Dabangg 2: A visual treat with no soul

Published: December 22, 2012
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Salman and Sonakshi enthrall audience with onscreen chemistry. DESIGN: JAMAL KURSHID

Salman and Sonakshi enthrall audience with onscreen chemistry. DESIGN: JAMAL KURSHID

Chulbul Pandey is undeniably Bollywood’s version of Rajnikanth; he has the power to fling people around with his pinky finger, his belt dances on its own when he attempts a pelvic thrust, and his driving force is usually a woman.

Bollywood has yet to find a character as visually interesting as Pandey, the heroic cop with a moustache, which explains why producing a sequel for Dabangg is a daunting task.

In Dabangg2, the sets are bigger and better; the cinematography and choreography is ravishing, and the melodious tunes keep you glued to your seats — but what’s missing is the soul of Dabangg.

Chulbul (Salman Khan) is now living with his wife Rajjo Pandey (Sonakshi Sinha), along with father Pandey Jee (Vinod Khanna) and Makhan Chand Pandey (Arbaaz Khan) in a happy household. All is well until the biggest thug in Kanpur, Bacha Singh, comes his way. Singh poses a threat to the town and Chulbul’s family but how he handles the villain is for you to watch on the big screen.

Weak script

Magnanimous characters like Chulbul Pandey deserve a better script and above all, finesse in the plot. It is a failure on Bollywood’s end that a big film like Dabangg2 has lost its charm, simply because the producers don’t want to take risks. They rely on what has ‘worked’ in the past rather than experimenting with new ideas. This conventional approach is apparent in Dabangg2, making its plot uninteresting despite all the glitz, glamour and exaggerated action sequences.

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Post-marriage love story

The one-liners, and bad ass hero antics fail unfortunately but what draws in the viewer is the post-marriage love life of Chulbul and Rajjo. The chemistry is incredibly powerful and simply beautiful, and takes the sequel a step ahead of the first franchise in this regard. Interestingly enough, Chulbul has now developed into a mature husband and Rajjo is shown as a tough woman who is supportive . Unlike similar franchises like Munna Bhai MBBS, Dabangg2’s directorial team did not introduce a new romantic plot in the film because that would deviate from the main story. Surprisingly, despite the weight gain, Sonakshi Sinha looks better than before and played the part of Chulbul’s wife to perfection. All the extra pounds that she piled on for the sequel worked wonders for her. The credit for all the refinement in the characters goes to none other than the director Arbaaz Khan. He has definitely taken the film to the next level in terms of production value and characters.

Product placement overload

One common thread that the film retains from the original is the obvious product placements. In the first movie, the use of Zandu Balm (pronounced jhando balm), in the song Munni Badnaam, landed producers into a legal mess. This time around, they have placed product references overtly and excessively. The overdose of product placement often takes away from the charm and makes the film look more like comic scenes for advertisements. The following are just a couple of examples: A gluttonous cop eats junk food throughout the day, offering Hajmoola to Chulbul and talks about its advantages. In another scene, Chulbul buys a new cell phone for his father and calls it by the name of the company that made it, describing all the features. These are just a few examples of a film that is filled with such non-subliminal product placements; in this overkill, an item song titled Fevicol Se seems quite subtle.

Verdict

Dabangg2 is not the perfect sequel to a film like Dabangg, but Salman Khan fans should definitely not miss out!

Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • Abbas Khan
    Dec 23, 2012 - 11:04AM

    The trend of sequals in Bollywood isn’t creating much better content compared to Hollywood.

    Then again, who am I to judge Indian movies. I mean I tried to watch Golmaal 3 (after hearing they spent crores on it) but i almost puked with the low-grade not-funny-at-all attempt at jokes in first 30 mins. Amazes me how these guys still make money with that low grade stuff.

    Same goes for Rowdy Rathore, watched like first 30mins. My IQ immediately went down by 40 points and had to quit half way.

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  • prasant nair
    Dec 23, 2012 - 1:35PM

    Even Ra.one earned around 200 cr…. people still make fun of that film… nobody liked the above films – heavy publicity attracted public and money on initial days… once they saw these movies – everybody were abusing the makers and actors for cheating them with flop films….. dont get misleaded by boxofficeindia figures……. big actors pump their own money to show inflated collections ….our team has already found out this………dabangg 2 earned only rs 8 cr in real first day…. the makers had injected their money to show it as rs 21 cr….. jthj had earned only rs 103 cr net total and talaash…..mere rs 43 cr total…

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