‘Dabangg 3’ review: The Salman Khan-starrer is three times too much

When the story of a film gets described in thus: ‘Third instalment of Dabangg series’, or is not even mentioned, in website after website, you are well prepared for how crucial a role the script and writing would play in the film. Dabangg 3 has a wisp of a story told in a tawdry, slipshod way. It depends entirely on the goodwill and popularity of the original and the star power of Salman Khan to sail through. The ride, however, remains choppy for the viewer.

The film is set in kitschy North Indian small town Tundla and goes back to crazy cop Chulbul Pandey’s (Salman Khan) past, to his romance with young Khushi (Saiee Manjrekar) that comes to a tragic end, all thanks to villain Bali (Kichcha Sudeep). So revenge has to follow.

Dabangg 3
  • Director: Prabhu Deva
  • Cast: Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Kichcha Sudeep, Saiee Manjrekar, Arbaaz Khan
  • Run time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Storyline: The film goes back to crazy cop Chulbul Pandey’s (Salman Khan) past, to his romance with young Khushi (Saiee Manjrekar) that comes to a tragic end, all thanks to villain Bali (Kichcha Sudeep). Revenge has to follow.

The film tries its best to provide a helping hand in launching young Manjrekar’s career but remains focused through and through on Khan. Dabangg is a milepost of sorts in his career, the film that made his brand of kitsch cool, turned him into the hero of not just the masses but the classes as well (“Hum class aur mass dono ke liye kaam karte hain”, he says in this film too), bridged the gap for him between the single screen audiences and those from the multiplexes. Now there is a deliberateness, in trying to woo the audience from the South with the dubbed versions and having Prabhu Deva for director and Sudeep stepping in as villain.

However, almost ten years down the line, the franchisee doesn’t seem to have any novelty, is feeling worn out and weak. Tiredness permeates especially in the Chulbul Pandey persona—be it in the swagger or the swinging of the hips, playing around with the glares or the jokey self-parodying. It feels like Khan is trying way too hard. Manjrekar has little to do other than look coy. Sonakshi Sinha does try to add some spunk to the proceedings as spitfire Rajjo but hardly has much screen time.

Forget all else there are no lines like, “Thappad se darr nahin lagta, pyaar se lagta hai” of the original to incite the audience to whistle, nor does the new version of the ‘Munni Badnaam’ item number ignite the screen. What you do have is a parade of some of the most hideous and unpleasant looking sidekicks and henchman, in the tradition of Ram Gopal Varma. It must have been a nightmare for the casting director to have bundled them together for the film.

There is talk of environment and Fit India and other such assorted causes, hardly felt, more for the sheer heck of it. The portrayal of old-fashioned masculinity makes way for seeming wokeness when it comes to women’s issues but remains nothing more than a discomfiting display of machismo and patriarchy. What do the random, needless references to rape and women empowerment add up to? I am still scratching my head. And slapping a woman, whatever be the provocation, can’t ever rise above being tasteless.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 8:22:18 AM |

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