Synopsis – Third installment of the Dabangg film series.
My Take – Over the course of years I have accepted a fact that there is no point intellectualizing, analyzing and mentally even considering the standards of a Salman Khan film, for his god-like fandom, will make sure his every film, even a genuine horror like Race 3, will make oodles of money at the box office.
However, there is no denying the fact that the Dabangg franchise gave us one of the most endearing versions of Salman Khan on screen in the form of Chulbul Pandey, a comical policeman who has no qualms about circumventing the law to serve the common people. His punch lines are legendary, and he is a character Salman Khan made his own.
However what makes this third installment special, other than the seven year gap, was that it reunites Salman Khan with director Prabudeva, who had last helmed him in the 2009 actioner Wanted, which effectively breathe fresh air into his dying career, and send him on a massively successful box office rampage over the last decade.
Unfortunately this time around their reunion has resulted in the one of worst films to release this year. Not that its predecessors were awards worthy films, but they had at least put a little effort into building on a character driven story amidst the typical masala pot boiler. But here, the goal is quite precise – purely entertain a chunk of Salman fans. Making this film a determinedly proud, stupid and a sad representative end for a decade of largely unwatchable cinema.
Taking place a few years after the events of the second film, the story follows Chulbul Pandey (Salman Khan), now an ACP, who spends his average day romancing his wife Rajjo (Sonakshi Sinha), troubling his younger brother Makkhi (Arbaaz Khan), who is also a cop now, all the while beating up and reforming goons. His life takes a turn when Chulbul and Makkhi end up busting a prostitution racket, leading them to its ring leader Bali Singh (Sudeep).
Unknown to everyone Chulbul and Bali share a violent past. Years ago, before joining the police, Chulbul was known as Dhakkad, had fallen in love and gotten engaged to Khushi (Saiee Manjrekar), a young girl pursuing medicine. But unknown to the couple she had also caught the attention of Bali, who was then an upcoming goon and was left enraged with their engagement.
Leading to a confrontation which ended up with Bali dropping Khushi from the edge of a cliff, leaving the naive do-gooder Dhakkad heartbroken, and transforming into the indestructible wisecracking inspector also known as Robinhood Panday. With a grudge so old and unwoven, Chulbul and Bali begin their battle of wits and fists.
Right from the first sequence, you knew exactly what you were walking into, a Prabhudeva directorial, mating with a Salman Khan film, carrying forward a cop-comedy franchise, that seemed so uniquely fresh off the boat, when it first docked in theaters, as the Abhinav Kashyap directed Dabangg in 2010. However, here it feels like a bunch of disparate ingredients hurriedly thrown together in a cooking pot. Running close to 160 minutes, the film just alternates between song, action and comedy, without ever fitting together, resulting in a film that is simple unpalatable.
It’s not that commercial masala entertainers can’t be critiqued and not each one of those necessarily have less creative quotient, as many other films belonging to same genre have been received well for being self-aware and for providing nonstop entertainment. This film on the other hand is of course illogical, but most importantly, boring. The film is just tone-deaf and hammy with no room for coherence as almost every character talk in fabricated sentences.
Prabhudeva’s first Hindi film as director, Wanted, was made at a time when the hyper-violent and over the top South cinema-influenced action film was still somewhat of a novelty for Bollywood. Over the course of the decade, it became the dominant Hindi action style, losing its uniqueness.
You can see all its dubious qualities here too, with absurd CGI, quick cutting to hide the star’s actual athletic abilities, women are there to be saved or sacrificed so the hero can better himself.
On a positive side, the Rajjo and Pandeyji’s romance, which has always been a highlight of the series, continues to be endearing, while Chulbul and Khushi’s love story despite being refreshing is short-lived.
Even the dialogue are a huge let-down, with generous use of proverbs, some apparently concocted, and rhyme, the worst example being Chulbul’s comment while rescuing the woman from being forced into prostitution. He tells the captors, Instead of sending to an institution, you are sending them into prostitution. Towards the end, the hero and the villain get into a ‘proverbial’ duel, where it is flaunted that when times a bad a man riding a camel can be bitten by a dog, that too a tiny Chihuahua.
Nevertheless this is a Bhai film and it caters only to his admirers who are too loyal to find anything repetitive in his films. They love to see him doing the same thing again and again. Even though they have watched him tear off his shirts and flaunt his abs multiple times, they still clamor for more. Forget gripping story line, cohesive narrative, taut script or great performance, just give them Salman Khan doing what he does best onscreen. Nothing else matters.
As far as performances goes, Salman Khan continues to exude a lot of energy and brings his constant swag to a character which has a massive fan base. Sonakshi Sinha doesn’t have much to here other than look pretty, which she does well. However, Sai Manjrekar makes a promising debut. Kannada superstar Kichcha Sudeep has always been an excellent actor, and here too in an underwritten role, he does his best.
In supporting roles, Arbaaz Khan, Pramod Khanna (brother of late Vinod Khanna), Dimple Kapadia and Rajesh Sharma are alright, while Warina Hussain charms in a cameo. On the whole, ‘Dabangg 3′ is a dated, dull and clichéd film made only to satisfy Salman Khan Fans.
Directed – Prabhu Deva
Rated – PG13
Run Time – 160 minutes