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Movie Review: Dabangg 2


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Courtesy photo

As an industry of thoroughbred masala movies, Bollywood is a difficult animal to understand – much less pass judgment on. On one hand there are those who live for mindless entertainment, eulogising even the most irksome codswallop to godly status; one can often find these ‘attention handicapped’ people belonging to certain star-backed factions – be they critics or choleric howlers in the comments section. Then there are those who live to thrash the ‘blockbusters’ with new-age, independent or art-house films, protesting favour to the pseudo-intelligent cinema – which there is too little of anyways.

To spank or slaughter a movie – as someone told me in a conversation sometime back – in the age of the internet is child’s play; all it takes is an internet connection and maybe a blog. Ergo: a long-line of media-age critics are born; good, bad, irrelevant, become a meaningless point of view backed by quick-tempered writing and personal bias, if anything else.

That is why I estimate that Dabangg 2, the self-effacingly natural extension to Dabangg, re-starring Salman Khan, will get a motley show of votes from these ‘so called’ critics of cinema. An entertaining blockbuster may not be their thing, but denying of what it is, is anything but stark biasness.

How did that Habib Jalib verse go? –Main nahin maanta, Main nahin maanta!

As Dabangg 2 opens, a ‘splat and splash’ title sequence recounts what happened in the first movie, followed by a homage-esque baddie beat-em-up (think of this type of opening to become its franchise staple). We learn that Chulbul Pandey – the coolest of avatars Mr. Khan has done to date – has a new affix appending his name: he is Chulbul, Robin Hood “Kung-Fu” Pandey. The tag has an uncanny adhesive-like quality to it; it sticks well to Chulbul’s frame as he whips baddies throughout the 120-odd minute running time.


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The action – the neatest mix of physical and wirework since the original – is offset by the subtlest narratives a continuation gets to expand on. Chulbul, with a once-estranged father and brother (Vinod Khanna and director-actor Arbaaz Khan) and wife – an enrapturing Sonakshi Sinha, who justifies the film’s ace song “Dagabaaz Naina” – are now stationed at Kanpur. As it happens (ala Singham style), it is a suburban state with a trademark goon, Bacha Bhai (a brilliantly stereotypical Prakash Raj), running for the local office.

The bulk of their interaction is about flexing muscles. Bacha Bhai – and his brothers – flex theirs, Chulbul flexes his; with Mr. Khan’s still-primed physique – and his puckish cheekiness – is there really a competition here?...I didn’t think so either.

Dilip Shukla’s screenplay flips the bible of sequel-writing away as it concentrates on prioritising. First served are Chulbul’s relations, then the waggishness and finally the mandatory clobbering.

Mr. Shukla’s sequencing gets results. It is breezily wholesome, even when it’s everything we’ve seen before. Even the songs by duo Sajid-Wajid, which include the Kareena Kapoor semi-show stealer “Fevicol” (though nowhere near “Munni’s” level), happen somewhere in-between without hindrance; as do the rest of the film’s many product placements.


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Dabangg 2 works primarily because of its unflustered assuredness of its own brand-identity and the brazenness to accept itself for what it is: a mix of the old, with the new – a new that is “dabangg” enough to flaunt its own flair-y, quirky quality.

If this were a cocktail, then the blend would have been yummy and instantly gulpable. Rarely does a Bollywood film warrant seconds – even when you haven’t finished firsts.

Directed by the debuting ace Arbaaz Khan (no fair, with the Abhinav Kashyap comparision), with cinematography by Aseem Mishra, editing by Hemal Kothari, and was produced by Arbaaz Khan and Malaika Arora Khan.

Released by IMGC Global, the film is certified U/A – a neck is snapped 180-degrees, but the bad goon was asking for it anyways.

Author Image

Despite living movies 24/7 (, the writer is still truly, madly, deeply in love with cinema; the root cause of this anomaly requires further clinical trials.

He tweets @kamranjawaid

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (22) Closed

Hussain Dec 25, 2012 08:19am
Useless review did not quite understand what the author was trying to suggest. May be I need to improve my English language skills but the author needs to understand that most of the people who would be interested in a bollywood masala movie review like
SSL Dec 25, 2012 09:01am
i could not agree more with you bakhtiari, but you should understand that these films are playing locally and thus need to be covered. from dawn's pattern they are reviewing all pakistan released films. for example they covered Life of Pi and Khiladi and Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Skyfall. on another note, the writer clearly says that pseudo intellectual cinemas do not come from bollywood and is not talking about international cinema. for the most part he is right because commercial films are a bigger market than art house films and people should appreciate entertainers more than not act like commercial cinema is a bad thing. most art house films are too artsy for my tastes but that is just my opinion. i do not like salman khan but i did enjoy this movie and i believe a good film should be appreciated
SSL Dec 25, 2012 08:55am
maybe youre the type who only understands 'this is a ball' like simplicity. as far as the review goes is more than 5 paragraphs not good for u?
rafique b Dec 24, 2012 07:53pm
Great review! People should learn to celebrate commercial cinema.
Vishnu Dutta Dec 24, 2012 08:20pm
"a neck is snapped 180-degrees, but the bad goon was asking for it anyways." Best line i have read in review of a masala film. Like it or not, Salman has carved himself a niche segment among the other super khans
Faizan Dec 24, 2012 08:41pm
Awesome Review... One must not oppose a well crafted entertainer... congratulations to Mr.Arbaaz khan. and Offcourse SALMAN KHAN for this hurricane (SALMANIA) to us ..
Mehwish S Dec 25, 2012 12:30pm
Nice review. I have been reading quite a lot of reviews here but unfortunately the feedback is often discouraging for writers. One should learn to read the reviews that come from international newspapers. I have found that dawn has really raised its writing standard but people out of spite are still bad tempered about it. The writer i think has foreseen this reaction and has already written abt it "To spank or slaughter a movie
Jon Arnon Dec 24, 2012 09:36pm
I agree with you...great review especially the opening and very valid point about blockbuster movies
rafique b Dec 25, 2012 09:43am
What may be useless to you may not be useless for everyone sir. The first thing that you are doing is discriminating and insulting peoples intelligence and the writers writing. It is our problem today to put one down rather than appreciate. As Ssl states on a post believe it is good to appreciate good movies. If y cant do that then just dont voice your opinion at all.
Qaiser Bakhtiari Dec 24, 2012 11:15pm
Time and again I have written to Dawn to review cinema at a broader level and not just Bollywood movies. Though entertaining, Bollywood with its jhatkas and matkas is lacking in substance. The author 's assertion that there is very little of quality cinema is which there is too little of anyways begs to be challenged. I have been volunteering for international film festivals in the Midwest United States and can assure you that there is a plethora of good quality cinema out there, we just need to discover it. Furthermore the label of pseudo intellectual perhaps concerns me the most, my point of view is that any attempt at producing something thoughtful is better than what a movie such as Dabang represents. I would really encourage the author to review movies that are more of substance and thought provoking and I sincerely look forward to reading such review in future. Lets aim higher when it comes to quality in cinema
SSL Dec 25, 2012 08:52am
you should seriously learn to read more man
DThuos Dec 25, 2012 05:05am
**Rarely does a Bollywood film warrant seconds
Player Dec 25, 2012 03:31pm
So, is movie good or not?
anil tiwari Dec 25, 2012 06:03am
Dabang2 is a run away commercial success. Arrey Bhai apana Dimakh Kyo Lagana? Just, buy you coke & pop corn and see how the time fly bye. Of course, the story setting in Kanpur is akin to today's UP under Mr Mulayam Singh's SP which is nothing but a collection of Goons & Mafia.
KJ Dec 25, 2012 06:21am
quite a useless review, review of all the things other then the move itself. also writer tried to used the most difficult vocab and pattern of writing, which doesn't make any sense.
Sadat Dec 25, 2012 06:24pm
The existential goal of cinema is entertainment (not education). So chillax and enjoy Bhaijaan's newest blockbuster !
Vic Dec 25, 2012 09:12pm
@ SSL Come on Mr. SSL, you own English is seriously lacking. Your statement, "maybe youre the type who only understands
shubham Dec 26, 2012 06:39am
instead D2 is a crap movie... I am really surprised to see it's response... nothing new... "Singham" is way better than this... if this kind of film is praised by Indians like us, then D-day of Bollywood is not far away... there will be no "3 idiots" like film either, no "Jab Tak Hai Jaan" like rom-film either(though it is D-day for Rom-film after passing away of Yash-ji)... directors will be made only based on action scenes and some dialogues only... phew!!! seriously! how can Indian audience can give a thumb up for this film...
Slackster Dec 26, 2012 07:14am
Wasnt the review clear enough for you? public opinion is good and the review is positive
RR Dec 26, 2012 08:02pm
very right you are dude
RR Dec 26, 2012 08:09pm
D2 is a definitive Sallu bhai film! No questions. I have read Mohammad Kamran Jawaid's earlier review of Ek Tha Tiger and I thought he was a SRK fan but then I read JTHJ's review here and knew that he does not take sides like most of the indian media. This review is right when it says all those things at the beginning about commercial cinema. It is the main reason why movies are made. No one wants to see overly drama movies all the time. Cinema needs movies like D2 which are wholesome family entertainers. Good insightful review by Jawaid and full marks for dawn for keeping this up.
RR Dec 26, 2012 08:16pm
You know it would be great if there were a star-system for ratings. I've read some posts below and the simpletons would find it easier if there were stars telling them if the movie was good or bad.