Dabangg 3 Movie Review: Quite a kaam-chalau Chulbul
You knew exactly what you were walking into a Prabhu Deva picture, mating with a Salman Khan movie, carrying forward a cop-comedy franchise.
Director: Prabhu Deva
Cast: Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Saiee Manjrekar, Kichcha Sudeepa, Warina Hussain, Mahesh Manjrekar
Of course, there's no point intellectualising, analyzing, mentally masturbating over a movie that makes no bones about its severely lowbrow, literally below-the-belt purpose. Right from the first sequence, where a guy dips his hand into another fellow's torn trouser-pocket, and wonders aloud, "What are these gulab jamuns?" Excuse me?
You're excused. Because you knew exactly what you were walking into—a Prabhudeva picture, mating with a Salman movie, carrying forward a cop-comedy franchise, that seemed so uniquely fresh off the boat, when it first docked in theatres, as Abhinav Kashyap's Dabangg in 2010.
What's changed since? That this is the third part, of course. Part bulbula (boiling with anger), part chulbula (supremely naughty), parody of a police officer, Chulbul Pandey, is the same, of course. But we've had Ranveer Singh in a similar role as Rohit Shetty's Simmba show how it can be done better, still.
There's also Shetty's Singham cop-franchise, that began in 2011, after Dabangg, and Shetty's created a cinematic universe out of it, following a similar trajectory. How do you make Dabangg different then?
Only one person can tell. And that's super-star Salman Khan himself, who's come onboard the franchise as not just Chulbul Pandey, but as the credited story and screenplay writer as well. Which is not the first time, by the way—the ideas of films Baaghi (1990) and Chandra Mukhi (1993) were his, and he took story credit for Veer (2010) as well.
So what does he have in mind for his audience (since he knows his lot more than anyone else)? He chooses to travel back in time at age 53, and romance a girl who's probably 18/19 (Saiee Manjrekar), tracing the life-story of Inspector Chulbul, before he became one—including adopting the name Chulbul, or using the back of his collar as hanger for his dark glasses!
Sounds intriguing? Hell yeah. The lead character is a super-hero anyway. Why should his origins' story not play out like one? What's important is how you fill the space in between. Oh that's easy too—a bunch of stunningly choreographed set pieces will do just fine; in ways that the original Dabangg was, and wasn't.
Watch the trailer of Dabangg 3 below:
Dabangg was in fact a fine mix of realism within unabashed escapism, set in the badlands of Uttar Pradesh, indisputably India's Wild West—navigating dusty, rugged interiors, with rustic comedy, set to background score comprising the flute, slide and the Spanish guitar, and songs that stayed with you.
Sure the track Habibi Ke Naina sounds like Tere Mast Mast Do Nain; and there's Munna instead of Munni Badnaam Hui. The humour works in parts too. The antagonist (Kichcha Sudeepa) is a super-villain of sorts. But you know he's no UP-ite, neither are the items around him—barring Chulbul and Makkhi (Arbaaz Khan), still in character.
At some point you begin to watch a picture simply descending into a formula. That said, Salman, for his die-hard fans in particular, seems to be giving it his all, full-on, and with full power—bulked up like a hulk, matching dance steps with his director Prabhudeva, no less; and cracking you up, when the scene arises.
At close to 170 minutes, with the film still algorithmically alternating between song, action, action, song, song, comedy, action, song... It is a bit of a stretch. A Dabangg ka dahi, if you may. But that's what I thought. Can't, and shouldn't, ever speak for millions, who'll show up. As they should. And they will!
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