Singham Returns - Review

wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV (?)
quick review:

An action film which is actually trying to make a point through its story, even if it is an over-simplified one.

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Wogma Review

It is always fun to watch branded films like Singham Returns, whether or not you like the film ultimately. The audience is there to enjoy and I always enjoy their enthusiasm. This once, though there was an additional pleasure. First fifteen minutes into the film, and you know there is a serious attempt at developing a plot. Another half an hour or so in, when you hear one or two people clap and cheer and the rest of the audience joins in you realise that the viewers have been uncharacteristically quiet after the initial zeal. They were hooked to what was happening on screen. Unfortunately, this doesn't last through the film. There are dips, especially in the second half and the climax is a simple bummer.

Yet, Singham Returns started with an impact. In fact, it was a pleasant surprise to see subtlety in this form of cinema. There's a remark on an entire generation being responsible for the "anything goes" attitude of the current generation, especially with regard to corruption. Then, the "vote-buying" scene with the backdrop of a city skyline was a nice touch (even if executed tackily). And a few more alond similar lines.

The dialogue writing, especially in the first half is strikingly good. Even if some of it does get "filmy", a lot of it is delivered smoothly to appreciate both the dialogue delivery and the dialogue itself. At most times they are unexpectedly contextual, and at times they are even insightful/profound. But, of course, it loses steam in the second half.

The writer's passion for showing the hard-working, dutiful facet of the Mumbai police shines through. It's almost as if he takes the offense personally, when people try to bribe a policeman on the street. Not a single policeman is corrupt and they are all up in arms to do the right thing, even if it were at the risk of losing their beloved job. It is almost as if they are an official Union that has gone on strike so that people see the good in them.

I'm usually sympathetic towards women's role in films of this genre which have the woman just because there should be a woman, a necessary prop of types. But, while Singham Returns gives Kareena Kapoor more than her share of screen space, the quality her appearance makes you wish it hadn't. She is more like a romantic-cum-comic relief used to elongate the runtime of the film. The romantic track is too long for the theme of the film, is annoying because it is loud and over-done, out-of-place because it doesn't seem to have received the writer's attention when compared to the rest of the film. It felt like a chore that they needed to get out of the way. It is also loud, undoubtedly and unnecessarily. I'd love to see a quieter version of the film without the romance and the comedy for sure.

Somewhere on the top of the list of things that make the film loud is Kareena Kapoor. She is shrill and irritating and over-acting. This seems to rub off on other women characters even in the small bits they get like Constable Mahesh's wife and the woman from the slums who supports taking money from a political party for her vote. In comparison, the men seem to be in control. Even the caricature Godman baba that Amol Gupte plays looks mild in comparison, though by himself is over-the-top. Zakir Hussain too is appropriately arrogant and scared as a politician whose career is dependent upon which way the tide flows. In their midst is Ajay Devgn's soothing presence even if he doesn't emote much. Even so, each one of them has unmissable screen presence, including Ashwini Kalsekar who plays the over-enthusiastic journalist.

Setting aside the stretched romantic track and lame attempt at humor, even the action choreography and CGI seems half-hearted this time around. Except for a flying Ajay Devgn once in the entire film, there is no real attempt at adding an element of oomph to the action sequences. As difficult as I find it to believe, the focus is the story and the point its trying to make.

That brings me to what some of the regular readers here are waiting to read - It is a Rohit Shetty film, that is a little less like a Rohit Shetty film, because it is actually trying to make sense while trying to keep what one expects from a Rohit Shetty film alive. Fortunately, more of the earlier than latter.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Loads of gun fights and fist-fights.
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Mention of rape a couple of times, and a Godman eyeing his female devotees. Else, nothing sexually explicit or implicit.
  • Concept: The power of numbers, the power of the common man, the power of doing the right thing even if doing it in the wrong way.
  • General Look and Feel: Loud and brash.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 2.5
  • Story: 3
  • Lead Actors: 2.5
  • Character Artists: 2
  • Dialogues: 3.5
  • Screenplay: 2
  • Music Director: 2
  • Lyrics: 1

Singham Returns - Trailer

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Comments (36)

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Fan:

Waiting impatiently. Plus Amol Gupte joins the team, should be fun to watch.

TimELiebe:

Well, I don't know HOW I missed SINGHAM, Meetu!

Guess I know what my Indian-movie loving friends are watching this weekend…. :)

Sounds like a movie I'll rent out once it's on DVD here in the US.

meetu:

@Fan I hope so too!

@TimELiebe Oh wow! How come? Especially considering you like Ajay Devgn. So, how did your crew like it?

Fan:

Seats are reserved for Friday night show. Somebody might say that mazi satakli but the effect of first instalment is such that the expectation for the second outing is sky high.

Kishore:

Meetu, its very very very evident that you dont like Ajay Devgn and u are a good good larger than life movies fan like YJHD, OSO etc. Let me tell u your rating for HNY .. a min 4/5 ... sure !!

TimELiebe:

We didn't get the DVD from Netflix yet, Meetu - so instead we watched BOMBAY TALKIE. I'm not sure how that was a tribute to a Century of Indian Cinema, but it was entertaining enough….

And we won't be seeing anything for the next few weeks, as everybody but me will be off at a retreat. Maybe SINGHAM will have shown up by then….

Fan:

Watched it. And my verdict? First real blockbuster of 2014. Lived up to all my sky high expectations. Thus if you would go without any expectations then you should get the time of your life. If you liked the 2011 instalment then you should LOVE this.

My review: tomorrow some time.

Anuj:

OUTSTANDING entertainer. Would definitely be Ajay Devgan's biggest hit of his life and should easily cross the 150 cr mark.

@Fan : Yeah this one's the first Blockbuster of 2014 since KICK is a Mega Blockbuster @ 210 cr and counting :P

Fan:

@Anujj: Kick and Jai Ho didn't have content, only star poeer. Singham returns has equally matchable star power as Kick and in addition a solid content.

Anuj:

@Fan : If that's the case then Singham Returns should go ahead and Dhoom 3 and become the highest grosser ever! Which it won't...calling Ajay D's(with due respect to him) star power at par with that Salman/Aamir/SRK/Hrithik is an absolute joke. H'es struggled all through his career and its just the lat 3-4 years that he's had tasted consistent success all thanks to Rohit Shetty who indeed is a superstar director and is well on his way to become the Manmohan Desai of our generation.

Anuj:

*go ahead OF Dhoom 3

guddu:

Had it been Salman Khan movie Meetu would have denounced it "Switch channels if it's in cable" or "Even the keen wait for DVD". However i do agree with your review to some extent, i found the film too predicate and routine. It's all usual bash up, punches, nerve chuckles and cars toppling each other in explosion muddled up together to make a film that allows our Hero alias "Singham" to manifest his upright honest benevolent cop. The chemistry between Kareena and Ajay was absolute boredom whilst Amol Gupte as a fraudulent baba was the worst villainous performance i ve seen in years. I don't understand why Rohit Shetty went on to include some much of media references in the film; perhaps he was taking a jibe with critics who usually thrash his work and therefore we had a "Barkha Dutt" type new reporter :P . That said the movie is palatable intermittently, the overall execution is a relentless sequence of events and actions that seems forced in the script. On the contrary it deserves a watch and will successful amass good revenues at the box office.

Fan:

One of the signs of a good director is his/her ability to reinvent himself/herself. To adapt, to surprise, to offer something different. And that is exactly what Rohit Shetty has done with Singham returns. Other than the cavalcade of identical SUVs cruising on dirt roads there is no other Shetty signature. Yet the film is entertaining and you don't miss the flying cars or flying bad men.

Singham, strengthened with the arrival of Daya, continues his job diligently from part one. Completely incorruptible, extremely human in treatment of innocent culprits, intense looks, and the proud Marathi manoos - Ajay Devgn as Signham is respect personified. Caught up in the dirty electioneering politics of India, fighting allegations of corrupt colleagues, and in between whatever time is available trying to escape marriage (once again) from a Jab We Met pre-interval part Kareena Kapoor.

The story is sufficiently alright to keep the goings on interesting - although it does dip a little bit post interval. Every actor fits quite well in the character they are supposed to portray. Mumbai is shown in some magnificent scenes - the director of photography certainly gets my full marks.

Rohit Shetty and Ajay Devgn combination is shaping up gradually to be a modern day Manmohan Desai and Amitabh Bachhan combination. Manmohan Desai touch is completed with a major portion of the film dedicated to Mahim Dargah's importance and scenes in that locality and community. Of course, they had no bearing (logical or otherwise) to the story - plugged in there in typical MD style for inter-religion integration.

Action sequences, for a Rohit Shetty film, are much calmed down - especially compared to gravity defying rib breaking stunts of Signham. Rohit, it would seem, wants to give a message that he is capable of doing less OTT films - and can be a real entertainer.

Ajay Devgn gives a stellar performance - continuation of what he did in part one.

The romantic track could have been avoided, or at least the lighter moments should have been reserved for later in the script just to break the tension building up (in case such breaks are required).

Amol Gupte's character is funky. Imagine showing a religious baba in private moments sporting a t-shirt with "Dope Chef" as text printed on it, and wearing shorts.

Blasts from past: We are given a glimpse of “Tavde” , assuming he is the same one from the first instalment (probably lost his job at the cycle company and is now a rickshaw driver). The "aata majhi satakli" moments were very few, and the "aali re aali" happened only once. Missed the equivalent of the BPL to the corrupt neta, every time I see it from the first part I feel extremely proud – never understood. Despite few repeats from the first part, the audience in the theatre where I saw the film were certainly into the film and story. I was surprised when they whistled at the aerial shot of the entire Mumbai police force marching on the streets to protest against the unnecessary interference of politicians in police affairs. Certainly did not expect whistles then, but then it goes to show how Rohit Shetty is able to catch the nerve of our paying audiences.

Humour is limited, as in part one. Although there was an unintended humorous moment [paragraph deleted because it gives away a scene of the film.]

I found the film being heavily influenced by the recently concluded Indian Lok Sabha elections and the media circus that accompanied the elections. Nothing against that, but worth it to mention it.

Finally, a note of disapproval. A respected and responsible film-maker should portray a good story whilst remaining within the boundaries of established law. Showing extra judicial killings, glorifying them, are not a sign of a responsible film-maker. It gives an extremely incorrect message to the gullible youth that it is cool to bump off people whom you believe are bad and evil. Let us not use films to promote anarchy in our society. Role of police is helping the executive arm of the government, and it should be respected in films too, and at least should not be glorified. Judiciary is best left to the courts, even with their known deficiencies.

Overall: Rohit Shetty has delivered a sure shot hit, at the same time moving away quite a bit from his typical style. He has come up with a reasonably interesting and contemporary plot to keep the youth engaged. On the other hand the story does not have sufficient twists and turns to give you the jaw dropping moments. Action sequences are more down to earth, car explosions are extremely limited, humour sprinkled here and there, songs are alright, Mumbai highlighted in an almost never before seen way. If you liked Singham, then you would certainly like the Return. Although tastes may vary on whether the original was better or the new one is better. Instead of comparing, just enjoy each of the Singhams.

Adam:

As stated in the review itself, this is a Rohit shetty film and this director is fast becoming one of the biggest directors of our age. He has become critic proof and has proven that he can make blockbusters with Ajay and SRK. His real test should be to make a movie with a new talent like Siddharth, Varun, Aditya, Shahid or Ranveer and see if he can create the same magic.
@Fan, I don't think anybody would bet with Ajay against, AK, SRK or SK. The Khans are just too big for him. He tried taking on SRK in 2012 with Son of Sardar and lost with majority of the theater owners going with SRK. On the other hand, he still has a small chance against Hrithik but Hrithik has age on his side whereas Ajay is close to 50. In my opinion, all these starts from the 90s who are approaching 50 will have a real tough time to maintain their looks and body in the next 4-5 years. Akshay and Ajay are already looking haggard, SRK is made up like a doll with lots of make up, AK and Salman are looking good so far. if Hrithik signs up with good directors, he should be ruling for the next 5-6 years. It's only a matter of time that big directors start making movies with the new talent.

Fan:

@Adam: Yash Raj used monopolistic practices to force Son of Sardar out of theatres. They used the Ek Tha Tiger release of 15/8 to force their other product down the throats of us poor hapless audiences. Only 25% of screens were available to SoS.

Despite that, with only 1/3 screens available, Son Of Sardar earned the same amount of money as the Yash Raj product. So don't let Son Of Sardar be a yardstick for star popularity.

As regards aging, I do agree that the Khans are aging, and with the exception of Amir who has successfully experimented with various different roles, the SRK and ilk will be finding it extremely difficult to compete against younger and better looking generation if they try to vye for same roles as they are currently doing.

Ehinome Okojie:

Yes we all know how films of AD (Ajay Devgn) sorry Ajay Devgun (Chingum master) like Himmatwala and Satyagraha broke all records in India and Overseas to become blockbusters reason no YRF to exploit them. So much fun.

ehinome okojie:

Chennai Express
Day 1 - 31.27 cr
Day 2 - 28.05 cr
Day 3 - 31.70 cr
Weekend - 91.02 cr
Singham Returns
Day 1 - 31.82 cr
Day 2 - 19.89 cr
Day 3 - 24.87 cr
Weekend - 75.52 cr

Reason for big day 1 for Singham Returns Avearage trailer of Happy (Crappy) New Year.

Ehinome Okojie:

Do not be misled
Son of Sardaar 1677 theatres - 105 cr
Jab Tak Hai Jaan 1702 theatres - 121 cr
3 Idiots 1149 theatres - 202 cr
Any one saying lack of screens is an important factor in underperformance of above two films is a misleader.

ehinome okojie:

Singham Returns targets 169cr at domestic box office. Just remembered Stallione likenened Singham to Rambo.

Ehinome Okojie:

Happy New Year with imdb rating of 3.6/10 will break all records in India, get ready for the washing machine dwelling losers known as Indiawaale gang this Diwali, 325cr club is waiting for crappy film.

Fan:

From the first looks of hny, it looks like a spaghetti mix of Dhoom2, and now you see me.

arun:

Superb movie except the unnecessary role of kareena kapoor and happy new year trailer in interval.

meetu:

@TimELiebe Good luck!

@Kishore It's funny, how you think I don't like Ajay Devgn and another reader thinks I rated it high because it is not a Salman Khan film. I have no clue how these conclusions came about.

@guddu and there's another reader who thinks I don't like Ajay Devgn. *sigh* What is one supposed to do?

Adam:

@Meetu - you mention that you have no bias but can you please tell me what it means when your rating states - "No rating applies to a Salman Khan movie! It's a Salman khan movie plus more!" This clearly shows that your ratings are pre-judged and biased based on who is acting in the movie. If stars depended on getting rave reviews from critics, they would all be struggling for survival like Naseeruddin shah, Om puri, Akshaye Khanna etc. No star can satisfy the critic as well as be commercially dependable. The only star that comes close is Aamir Khan and even he was ridiculed for Dhoom 3 by your fraternity. I am not a big fan of Salman khan but I do enjoy a good movie like Dabangg and kick. Hence, I am a huge fan of entertaining movies and not stars. Pls review a movie on content rather than the star!

Anuj:

However hard they try, the fact remains that Ajay and Akshay will always remain inferior to the Khans' and Hrithik in terms of film viewership and audience popularity. Singham Returns (170 cr approx.) and Rowdy Rathore (130 cr in 2012 viz appeox 160 cr today) is the best that these guys can deliver while the Khans' have already crossed 200+ comfortably with mediocre films carrying average word of mouth (CE,D3,Kick etc). Hrithik too came extremely close to 200 despite Krrish 3 too carrying an extremely mixed word of mouth amongst the audiences. While both RR and Singham carrying +ve word of mouth will end up falling well short of all these films. Mainly because, Ajay and Akshay (for whatever their fanbase) can never generate the hysteria generated by the generation of the 3 Khan superstars. The popularity ranking would always be 1.Salman 2.SRK/Aamir 3.Hrithik 4.Akshay/Ajay. Although Hrithik is a from a different generation but that unfortunately cannot be counted as his contemporaries are the likes of Abhishek,John and Abhay :P

Anuj:

@Ehinome : Back to your trolling, are you? SOS did 70% of its business at C centers with ticket prices of INR 50-70 while JTHJ did 70% of its business at multiplexes with ticket prices in the range of 120-150. As for Singham, its anyday a lot more watchable than the likes of 'Che'nnai Express,(B)Ra.1 and Don(key)-2 even if its got lower collections.

DjZedd:

So nice thing, Singham Return is so nice and entertaining movie. I like all movies of Ajay Devgan. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information.

Fan:

@Anuj: was waiting for you to reply to Ehinome. I knew it would be a smashing reply. Thanks.

Anuj:

If there's one bollywood actor who deserves the tag of a 'survivor', its got to be Ajay Devgan. Despite his below average looks,zero dancing ability and poor box office results for a large part of his career the guy has time and again delivered memorable performances etched in our memories, be it the passionate lover in HDDCS, the ruthless gangster in Company/Khakee, the honest no nonsense cop in Gangajal/Singham, the confused rebellious youth in Apaharan/Raajneeti or some silly buffonary in the Golmaal/SOS/Bol Bachchan's of the world, this guy has triumphed over all odds no doubt. SINGHAM RETURNS is indeed a celebration of the Lion hearted spirit of this survivor.

meetu:

@Adam when I say it's a Salman Khan film, it means it is a "typical" Salman Khan film. You know exactly what to expect. When I say it deviates from a typical Salman Khan film ,it means there is something different from his usual stuff. It is not a remark on him, it is about the kind of films he acts in.

Anuj:

The film has crashed in North India and Maharashtra is the only region giving outstanding footfall and figures. I guess for Indian audiences, its always been Entertainment over Content. No wonder films like Sarfarosh,Khakee and now Singham Returns have just been Hits/Semi hits while the Dabangg's,Ghajini's and CE's of the world have broken records. Add to that Devgan's limited and fragmented fan following (mainly in the Maharashtra/Goa belt) and you have an excellent commercial entertainer underperforming (despite being a HIT). Because unfortunately the sad fact of Bollywood box office right from the times of Dilip Kumar/Amitabh Bachchan to the times of the Khans',Kumars',Devgans' and Roshans' has been that stardom and entertainment has always taken precedence over content (at least in terms of box office numbers).

siddharth:

@Anuj i completely agree on this that the stardom does take precedence over content but it is also upto the star to give us some different options to watch with in commercial viability.
@Meetu you have given this movie higher rating then Holiday which i think too was decent movie.

nirmal:

@Meetu - Looking through your review and the comments that followed I really do feel I am missing something here. I watched this film last night and left the cinema thinking it was a total waste of my time. Each to his own but I really cannot understand what makes some people think Rohit Shetty is a good director. It is unfortunate that we weigh success by the amount of money a film makes. I want to suggest you have a rating called 'I wouldn't recommend this even to an enemy', and Singham Returns fits nicely into it. I am quite surprised you were suggesting there is a 'message' in the film.. Really Meetu?? And the focus is the story?? - you can't be serious!

The film seems to be attempting to do too many things at one time mostly taking cues from current and recent headline making events in India - it has a BJP styled political party with the development and youth agenda, an Asaram Bapu type baba, previously likeable but now irritating candle tributes, a Barkha Dutt lookalike journalist who interestingly is both a journalist and a newsreader, an attempt to please culturally diverse people because for the director that's the politically correct place to be, the list it just goes on. It is like several films woven together with the cheapest wool available in the market. There isn't anything new in the film either with the exception of 1000s of policemen walking with fresh brilliant-white vests on the streets of Mumbai but even that falls flat in the events that follow. I hope we all don't just say the film has mass appeal - that would be an insult to whoever fits in that category.

The sub-standard dialogues and the background music (noise rather!) make the experience even worse. And what is with the whole atha maajhi sataklee dialogue?? Not once in the film was the dialogue used aptly, not to mention the dialogue itself isn't punchy.. Is it just me or was there a bit too much of Marathi frequenting in a Hindi film?
The background score abruptly shifts from a slow message oriented song with the Darga in the background, to a very fast-paced poorly delivered Bhagavad Gita inspired chanting, and this pattern repeats again and again.

Performances -- well there is Ajay Devgan whose performance is emotionally crippled, an old looking Kareena Kapoor who is in her most irritable and loud character yet, and the others that don't deserve mention in my view. One exception being the dead constable's wife who for a couple of minutes does deliver some emotion.

The film is an awful remake of a not so good original. Either that or I had a bad day!

Thanks
Nirmal

Anuj:

@Nirmal:Singham Returns is not a remake. Get you facts right. Suriya's Singam-2 had a different plot altogether. In fact South producers are now queuing up to remake Singham Returns as an independent film altogether :

http://www.bangaloremirror.com/entertainment/south-masala/Singam-returns-without-Suriya/articleshow/36723423.cms

Nirmal:

@Anuj - I was referring to the franchise in general but I see your point. Sorry I got that wrong but I really hope the Southern film-makers don't remake this film.

ehinome okojie:

Third weekend likely to finish at < 2.3cr, what started as Singham returns will end as Chewing gum returns at the box office 140cr is its current target, Should we blame YRF for releasing Mardaani or are we waiting for Bang Bang.

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