Singham Returns review: A heavy-handed hunt

Published - August 15, 2014 06:23 pm IST - New Delhi

THE COMEBACK ACT Ajay Devgn and Kareena Kapoor in “Singham Returns”

THE COMEBACK ACT Ajay Devgn and Kareena Kapoor in “Singham Returns”

On the eve of Independence Day when the President showed his concern for Indian democracy getting noisy, one shared his anxiety for one was grappling with Singham on screen once again. Like our august institutions, our commercial cinema is also getting raucous and rambling. The director virtually stops the star in the tracks so that he can lecture and then indulge in something that he is not preaching. A couple of weeks back in Kick it was Salman Khan giving a discourse on respect for women before indulging in some skirt chasing. Here playing the custodian of law, Ajay Devgn takes the law in his hands when he faces pressure from the corrupt forces.

Genre: Drama/ Action Director: Rohit Shetty Cast: Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor, Amole Gupte, Zakir Hussain Bottomline: Singham returns with more shine than substance

A sequel ostensibly put together to sap the goodwill generated by a leonine officer, the intentions behind putting together Singham Returns appear variegated with greed. It goes against the basic ethic of the franchise and reflects in the patchy writing. Three years back when Singham had hit the screens it worked for its ingenuity to take on crime despite a manipulative tone.

Here the screenplay is inconsistent and the methods used to take on the political mafia are too generic to evoke interest. This time when the cop says that he is losing his mind you want to ask what for. Why can’t he cope with these jokers within the judicial process?

Fortunately, Rohit Shetty doesn’t expect his films to be taken too seriously otherwise it could become a benchmark for encounter killings for trigger happy officers. Thankfully, for him the novelty rests in creating opportunities to blow up more cars, explore new locations for stunts and take expansive aerial shots. If there was Tamil in Chennai Express , here Rohit makes liberal use of Marathi in dialogues and employs Mahim dargah as a symbol to portray the secular nature of Mumbai Police. This Manmohan Desai formula comes across as just another stunt to appease the galleries but might bring him the numbers that he aspires for.

As far as the conflict is concerned Yunus Sajawal’s screenplay is every elementary. He wants to make us believe that the politicians still don’t realise the power of the media and can blabber their way into the trap. It’s time screenplay writers come up with a new trick. Even the climax looks like a result of ‘vest-ed’ interest.

Set in Mumbai this time, Bajirao Singham is after black money. Spurred by an honest political mentor (Anupam Kher) and a principled chief minister (Mahesh Manjrekar), he takes on a wily godman (Amole Gupte) and his political protégé (Zakir Hussain). But black money is just an excuse to sound prescient. There is no attempt to dig into the issue or present a comprehensive picture. Does Singham crack up in front of the challenge? Not quite? Even after being hit by bullet, he doesn’t miss his swagger even for a second. When the star towers over the actor, Singham is reduced to a superhero. Rohit could easily have a backstory which could prove that Singham has feline blood!

The only time we find him tangible is when a slum woman takes him on the issue of morality versus hunger. There are pertinent points on the sacrifices made by the policemen so that we can have sound sleep but the way it is done in neither new nor refreshing. In the commercial space Khakee still remains a benchmark for depicting the plight of an honest officer in a corrupt system.

Amidst the tried and tested routine it is Amole Gupte who lights up the atmosphere as he nails the role of a corrupt godman. Ajay is not tested at all. He is repeating himself with a kind of brazenness that requires some real effort. Similarly, Kareena is expected to lend some humorous touch and it seems she has been briefed to bring her Geet template to Singham’s territory. She does the needful but like most of the sub-plots the romantic track remains just an item.

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