Singham: Movie Review

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Singham: Movie Review


Picture this...a bunch of cops openly kick the shit out of a high-profile politician (perhaps the film takes the term 'kick-ass' entertainment a little too literally). The honest police protagonist gives an extensive emotional speech on how the entire police force has gone corrupt, which instantly awakens the conscience of cops from across the state including the DGP, all of whom come to Singham's immediate rescue. A head constable on the brink of retirement mouths a monologue on how a police officer is supposed to be saviour of the society yet remains underpaid than janitor.

In a country already mired with multiple controversial corruption scams, where an average Indian remains a passive spectator, the implausible heroism of Singham attempts to exploit the suppressed sentimentality of the audience.

Bajirao Singham (Ajay Devgn) is an honest sub-inspector in his village with practically no case registered at his police station, since he solves most of them amicably. With a heart of gold, chest of steel and fists of iron, he qualifies as the elementary hero material. He just needs an excuse to flex his muscles and clench his claws, turning a one-man army at the drop of a hat, to battle an entire battalion of zombie-looking goons. The actual story initiates by the end of the first half when he clashes with an extortionist-cum-aspiring politician Jaykant Shikre (Prakash Raj) and a game of one-upmanship begins between the two.

An aftermath of the success of larger-than-life actioners like Wanted and Dabangg , Singham (officially remade from last year's Tamil hit by the same name starring Suriya) is clearly devised as an out-an-out action flick for the original action hero Ajay Devgn. The focus is clearly on action and perhaps Rohit Shetty's definition of full-blown action is his trademark blowing-up-cars phenomena. Jai Singh Nijjar's action direction involving mortal combats and car chases is quite unimaginative on that front and it's only thanks to Ajay Devgn's intensity and physical authenticity that the fight sequences look kind of convincing.

The obligatory romance track involving Kajal Aggarwal is predictably boring. The heroine fulfils the prerequisites for an action film where she has to get molested once to give the hero a chance to show his heroism. A couple of redundant love songs later, love is hurriedly established between the couple. The idea of casting real Marathi actors doesn't help much, since most of them are relegated to the backseat. And both Ajay Devgn and Prakash Raj who take the lead, struggle in forced Marathi dialect and accent.

Singham cashes in on the current scarcity of the once-popular hardcore action movie genre, which never relied much on the story but more on the constant clash between the hero and the villain. And like its genre, the film also brings back the vicious villain that has presently gone missing in most films. It's the revival of the age-old formula! So it's left up to Prakash Raj to firm up the film as a worthy opponent to the hero. And though the actor hams hysterically and repeats exactly the same act and character that he played in recent films like Wanted, Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap or the original Tamil Singam , he is perhaps the only villain with an intentional humourous streak to him, which he brings out effectively every time in the climax. His unusual comic confrontation with the cops in the climax makes you laugh more than Rohit Shetty's entire Golmaal series.

But beyond that, this film is not only devoid of a believable screenplay but it also lacks wit and humour. Even Ashok Saraf's comic track seems forced for the effect. The film runs at 'breakneck' speed and attempts to overtake all loose ends coming out of its larger-than-life format. While the narrative isn't much inventive, the constant clash between the hero and the villain in the second half don't let you lose attention. And unlike most action films where the hero gains authority only towards the end, here he is poised with power through the runtime, thereby having a mass-appeal connect pretty early in the plot.

Ajay Devgn effortlessly revives his action-hero image and looks quite convincing in his role. Kajal Aggarwal doesn't get much scope other than showcasing a constant smirk. Sachin Khedekar hams. Ashok Saraf is his usual self. Sonali Kulkarni is wasted. Ashok Samarth has a commanding presence as the villain's sidekick. Prakash Raj is perhaps the only villain who would be credited for his amazing comic timing.

Ajay Devgn clenching his fists like a lion kind of reminds Mithun Chakravarthy doing a similar step, couple of decades back in a B-grader called Cheetah . Singham isn't much different from that film either. If an exaggerated action film still excites you, then go Sing-ham!

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