Singh is Kinng
Directed by: Vipul Shah
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Om Puri, Sonu Sood, Javed Jaffri, Kirron Kher and Neha Dhupia
When previewing Singh is Kinng, the general consensus was that this film was going to do well. However, not even the most optimistic forecast would have guessed that Singh is Kinng is not only on its way to becoming the year’s most successful film but that it would break all time records, taking over the first week collections earned by last year’s blockbuster Om Shanti Om. This was even evident in London, when on the first weekend, getting a ticket to any showing of the film proved impossible, with most shows sold out. Not since Kal Ho Naa Ho in 2003 have I had to wait until the third week of release to see a film.
What’s more, the film is allegedly living up to its hype. I had yet to hear anyone dissuade me from going to see it which perplexed me further, only because there is always a minister of misery waiting to run down a hit film. So it was with a mix of excitement and anticipation I went to a packed out Friday evening showing which seemed unintentionally determined to recreate conditions of an Indian cinema with a noisy audience, trailers suddenly cutting out and the audience remaining unsettled until the first song had played out
Singh is Kinng is the story of Happy Singh (Akshay Kumar), a Punjabi villager who has a good heart but is incredibly clumsy. After causing havoc trying to catch a rogue hen on the run, the villagers conspire and succeed in sending Happy, along with his friend Rangeela (Om Puri) to Australia to pick up Lucky Singh (Sonu Sood) a notorious gangster, to come back and care for his ailing parents. Needless to say, with Happy in tow, the plans go awry with Happy ending up in Egypt where he meets the gorgeous Sonia (Katrina Kaif) before he gets to Australia. After reaching Australia, Happy realises getting Lucky to return is easier said than done and after saving Lucky from being killed, Happy is hilariously forced to take Lucky’s place with life changing consequences….
The good thing about SIK is it does not try to be anything but a complete entertainer. Yes, there are a few moral sermons and the familiar sacrificing of happiness for the one you love but this is played down with prominence given to the comedy aspect of things. Right from the start, the audience are endeared towards Happy Singh and care what happens to him. Bazmee cuts down on the big build up to a comic denoument, instead putting in lots of simple comedy sequences that allow the ensemble cast to shine. In isolation, the sequences may not be too strong but as a whole work very well together. The cinematography is good, showing off Australia and with some interesting shots (note the camera on the floor in Jee Karda) but the flash edit cuts become annoying and serve no real purpose.
Also, it is a shame that two of the biggest numbers of the film Terri Ore and Singh Is Kinng are shoved in as an afterthought rather than part of the film. Terri Ore is a beautiful number (and my favourite) but is cut short and lazily picturised. The makers seem to have forgotten Suraj hua maddam from Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham showed off the beauty of this wonder of the world to great effect and some innovation and showing the full song would have been a real highlight. Similarly, Snoop Dogg’s random appearance at the end is inconsequential, as most of the audience walked out while it played and even then, the video was boringly picturised (though Akshay outdoes Snoop with ease!) The Talli Hua and the Bas Ek King number could easily have been left out or shortened to accommodate these two songs.
However, despite these points, SIK has a lot going for it. Firstly, the styling in the film is fantastic. Never has Akshay been presented in such a stylish attire and his wardrobe neatly reflects the changes in his characters, from long paisley kurtas to tweeds and skinnies to natty suits, the wardrobe becomes a feature of its own. Similarly Katrina is dressed in regulation next season clothes too (gladiator flats, paisley and chiffons for those interested!) and in an amazing wedding dress (above) looking gorgeous. Expect many a fashion trend to be borne out of the film.
More importantly, the cast are very good. From start to finish, SIK is Akshay Kumar’s film. Though Akshay plays to type as the innocent kind hearted guy, in SIK, he has given an energetic performance, with good comic timing and strong chemistry with all of the cast, never overshadowing but still standing out. Katrina Kaif performs well though she has done this role before and it would be nice to see her do something different. Her Hindi diction has improved and as ever, her chemistry with Akshay remains a plus. Om Puri is excellent as Rangeela, Happy’s reluctant best friend, whilst Sonu Sood, Javed Jaffri, and Ranvir Shorey also give excellent accounts in their supporting roles. Kirron Kher is wasted in her role which is a straight up stereotype, though Neha Dhupia is good in her brief but uneven role. It is no surprise the best written character is Happy but the strong supporting cast play their roles with such enthusiasm , this can be forgiven.
SIK is not a path breaking film nor is it one for posterity. But much like Om Shanti Om, it has been made to entertain the audiences and does not take itself seriously, a crime that many a supposedly light hearted film has been guilty of. Is it worth a watch? I’m not too sure because though I enjoyed watching it in a packed cinema, feeling the audience react and even at one point respond to the on screen action, I’m not sure this film would be as enjoyable watched in peace and quiet, when the hype dies down. However, watched with a group of friends, SIK becomes a lot of fun and the fact it can be enjoyed as a family film is a big bonus. So is Singh the Kinng? If you accept this is an entertainer and can surrender to the silly logic, then you bet he is. If you can’t accept that? Well, learn to deal with it as Singh is Kinng!!!!!