Dabangg 2

Lazy film-making at its best

Pic source: Wikipedia

I watched Dabangg 2 in the heart of Manhattan at a multiplex in Times Square, and did not expect the audience response I witnessed… people whistled, clapped and shouted Salman Khan’s name as the opening credits rolled with visuals from the first film (Dabangg, 2010). That’s the amazing star-power of the film’s lead actor who has the same effect on the desi audience as Edward Cullen on teenage (and slightly older) girls. The cheering returned with the first fight sequence, with the song where Malaika Arora Khan aka ‘Munni’ appears and then later with Kareena Kapoor’sFavicol’ (sic) item song. It seems everyone enjoyed the film or the whole ritual of watching a Salman flick and to be honest, I did too, but films like these are like doing a shot of tequila… you do it because everyone in the party is doing one and then you forget about it. I know, there’s little sense in that comparison but there’s little sense in cinema like the Dabangg franchise.

Dabangg 2 is nothing but an average copy of the much smarter first film. Right after the first fight sequence you know the director, Arbaaz Khan along with the writer, Dilip Shukla, are lazy filmmakers. There is nothing in the film that you haven’t seen before. Abhinav Kashyap, the director of the first film presented it as a cheesy action-comedy-romance that also surprised you at many levels. In this one, there are no clever lines (remember, “thappad se darr nahi lagta saheb, pyaar se lagta hai”) and even the action pales in comparison. It is Salman porn at best and the filmmakers are simply cashing in on that. I don’t have anything to say about the performances by Sonakshi Sinha, Arbaaz Khan, Vinod KhannaPrakash Raj and Deepak Dobriyal, as other characters really don’t matter in this film.

While I enjoyed the experience of watching this film, I wonder if I will ever look back at it as a film-buff. It fits into the convenient category created by Bollywood called, “mindless cinema” and the blame is on the audience. Yes, we may be enjoying this stuff today but we do deserve something better from our filmmakers who have become incredibly lazy and only care about the box office. Movies like Dabangg 2 are like Bollywood’s American Pie and Final Destination series and let’s not let them define what Indian cinema is all about. Come on Bollywood filmmakers, we’ll tolerate and many times enjoy these mindless flicks, but bring out the stuff that makes us think, makes us cry and makes us fall in love again with your art.

 

Tanu Weds Manu

 

Bhai mazaa nahin aaya ji…

Pic: Viacom 18; source: Wikipedia

Hello ji, I am Manu Sharma (R. Madhavan) … I am a London returned doctor, looking for a bride in India. I land in Delhi and my parents directly take me to Kanpur to meet a girl and her family. The girl is sloshed and passes out when we meet but I am so desperate that I fall in love with her instantly. The girl’s name is Tanu ji… she is pretty, has collagen injected pout, drinks vodka or rum neat, smokes up and abuses in our mother tongue. I like her a lot as she reminds me of what I do not possess – a spine.

Hello ji, I am Tanu Trivedi (Kangana Ranaut)… I am a Delhi University graduate and think that I am the god’s gift to mankind. Please don’t mind the way I talk as I still do not have a diction coach. I love a contractor boy from Lucknow but flirting-shlirting with bakras like Sharma ji aka Manu ji is good for my ego. He seems like a little lost puppy, wagging his tail and following me in the hope of some affection; no harm in playing along, you see.

Director, Anand L. Rai’sTanu weds Manu’ doesn’t have a path breaking story-line but a safe plot which usually works for a rom-com. But what’s required is an exciting screenplay (story by Himanshu Sharma) and crackling chemistry between the lead pair; think ‘500 Days of Summer’ or closer home, ‘Jab We Met’… but ‘Tanu weds Manu’ falters on both. Of course, there are mandatory wedding in Punjab scenes and some genuinely funny moments but not enough to sustain the film. The first half is silly but interesting; the interval moment holds a big surprise but after that it’s a downward journey as Madhavan’s character starts becoming a door mat and Kangana gets more irritating.

In such films, a lot depends on the lead actors’ charm. Kangana looked promising in the promos but her diction fails her again as she sounds completely unconvincing. In fact, you end up laughing at the way she says her lines than what she says. Madhavan is nice in the first half but his character becomes so weak in the second half that you stop feeling sad for him. The supporting cast is more interesting with Deepak Dobriyal as Manu’s best friend Pappi; this guy steals the show whenever he comes on screen. Eijaz Khan plays Jassi, Manu’s Sardarji friend very well and Swara Bhaskar as Payal, Tanu’s childhood friend has more charm and talent than the leading lady. Jimmy Shergill is good in his few scenes but his character isn’t well written; Ravi Kissen is wasted in his two bit role.

Madhavan’s stylist should take note and give him clothes that do not highlight his… eh… man breasts! Kangana looks nice in some parts and scary in some with her bee-stung pout; her wedding look in the climax is ghastly. The film’s soundtrack (music, Krsna; lyrics, Rajshekhar) has some nice Punjabi songs like ‘Sadi Gali’ (RDB) and ‘Jugni’ (Mika); and some really bad ones like ‘Mannu Bhaiyya’. Cinematography by Chirantan Das is good and a little bit of brutal editing (Hemal Kothari) in the second half would have helped the film a lot.

Overall ‘Tanu weds Manu’ is just about average and can be watched once. Tip: go in a large group and you’d enjoy it more… preferably after downing Kwaarter Baawttle Vodka* like Tanu ji.

My rating: ** ½ Two and a half stars on five

*Kwaarter Baawttle Vodka – borrowed from Anna Vetticad’s Tweets and Blog.