Film: Singham (U/A)
Director: Rohit Shetty
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Kajal Aggarwal, Prakash Raj, Sonali Kulkarni
Being a Goan, I often hear about the corrupt politicians inGoaand their bizarre ego-triggered actions. I often hear about the “white” tourists and the drug trade. Relatives who still live in Goa speak of corruption, but then who doesn’t inIndia? With some scams exposed in almost every state, and others, to the tune of thousands of crores, being brought to light at the Centre, the lack of faith in police in general make a favourable climate for a cop movie.
Taking a movie that made waves down south and remaking it, only completes the equation for the cop movie formula.
We begin with the suicide of an honest cop (Sudhanshu Pandey), falsely implicated in a corruption case by a gunda parading as a businessman Jaykant Shikre (Raj) whose only “request” to his victims is — Kuch bhi karneka mera ego hurt nai karneka. Suddenly, a rather muscular Devgn (no it is not a typo, he has dropped the A from his last name) emerges from a river, and does some kind of a funny dance that is supposed to tell us he is a tagda, awe-inspiring cop with a soft-heart. Bajirao Singham conducts business in Shivgad, much like a boss, doling out verdicts and punishment as he pleases. And when Jaykant Shikre encounters this Shivgad ka lion, all hell breaks loose because our man tramples all over Shikre’s ego. Within a week, Singham is transferred to Goa “city” and Shikre starts his abhiyaan against the honest cop. A lot of maaramaari, proxy Marathi gaalis, a generous helping of emotional drama and general nonsense ensues as our lion-hearted cop fights against the corruption in the system. Of course, there is a love interest —Kavyaa (Aggarwal) who falls for Singham as he fights off goons to restore her dupatta.
The action, designed by Shetty himself, makes you want to giggle and at crucial points you can’t help but LOL at the gravity-defying moves the lion pulls off. The premise of the film is not new and hence some peppy dialogue could have done wonders. But we get corniest of corny dialogues and some random Marathi lines. Devgn happens to be the son-in-law of a veteran Marathi actress and his wife Kajol speaks excellent Marathi. The man could have taken a few lessons from his wife while preparing for the role. His Marathi lines are indecipherable and when he goes into his classic, stone-faced, enraged look to say “Jisme hai dum toh fakht Bajirao Singham,” you burst into peals of laughter.
The music by Ajay-Atul isn’t memorable which is surprising considering the duo has to their credit several versatile and memorable Marathi numbers. The title track with its Tutari and Dhol makes an impression and adds to the ethos of a larger-than-life Marathi cop, but later throughout the film, as the Tutari is paired with a lion’s roar as a background to Singham’s many fights, it leaves me cringing.
What saves the day for the film is Prakash Raj’s jhakaas reprise of the eccentric villain he played in last year’s Tamil version Singam. Raj goes mad with his role and has fun delivering cruel laughter and angry monologues spiced with his eccentric takiya kalaams, pulling off an effect that Shetty would have desired to create for his protagonist.
Rohit Shetty demonstrates his ability as a filmmaker of the comic genre as he manages to take an action-packed cop film and makes it into a shrill, gaudy and a mildly laughable flick. And the worst part is, he didn’t intend for it to be that way.
If you’re looking for an action film to entertain you this weekend, Singham isn’t that film. This wannabe Dabangg is at best a comic film but there are so many other options that could do the job much better. Give this one a miss.