True Review

True Review: Singham Returns

True Review: Singham Returns

by Niharika Puri August 15 2014, 1:05 pm Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 21 secs

Critics Rating: 2 Star*

Cast: Ajay Devgan, Kareena Kapoor, Dayanand Chandrashekhar Shetty, Anupam Kher, Amole Gupte

Direction: Rohit Shetty.

Produced: Reliance Entertainment, Ajay Devgan, Rohit Shetty

Genre: Action.

Duration: 2.38 Min

Rohit Shetty and Team share the credit for this explosive (strictly literal sense) cop drama. It is a good thing, since we know now that the entire crew acknowledges joint participation for an exhausting, dog-eared saga of injustice and revenge which is likely to continue in a vicious circle of crime and sequels.

The action now shifts from Goa to Mumbai, the scale from the prequel’s ‘dhamaal’ to the follow-up’s ‘dhamaakaas’. We are told in the opening titles and establishing shots of Maximum City that the metropolis is home to 1.84 crore citizens with only 47,000 police officers to safeguard them.

But this little statistic is of little consequence in a film where the police officers are bestowed with rippling muscles, almost unlimited ammunition, near-death escapes that would make a cat cherish its nine lives and a unanimous desire to take action when it counts. Krrish may be our country’s first superhero but Rohit Shetty has conceptualised his very own brand of Avengers. It is what the police in this film do… avenge.

All at DCP Bajirao Singham’s command (Ajay Devgn), a cop so self-righteous, he could make holy water want to gush into a water filter first. “Jo policewaale bahar se jitne correct hote hain, andar se utni hi corrupt hote hain,” is exactly the kind of dialogue that sends the trigger-happy and slappy-go-lucky cop into ‘satakli’ mode.

His opening threats and bash-ups would realistically have had charges of police brutality and suspension on his record, but because he is the hero, it is hailed and looked upon as a messianic way of protecting the people. Singham is no good at keeping the deaths in his custody to a minimum, but that black mark in his record is never mentioned.

If Prakash Raj went overboard in the first film, there is the deadly combination of Amol Gupte and Zakir Hussain to face up to in this one. While Zakir Hussain is still palatable as a conniving politician (God knows you need one of those in most action films), Amol Gupte is given quite a brief to play Babaji, the sleazy Godman who is flanked by firangs as his disciples. He is so lechy while addressing the aggrieved; it’s a miracle nobody has caught on to his nefarious deeds.

The heroine is not less unpleasant. Avani Kamat (Kareena Kapoor Khan) is a loud, gluttonous ‘Lady Singham’ substitute to a more demure Kavya Bhonsle (Kajal Aggarwal), who is probably relegated to an alternate universe since the story seems to start afresh with no prior references to past events. There are cringe-worthy moments of Avani bashing a skinny journalist (body types still constitute a part of humour) and a juvenile subplot of jealousy that adds needlessly to the running time.

Sure, the film has plenty of gun fights, destruction, exploding cars and general mayhem but that is more reminiscent of the earlier film than a reinventing of a tattered formula and sequences.

There is enough moral preaching, one-dimensional characters (policemen? GOOD. Politicians? BAD) and slow motion bits of Singham walking to numb the mind. It could make an effective drinking game to down a shot every time our hero walks towards the camera with his khaki coterie following a respectful distance behind.

Singham Returns may have been made on a much larger scale than the first film, but it lacks the heart of its predecessor. With contrived moments, a capitalization on the common man’s fury and an actual scene where getting shot in the buttocks is played for laughs, this film strives for mass appeal but comes across as a stale thaali instead. It could be lapped up by intended audience, but surely the more movie-weary among us are longing for change.

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