Cinema

Roars to deceive

When the villain of the film, Jaykant Shikre (a superbly comic Prakash Raj), tells the hero, Bajirao Singham (Devgn looking angry and stoned all through), “Yeh, cheating hai” when he's outnumbered 1:500, you tend to agree with the villain.

Yes, boss. That is cheating. That is no way to treat a villain. And not when you're a fearless hero who has just finished giving a lecture to the entire police force about going and doing “mardonwala kaam” (a man's job) only minutes before that.

The climax of the film ruins all the good work done by the makers until then. It's unfortunate because two-thirds of the film is a fairly engaging, diluted yet faithful, technically improved adaptation of the Tamil mass entertainer directed by Hari.

The original wasn't the best film around but it had a few smarts, pace and fury, and worked despite its cheesy visual effects purely because of Suriya who made the corniest lines sound good. Devgn does exactly the opposite. He takes some half-decent lines (by Farhad and Sajid) and makes them sound cheesy.

Yet, it should be pointed out that the man's got piercing presence. Especially, when he's in a vest.

But it's Prakash Raj who steals the show from right under his nose, making the most of his lines by playing it completely camp and relishing his role as the new baddie in Bollytown.

Rohit Shetty grossly underestimates the role of the villain here. The ace kidnapper-turned-politician is pretty much harmless. It hasn't occurred to him to hit the hero hard where it hurts (Hello, what's the heroine there for?) or at least make the bad guy grab a school kid when his life is in danger, more so when he DOES have a gun in hand and a whole bunch of kids to pick from.

As a result, we never fear the villain despite all his dialoguebaazi about being the hunter because Shetty only makes Shikre seem as dangerous as Shikari Shambu.

The hero is equally stupid. Inspector Singham is not required to do any sort of thinking either. No Sherlock Holmes like deduction or scientific approach to investigation because Shetty wants to conserve Devgn's energies to jump around like a lion to chants of Singham that will ring in your ears for hours after you've left the hall. We cannot blame the villain for not kidnapping the heroine (Kajal Aggarwal wasted) in this version because the hero never seems to care enough for her.

While the original was just about a personal feud, this one has larger ambitions of being a meaningful ode to the police force heavily influenced by Rajkumar Santoshi's Khakee. Maybe Golmaal finally got its revenge on the action director because Rohit Shetty ends up making you laugh (some intentionally and a lot unintentionally, especially with the silly subtext of suggesting that the police department should become the new Omerta-enforcing-mafia in town) in the climax when he should be sticking to the basic promise of the action film.

Offer stunts. Blow up cars. Beat up guys. Imagine an action film that promises unbelievable action choreography that ends without any dishoom dishoom whatsoever in the climax.

It's the biggest cheat in the history of Hindi action films. It's not even an interesting twist. Like Shikre said, it's just cheating. No fighting.

Why Singham? Ran out of ‘dumm'? Or ‘faqt' budget, umm?

Yes, ‘faqt' apparently is a Marathi word that means ‘only'. Even the Censors passed it because the makers insisted that they wanted Devgn to say: “Jisme hai Dumm, faqt Bajirao Singham” (Who has the guts, only Bajirao Singham). Yes, the writing in this film is that juvenile. Not to forget, twisted.

Singham

Genre: Action

Director: Rohit Shetty

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Prakash Raj, Kajal Aggarwal

Storyline: An honest Inspector from a remote village is transferred to the big bad city for messing with ace kidnapper-villain

Bottomline: Singham, if you are an action film, be an action film. Don't try to be police drama if it ends up looking like comedy.



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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 7:24:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/roars-to-deceive/article2287680.ece

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