My Review of DABANGG 2 (Hindi, 2012)
The first DABANGG became an instant cult classic, and Chulbul Panday instantly became one of the most lovable household characters in Indian cinema after Munnabhai. A large part of the first DABANGG worked because of timing. The film released at a time where the resurgence of masala films (with a southern twist) was just starting to take place with GHAJINI and WANTED both scoring bulls-eye at the box-office. DABANGG was slightly difference than those films in the sense it was more tongue-in-cheek via the arc of it’s central character than taking itself too seriously.
DABANGG 2 was announced with much fanfare with Arbaaz Khan taking over the directorial reins from Anibhav Kashyap after a falling out. The initial promos gave the indication that the sequel was much or less the same as the first, and that is exactly right.
DABANGG 2 takes off from where the first one ended. Chulbul Panday now lives at home with his doting father (Vinod Khanna who has shed a lot of weight since his act in RISK), his loving wife (Sonakshi sizzling the screen again with her sensuous curves) as well as Makkhi (Arbaaz). He takes a transfer to the dreaded area of Kanpur where elections are in order. A local goon turned politician (Prakash Raj) is Chulbul’s arch nemesis this time around. So what works in DABANGG 2? The film is essentially an exact replica of the first part. Despite some small advancements in the story, the film never really takes it’s graph forward. The worse part of DABANGG 2 is the characterization and utilization of it’s core villain Prakash Raj who one feels sorry to see wasted in such a terrific opportunity. There is no tension at all for the good guy to take out the bad guy which is clearly an absolute must for this genre. A special note must be made of the wicked action sequences which Salman embraces to perfection each time.
So what works? Salman! This is essentially a one-man show, and Salman without an iota of doubt is simply an unbreakable force at the box-office right now. He steps into the iconic shoes of Chulbul Panday with remarkable flair, charisma, comedy, romance and all the right ingredients which made the character so lovable the first time. He dominates each and every frame with an electric screen presence. Salman is at a strange position now, where his boxoffice popularity transcends the quality of his films, and whether it’s WANTED, READY, BODYGUARD, EK THA TIGER or now DABANGG 2, it’s a remarkable track-record. Here, at times, all he has to do is smile, pull funny faces, dance to some signature moves and the audiences are over the moon. Salman Khan as Chulbul Panday is now that iconic. One wonders what would happen top Chulbul Panday if he were put into the world of Rajkumar Hirani?
The chemistry between Sonakshi and Salman is fantastic, and the two dazzle in each frame. Sonakshi’s alluring charm, sensuality and curves grace the screen with dignity and she is no doubt one of the most interesting leading ladies to watch out for.
Whilst I enjoyed DABANGG 2 purely as a guilty pleasure to watch Salman step into the shoes of Chulbul again, Sonakshi sizzle, the terrific music by Sajid-Wajid, the film is essentially a hollow one which doesn’t offer viewers anything new, and relies solely on the strengths and star power of it’s leading man and the beauty of its leading lady….which should be enough in this case.
Prashant Harish Hari