A mass entertainer

Taran Adarsh
A   number of storytellers seek inspiration from the masala movies attempted in the 1970s and 1980s. An era that witnessed the emergence of the angry young man. An era when storytellers such as Vijay Anand, Manmohan Desai, Prakash Mehra, Ramesh Sippy, Yash Chopra, Subhash Ghai and other reputable names transported the single screen audience [there were no multiplexes then; just ‘Balcony’ and ‘Stalls’ in cinemas] to a world of make believe. An era that gave us a string of unforgettable entertainers.
No wonder, a number of present-day film-makers borrow/seek inspiration from films of yore… a couple of directors even going to the extent of remaking those all-time classics.
Rohit Shetty’s SINGHAM — his best effort to date, in my opinion — was a forceful blast from the past. A film that faithfully followed the rules of entertainment to the T. A remake, the first part brought back memories of the classics that were attempted by our peers. SINGHAM emerged a solid hit for varied reasons: high-voltage drama, raw action, dialogue-baazi during the confrontations and of course, power-packed performances by Ajay Devgn and Prakash Raj that elicited wolf-whistles. Quite obviously, the expectations from SINGHAM RETURNS, which brings the unbeatable combo of Ajay and Rohit Shetty together, are gargantuan.
SINGHAM RETURNS is dissimilar when you draw parallels with the first part — there’s no connect between the two films, except, of course, Bajirao Singham. In SINGHAM, Singham took on the powerful politician [Prakash Raj], while the second installment throws light on the upright cop’s crusade against corrupt politicians, including an influential Swamiji [Amole Gupte]. Much like the first installment, the combat is amongst equals yet again, with the protagonist and the antagonist going all out to knock each other down.
SINGHAM RETURNS reflects the times we are living in. Scams, frauds, corruption, misuse of power by the high and mighty… much like the entertainers of yore, SINGHAM RETURNS provides a voice to the common man and you root for the diligent cop as he wages a war against the crooks. Sure, it’s a familiar terrain for moviegoers, since we have experienced such face offs in countless films, but what matters ultimately is how persuasive, ambitious and imaginative it appears, despite the conventional constraints. Both, Ajay and Rohit dive into the film with earnestness and conviction, relishing every moment and deliver a knock out entertainer.
Here’s the plotline: The courageous Bajirao Singham [Ajay Devgn] now returns to Mumbai. The story takes off when an officer from Singham’s squad [Ganesh Yadav] is found dead, holding an enormous sum of money and charged with being corrupt. Singham begins his quest to trace the mystery behind it.
Known for escapist entertainers like the GOLMAAL series, ALL THE BEST, BOL BACHCHAN and CHENNAI EXPRESS, Rohit does an about turn with the SINGHAM franchise. Besides, he and screenplay writer Yunus Sajawal add a dash of realism to reinvent the formula, but the focal point remains the same: Entertainment. Expect a deafening applause when Singham stages an entry or when he gets into a war of words with the Swamiji or when he exchanges blows with his bare fists or when the officers march to Swamiji’s office in the climax.
However, there are loopholes you cannot overlook. Much like the first part [SINGHAM], the romantic scenes just don’t cut ice and appear forced in the narrative. In fact, the story stagnates when the songs are incorporated to make the romance factor work. The film could’ve done without songs actually. Also, the action pieces are too lengthy at times and could’ve been crisper. Additionally, the soundtrack, which, despite a couple of reputed names associated with it, doesn’t linger in your memory, including Yo Yo Honey Singh’s ‘Aata Majhi Satakli’.
Sajid-Farhad adorn the sequences with seeti-maar dialogue that are sure to be an instant hit with audiences, especially during the high-voltage dramatic sequences. Dudley’s cinematography is top notch, while the action sequences are raw and gritty.
Although Ajay’s body of work includes several memorable characters and films, the character of Bajirao Singham does optimal justice to his personality, acting skills and star charisma. Expectedly, the actor delivers a towering performance, grabbing your attention the moment he enters the story. He packs a solid punch in a role that seems tailor-made for him, a character that will remain synonymous with his name. You’ve to give it to Kareena for being able to hold her own effectively, despite Ajay being the showstopper. She’s lively and though she goes over the top occasionally, the masses will like her loud character.
There’s tremendous curiosity for Singham’s adversary this time. In fact, it must’ve been a challenge for Rohit to make the opponent as commanding as the one in the previous film [Jaikant Shikre]. Amole Gupte as Swamiji, the antagonist, does a marvelous job. Anupam Kher is extraordinary. He slides into his part most effortlessly. Mahesh Manjrekar is subdued, but effective.
Zakir Hussain hits the bull’s eye yet again. Sharat Saxena is in fine form. Dayanand Shetty infuses life into his part. He’s first-rate! The supporting cast — Ganesh Yadav, Govind Namdev, Pankaj Tripathi, Deepraj Rana, Sameer Dharmadhikari, Vineet Sharma — do justice to their respective characters. Ashwini Kalsekar is excellent.
On the whole, SINGHAM RETURNS is a complete mass entertainer with power-packed drama, hi-intensity dialogue and towering performances as its aces. The brand value attached to it coupled with a long weekend will help the film reap a harvest and rule the box-office in days to come. A sure-shot WINNER!


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