Dabanng 2: All brawn, no brain

If Abhinav Kashyap tried his best to keep things realistic before going all out loud and turning it into a spoof of a Rajni film, Arbaaz Khan, the director of Dabanng 2 has no pretensions of objectivity or sanity.

If he doesn’t celebrate his bhai, who will? Imagine the brother of the big bully going around school (or gym after dropping out) threatening other kids? “Don’t mess with me. My brother’s so strong he can beat up anyone.”

Dabanng 2 is the box office version of those claims.

This is a Salman Khan show and Arbaaz knows it. It requires its hero Chulbul Pandey to sport Aviator shades, beat up bad guys, romance his heroine, sing and dance with the item numbers and finally avenge a personal loss in the climax single-handedly, half naked.

After all, everyone remembers the shirt that famously disintegrated into tiny shreds during the climax of Dabanng as bhai flexed his muscles.

Why is it so important for Salman Khan to lose his shirt in every film?

Because superheroes are all about the costume. And bhai’s costume is all buff. Because he’s India’s biggest symbol of brawn over brain. Chulbul Pandey is an onscreen celebration of all things bhai — he might be binging away every night ( Fevicol Se replaces Munni Badnaam) but he’s good at heart. While other stars had pretensions of choosing the right scripts, bhai never for a night hurt his brain cells. He knew he was the script.

And the scripting and the sculpting of his masterpiece was done every day at the gym. The climax is just the excuse to show off the reason he’s still at the top — he works out. And he works hard.

He’s living proof that if you can look that good even a few years before 50 (Salman turns 47 this week), no mother will tell you “Beta, ladki nahin milegi. Jaldi shaadi kar le.” He’s dated beauty queens and dream girls all his life. It is pointless to analyse Dabanng 2 as pure cinema. Because it’s not. It’s bhai-porn for the guys who work overtime at the gym. It’s futile to dissect the screenplay. Because there is none. All lines are just variations of “I can beat you up/ Don’t mess with me.” For example (actual lines from the film): “Insure yourself.” “You will wish I didn’t get posted to this town.” “I will send you to God.”

You must admit, some of them are quite clever.

What’s funny, however, is the lazy pretense of trying to mask the blatant sexism and gender types in Dabanng 2. If Sonakshi Sinha’s appearances are all about performing wifely duties, Mahi Gill’s cameo (she plays the working woman who’s independent at heart, quite progressive in a regressive film you might think) is also about exactly that. “It’s all about keeping your husband happy, woman.”

Hence, it was quite a joke when Chulbul tells Rajjo: “You are not my slave.”

What does he do after they lose a baby? He simply gets her another one. And the film proudly states: “In as much time as it takes.”

Dabanng 2

Genre: Action

Director: Arbaaz Khan

Cast: Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Arbaaz Khan, Vinod Khanna, Prakash Raj

Storyline: Supercop Chulbul Pandey gets transferred to a new town controlled by another powerful villain and his brothers

Bottomline: More consistent in tone and treatment than the first part, this is a completely illogical guilty pleasure entertainer

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 3:50:40 AM |

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