lot of movies with great plots haven't done so well on the box-office; haven't made a lot of money either....Film makers prefer making more money rather than getting great reviews from critics and the new phenomenon is to get good collections in the first 2 weeks and for this reason every other star tries to promote their movies by going to every other TV show etc

USAGiftstore:

Salman Khan has acted superbly in the movie.The plot is nice..Arbaz has chosen a rather dumb role for himself...but overall the movie has enough to win the hearts of the people.:)

meetu:

@Shilpa agree that among many other things that were handled lightly :D

@Neetu wanting to make money is not a new concept really. Neither is the concept of Dabangg, nor is Salman's style. It's all the same ol'-same ol'

@USAGiftStore if you say so! :D

meetu:

@Pragya Nope, I don't think a reviewer's role includes predicting 'how well it will be liked by the junta' because -
1. No one person can claim to predict how a certain thing (in this case let's say a movie) one thing will be liked by another person. Even if they are the closest friend or share the same blood.
2. That one person change with time.
3. That person can be in different moods at different times.
4. Not to mention enjoyment can differ depending on who you are watching the film with.
5. Junta is not one person and thus certainly not that one person.
I don't know how any one person can be expected to figure out what a junta might like. Even a majority of 'junta' is a huge number. Not to mention, even if you divide the junta into whatever categories, each category still has a whole load of junta in it.

I say 'watch if nothing better to do' because that's what i thought while walking out. I'm very very aware that you or the third person might not feel the same. Therefore I perform the role of giving detailed explanation. If the reader's requirements don't quite match the reasons I have cited for my discontent, they decide to watch the film.

On whether or not I want people to enjoy, I'm writing a piece on that. Will publish it soon. Thanks!

meetu:

@cinefreak you are right, when i write a review i wish to present an 'image' of an honest person :)

ok funny side aside, I know we judge people by their body language all the time to figure out if they are being pretentious or not. But, i haven't understood how a film can be judged similarly.

On another point, almost none of us can be really honest about our intentions, why are we making that expectation of our film-makers especially those who are trying to say something different or in a different manner?

meetu:

@Pragya I describe what a review's role is, here - http://wogma.com/article/why-read-a-review/

>> Why play in the safe domain. It would be a fun exercise to predict junta's verdict and see how it goes.

That would be another blog, another agenda. It's like asking Abhinav Kashyap, "why make 'Dabangg', when you can make 'Manorama Six Feet Under'?"

Naah, had decided about the 'what people enjoy' article right after watching dabangg :D

meetu:

@AngryYoungMan2.0 Well, no one has bullied me into liking anything or not. It's just that there is an audience like me out there and these people you hate cater to us.

Mainstream films earn money to make indies all over the world. And I don't think anyone calls anyone names except in forums like these. Dabangg is by Anurag's brother, for goodness sake!

meetu:

@Lost in Lamancha absolutely! i'm human. Which is why i can only neutralize my moods, etc, but do that for an entire population - i'm not up for it.

meetu:

@Samir :) thanks! I think the debate is because 'Dabangg' is this suppa-duppa hit and I kind-of wrote it off...

Rahul:

You were right Meetu - this was crap! Pure crap.

meetu:

@all I've been pretty clear on why i started, when I started it 4 years ago. I'm also very aware of my limitations, including the fact that I cannot judge how 'junta' or 'masses' will like a certain film. With an individual person, given his likes and dislikes, I can with a sufficient accuracy predict whether or not he'll like the film. But then again, that's one person or at the most 20-odd people I can claim that for. Still not a big enough sample for "junta" pulse determination.

like many of you re saying here, ab bahut hua, time to move on...

Pooja R:

I think you must read this also -http://www.nsbollywood.com/bollywood-movie-reviews/414-dna-dabangg-is-an-out-and-out-entertainer

meetu:

@Pooja yep, read that

@Pragya Nope, my rating scale only says what I think one should do (ideally, after considering why I'm saying that and depending on whether or not they agree with the explanations). I'm not saying I know what they want to do and thus telling them what to do.

meetu:

@lost in confusion yeah i remembered that after it was too late. Had done it for wanted! Completely skipped my mind here. Oh well...

Amit Paranjape:

#Dabang - one of the worst movies I have seen recently. Don't watch even if paid to do so :) ...Rating: '0/5' would be doing injustice to 0.

meetu:

@Amit i hear ya, my friend!

@bhupusingh what are you saying? not even for the scene where Salman says 'papa' for the first time? :D

@Pragya it's great to have such discussions, keep them coming.

@all hear this one out! I saw Dabangg again yesterday (some fine print in the wedding vows about watching every Salman Khan film with husband, such is life!)

And I must say, I disliked it even more. So, yeah bring it on...

meetu:

@lost in confusion accepted :)

guddu:

the problem that follows this movie is that being a total crap it's a record blockbuster hit.what's irrestible is that people who aren't salmaniac's are feeling pain to summon this.There were movies which happened to be less worse than this but they proved never as shocking as this one .It's the second high grosser with piles of bugs yet to be added.the bottom line is that it's just the blessings(miracle) of ALLAH and GANESH baba which we ordinary people can't judge with our brains.The movie has a high critical acclaim with 4.0 rating in wogma.But i know even salman knows the movie has any artisic value or a movie worth to be called a movie afterall he's a writer too.

meetu:

@Sesh Sonu Sood does have the Big B streaks in his acting, but completely misses out on screen presense. Has to try way too hard. Him playing Arbaaz's role and someone else playing Salman's role would be a completely different film. What's done here is done.Also, I doubt this film would work for me unless there were some serious changes in the writing.

Dimple Kapadia on the other hand, I think was trying her best to look like an Asthmatic patient, which came out alright.

Re: Tashan let's not get into a tashan about this one.

meetu:

@Samir NO! no way...

meetu:

@simy ha ha ha ha. that's a wild one. I have no clue and I try to keep away from such speculation. I didn't like the film, that's all i know. Thanks a ton for stopping by!

meetu:

@Simy he he he! no i'll not copy that line. ;)

meetu:

@guddu slow down. Didn't understand what you are getting at.Sorry, can you explain again?

atishnis:

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.

kay:

The song might have been what made this movie hit. I am not a Salman fan but I do watch his movies when I have forgotten how bad his movies are. This was one such instance. Don't know if its all brawn that can make you so lovable ..

meetu:

@guddu aah that way. i didn't see any of the things you mentioned when I went there, i just heard the song, i thought it was just an audio link. thanks for pointing it out, will take better care next time.

@atishnis sorry didn't see many of the positives you've mentioned :)

@kay let's hope it just makes us like other films better

@Rema my heart goes out to you, girl!

@chandu ha ha ha

moviesberg:

I love salman khan

Sania Jaan:

I like this movie

Nazish Khan:

it was a hit movie

Samina Jaan:

salman khan is the bollywood hero

Raheel Ahmed:

Nice review

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