There was really no reason why I should have liked this film. Which is a big part of the reason why I loved it.
I had avoided it for ages because the idea of a film about a corrupt cop beating his way through life just did not appeal. When I finally watched it, I was delighted to find it was nothing like what I expected. It was a simple Sallu delight – a rollicking good fun flick. Everybody who is ever going to has already seen Dabangg so I’m not going to review the plot. Besides, the plot is beside the point. This movie is all about Salman having fun being Salman, and giving audiences something I hadn’t had in a while, an uncomplicated actioner.
Before watching it, I already I liked one thing about this film – Munni. For me, its “competition” in the item number stakes of the time, Sheila, had all the eroticism of someone shaking a dead fish, whereas Malaika truly sizzles in Munni. Sorry, Kat, your spark with Salman may have enlivened Ek Tha Tiger, but your Sheila is flat against this:
The fact that it’s Salman she’s sizzling for makes it even more saalacious, but that’s very much in keeping with why the film works. The story of estranged brothers fighting then reconciling maybe as old as Indian civilisation, but to see it played out by two brothers who were clearly enjoying themselves doing it was a blast.
Every good Hindi action film needs a good villain, and Sonu Sood as Chedi Singh delivered on that. Despite the fact that being the villain in a film like this is literally being on a hiding to nothing, he gives credible menace to the role, and his malice and threatening demeanour are critical to the plausibility of the brothers’ reconcilliation.
The other standout for me was Sonakshi. Her role was the ultimate non-entity, in keeping with the tradition of films like this, but she rose above its severe limitations and gave her character real personality. Her performance was a big part of the reason I was excited for Dabangg 2, and I look forward to seeing more of her, if she does films that fit my viewing profile.
The challenge of watching fifty movies in a year for fiftyfiftyme has involved some disappointment, and some tedium. To be so pleasantly surprised in the home straight was a delightful bonus. Thinking about this film makes me smile, not just because I like it so much, but because the fact that I like it was such an unexpected treat itself. I only rented Dabangg but I am definitely going to buy it, and on the off chance that there is someone in some remote corner of the Universe that has yet to see it, I say, do.