Singham review

Movie Reviews
22 July 2011

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Kajal Agarwal, Prakash Raj, Ashok Saraf, Sachin Khedekar, Sonali Kulkarni

Directed by Rohit Shetty

Rating: **

Many will be quick to point out the similarities between 'Singham' and the numerous air-headed Salman Khan blockbusters. But low-gravity action, punches that propel bodies into mid-air ballets and cars walking on two feet, make it obvious: 'Singham' is a remake of a Tamil film (Singam) and is directed by Rohit Shetty (who is obsessed with blowing up cars in his films). And one has to be a bit lenient with remakes as they are like miniature models of famous monuments. If your little 'Leaning Tower of Pisa' is chiseled too acute, live with it, it's just a souvenir, right?

The film is about a humble village cop, Bajirao Singham (Ajay Devgn) who enforces law like a preschool moral science teacher. All accused and convicts are let off with a warning, as they're usually his friends and/or belong to the good ol' gaaon ki mitti, which is later distinguished from shehar ki dhul through a clichéd reference.

Our docile Singham also has a sanki (Marathi for 'retarded') side that surfaces on encountering 'out-of-gaaon' outlaws. This is an elaborate affair involving gnashing of teeth, clenching of fists and is welcomed with double bass dhols beating to the title anthem, 'Singham, Singham' (can be comfortably replaced with 'chewing gum..').

Singham also flexes his perfectly sculpted body to slap-whack-smash goons who try to get fresh with Kavya (Kajal Agarwal), a family friend, who plays quite 'easy to get' and swiftly falls in love and establishes herself as the female lead.

But Singham's turning point is when he meddles with certified politician cum criminal, Jaykant Shikre (Prakash Raj), who terrifies very little, amuses a lot and loves to do the Cha-cha-cha with just his thumb. The action moves to Goa as Jaykant gets Singham transferred and conveniently enough, his lady-love, Kavya, happens to be based out of the beach state as well. Jaykant's one-liners and silly pranks have Singham flustered enough to almost break down. Naturally, like every self-respecting action hero, Singham gets into his crouching 'bandar' mode and lets his fists deliver his remaining dialogues.

The film's assumption that mispronunciation is funny makes us endure words like honest (with a loud 'h'), clean cheet (clean chit), noun-saans (nonsense) and sooocide (suicide). The dialogues are spouted with immense enthusiasm but the words defuse the intensity and make them seem trivial.

Devgn does a fair job and conveys sufficient conviction and humility through his character. Kajal Agarwal makes an unobjectionable debut and her eyes would surely inspire a few compliments. Being pitched as a clean cut action film, the fights sequences could be credited as Rajinikanth-meets-Salman-Khan-meets-Red-Bull-man.

The film's music won't be listed for the Grammys but the choreographers have surely harboured a terrible case of itching to come up with the dual-handed-scratching dance move for Devgn. With little practical utility, mastering this dance move could help chefs shape two Dim sums at the same time.

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