Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dabanng 2: A Second Place Finish

Sequels are tricky. Does the audience really want to find out what happens next or do they just want to watch the same movie again? Rohit Shetty seems to have solved the problem fairly well, refining the Golmaal formula with each pass, distilling the Golmaal essence to its purest form. Arbaaz and Salman Khan, on the other hand, with Dabanng 2, have given us what a film that extracted what they enjoyed most about Dabangg. Unfortunately, it’s not what the rest of us found so engaging. That’s not to say that Dabanng 2 is a bad watch...exactly. But it’s certainly not a good film by any measure. If you are amused by Salman Khan being amused at bad puns and silly pranks, then Dabanng 2 might be worth a watch but anybody expecting another Dabangg will be sorely disappointed.

Dabangg 2 picks up the story of Chulbul Pandey and family after the first film. They’ve moved from their village to Kanpur and Chulbul has become the scourge of all the goondas in Kanpur - which includes Bachcha Bhaiyya (Prakash Raaj, sleepwalking through a standard villain role) and his brothers Chunni (the hulking Nikitin Dheer) and Gende (a scene-stealing Deepak Dobriyal). The plot - what little of it there is - has Chulbul swearing to take out Bachcha Bhaiyaa. Why? Because Chulbul is a cop and Bachcha Bhaiyaa is a criminal. It’s the way of the world.

Even though the film itself is pretty lackluster, and mostly involves Salman Khan and his comedian buddies making terrible jokes, there are a few moments here and there that shine. For example: any time Deepak Dobriyal is on screen. His screen presence injects something real into the proceedings and his scenes with Sandeepa Dhar hint at a what a better film might have looked like. Prakash Raaj sleepwalks through most of his scenes using his well-honed bag of villain tricks - flared nostrils here, bugged out eyes there.* Vinod Khanna as Chulbul’s stepfather Prajapati does what he can and the way Vinod plays Prajapati’s transformation into a loving father figure is surprisingly touching. Sonakshi Sinha as Chulbul’s wife Rajjo doesn’t have much to do other than glower at Salman but she does it well. And Bebo is, naturally, the highlight of the film.

But let’s talk about Salman. He is clearly having a great time and it’s fun to watch him having fun. For a time. I’m not sure if the failure of Veer, with it’s epic scale and heartfelt emotions, kept Salmaan from putting his heart into another film or if Arbaaz didn’t have the authority to make him try but Dabangg 2 has Salman in Ready-mode only minus the script cohesion of Ready. Yes, you read that right.

As for Arbaaz’s directing... I wouldn’t hire him any time soon. Not only does the film have little flow but he makes too much use of a particular slow-motion editing trick during the fight scenes.

All in all, Dabangg 2 is strictly okay. If you’re a Salman fan, like me, it might be worth going out to watch it in theaters just for the experience but otherwise, I’d put Bebo’s item on your youtube queue and save the rest of the film for when you’re on a plane or ill and want to watch something that won’t give you any tension. *I have to admit that I did enjoy a side plot with Bhaiyaa attempting a political career only to give it up because (*spoiler alert*) he was too ethical to be a politician. HA! Only Salman.


Stuart Martin said...

Interesting that single out Deepak's scenes as highlights - I agree that he aced them, but I felt so annoyed that he was wasted in the role. I had no idea he was going to be in it, and when I saw his name come up, I got very excited. If only he'd been the main villain!

Filmi Girl said...

Really? I was just glad he was in it at all and happy to see him.

I mean, what is Bollywood doing that they don't hire him more often?! He's such a wonderful actor and can liven any material. Hiring him as the main villain wouldn't have solved anything - Prakash Raj is generally very good but there was only so much he could do with such a generic villain role.

Stuart Martin said...

Yes, I probably phrased that badly. I meant that his character had more real malice than the main villain, especially in the wedding scene, and it would have been great to see Deepak given the lead villain role. That's not a criticism of Prakash, who had nothing to work with. You're right too, that I should focus on the positive and be glad that he was there at all.

Filmi Girl said...

Oh!! I see what you mean! I wonder if that role was initally written for Sonu Sood as the brother of Cheddi Singh? But, yes, I agree it would have been great to see Deepak as Gende playing the main villain. He had a motive, at least...

doonboy said...

I knew from day 1 that this was just a blatant copy of the original. Only other director job Arbaaz is getting is if Salman hires him. But I still had fun. Not the greatest movie for sure.

Deepak Dhobriyal was the best part for sure.

Mo Pitz said...

I feel like there should have been more to the whole Deepak wedding/stalker scene. Perhaps that got edited out? I guess it didn't fit with Chulbul's story but it felt really abrupt and I wanted more of it.

Moimeme said...

I hope you enjoyed your trip to NY otherwise. Seems like a waste to have trekked out there for this film.

I think you and GetFilmy got it pretty right. What's baffling me is the number of people who've not only enjoyed Dabangg 2, but think it's better than Dabangg.

getfilmy said...

Agree with Moimeme! I can understand people enjoying this movie, but saying it's better than the original? Totally scratching my head. Agree with the review FG. Was a letdown as far as expectations, a decent one time watch, but not something I'd want to re-visit, like the first one.

CoffeeQueen said...

NY! wow I guess we're lucky movies show so close to us. My family totally enjoyed Dabangg 2, as did the audience we saw it with. Perhaps expectations were too high? I did not expect story line to play a major part so I wasn't disappointed in the least. Sequels are rarely better than the originals but to expect one to exceed them is a sure fire way to disappointment. My only complaint was it was too short.

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl
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