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!Ajay Devgn Critics Reviews Kareena Kapoor Reviews Rohit Shetty Singham Returns Taran Adarsh
Movie Review by Sukanya Verma
Returns offers quite a bit to whistle about with its steady supply of straightforward action and a hot-headed hero who delivers a punch with a fist and a line, writes Sukanya Verma
At some point, super cop Bajirao Singham takes off his shirt and smacks it on the chief minister’s palm.
That’s a Rohit Shettyism for resignation.
Without a second thought, his superior and subordinates in the room, building, neighbourhood and entire Mumbai city follow suit.
That’s a Rohit Shettyism for, um, the force is strong with this one?
Even if unabashedly playing to the gallery and formulaic to its core, Singham Returns offers quite a bit to whistle about with its steady supply of straightforward action and a hot-headed hero who delivers a punch with a fist and a line.
It doesn’t hold up to its potential in entirety, tumbling drastically in the middle to incorporate recognizable tropes and cliches. The final pay off is a bit tame for my liking but as long as it doles out generous scoops of masala and corn, it works just fine.
Only this time Ajay Devgn doesn’t get to parade his bare, strapping torso like a glossy, egg-washed croissant to get our attention. On the contrary, his love interest (played by Kareena Kapoor Khan) pokes fun at his chestnut-dyed hair while his underlings quip about his growing “umar.”
Considering the filmmaker got Shah Rukh Khan to play a 40-year-old in Chennai Express, Shetty seems well-equipped in the art of embrace-your-age within Bollywood’s ageing superstars.
Regardless, Devgn’s power-packed slam bang is a lively reminder of his daredevil roots.
Crafted along the lines of a 1990s no-holds-barred action, it’s a relief to watch the actor in a skin he’s most comfortable in.
Except when bitten by the ‘Satakli’ bug, Devgn keeps it low key and reserves his stamina for moments of brute force, vigorous bang bang and swaggering in slow motion.
Its fairly uncomplicated plot pits the self-styled cop Bajirao Singham against yet another agent of crime and corruption.
Amol Gupte’s sleazy, swindling, wiry-haired god man and Zakir Hussain’s jumpy politician play the wily twosome whereas Anupam Kher and Mahesh Manjrekar represent the fair face of politics.
As if to underline the distinction, the good guys are picture of composed grace whereas the baddies perform a cheesy romp of exaggerated notoriety.
Despite these excesses, the first hour goes off like a breeze primarily because Shetty keeps the events relating to one another compact and gripping.
Not too many cars (by Shetty standards) toss into mid-air but there are enough explosions, shoot-outs, vans/trucks clashing into one another.
Though marginally better, Singham Returns is plagued by the same problem as the first one.
It slows down in the middle to accommodate an obligatory romance with Kareena. For an actress whose presence comes through even when she’s a blurred out mute spectator in the background, this is hardly the film to be.
Cast as Devgn’s loud, glutton girlfriend, Kareena, to her credit, keeps it spunky till the script makes her jarring (calling a North Eastern boy selling chowmein ‘Made in China’ is not even remotely amusing).
Her director seems unsure about how to use her here.
There are scenes where she’s simply not required — Singham’s work place or encounter sites — but it’s like Shetty has to justify her inclusion at any rate.
What’s further grating is the raucous background score, alternating between clanking cymbals to loud Singham chants and the contrived usage of heavily rehearsed Marathi by its lead actors.
Ultimately, Shetty’s crowd pleaser antics boosted by Devgn’s blustering machismo and a hilarious hat-tip to CID make up for the earlier melodrama and a done-to-death twist concerning the all-important witness.
Is that good enough? Wrong question. Is it entertaining enough? Er, yeah.
Movie Review by Rajeev Masand
There isn’t one quiet moment in Rohit Shetty’s Singham Returns. This sequel is an orgy of relentless action, shrill dialoguebaazi, and eardrum-shattering background music. And yet, buried somewhere under all that noise is a well-meaning – although misguided – story about the need for corruption-cleansing in the system.
Ajay Devgan reprises his role as Bajirao Singham, upright cop and dispenser of vigilante justice, now promoted to Deputy Commissioner of Police and relocated from a village on the Goa-Maharashtra border to big bad Mumbai city. Our fearless hero locks horns with a fake godman (a deliciously hammy Amole Gupte) and a crooked neta (Zakir Hussain), when it becomes clear that they’re responsible for the death and humiliation of one of his officers, and for the murder of an Anna Hazare-like figure (Anupam Kher) who’d been spearheading a movement to introduce dynamic and committed young candidates into the political fray.
There isn’t much that’s groundbreaking in the script, but Shetty and Devgan have created a leading man worth rooting for. Singham is steadfast in his intolerance for dishonesty and corruption; in one scene at the start of the film when someone offers him a bribe, he lands a stinging slap on the fellow’s face and this classic line: “Main leta nahin, deta hoon.”
Shetty shrewdly roots this protagonist and the film’s conflict in the real world. He taps into our collective cynicism towards politicians and the system, and gives the ‘aam aadmi’ a platform to vent. So far, so good. What’s disconcerting however, is the film’s suggestion that taking the law into one’s own hands might be the only effective solution to fix things. It’s a dangerous message, and Shetty delivers it via rousing scenes that are designed to elicit applause. Even more dangerous.
What I especially enjoyed in Singham Returns were its stray moments of clever, unexpected humor. Twice our hero takes it on the chin when his girlfriend, and an officer in his team, makes a joke about his age. In another scene, when Gupte’s dhongi Baba rattles off lines from the Bhagwad Gita to him, Singham quotes from the Indian Penal Code in response.
But such moments are few and far between in a sequel that takes itself too seriously, and one that subscribes to the “big is better” ethic of filmmaking. So there are more flying cars and bigger explosions, and stunning aerial view shots of action scenes unfolding on the Sea Link. Confrontations between Singham and his rivals are peppered with ‘punchy’ one-liners, and our hero’s signature catchphrase “Aata maajhi satakli” is repeated at least a half-dozen times for effect.
There’s also Kareena Kapoor as Singham’s love interest, in a track that quite frankly feels unnecessary in the larger scheme of things. The usually dependable actress looks lovely, but the film doesn’t require her to so much as break into a sweat to get through her scenes. It’s Ajay Devgan alone, who keeps the film from falling apart, as the plot becomes increasingly facile. He’s in terrific form as the tough cop with a soft heart, and he displays that quality remarkably, particularly in one scene where he’s confronted by the desperate mother of an erring son.
At 2 hours and 22 minutes, Singham Returns feels long and occasionally plodding. There are some nice scenes that inspire police pride, but the predictable story tires you out eventually. I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five.