Directed by: Arbaaz Khan
Starring: Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Prakash Raaj, Vinod Khanna and Arbaaz Khanna
All images courtesy of: http://www.glamsham.com
There is nothing more frustrating than watching a film which has all the elements of an entertaining two hours squander its potential like a drunk gambler trying to save face at a poker game. Dabangg 2 has everything going for it – a fantastic first installment which set up the premise perfectly and even offered several different strands of storylines that would have made for ideal sequel material (and quite frankly, seemed a rather obvious path to take) good music, and of course one Salman Khan at a peak of popularity. So it is disappointing that Dabangg 2 not only chooses to ignore all its strengths but produces something that is a pale imitation of its predecessor.
As I watched the film, I waited, almost desperately to fall into that slipstream which takes me out of the cinema hall and into the film. And there were a few occasions when that happened – the Fevicol item number (where Kareena looked better than she has in a long time), the menacing Baccha pushing a pregnant Rajjo down the steps of the mandir, Chulbul fighting tears back before he goes into see Rajjo in hospital and in light hearted moments, winding up his father Pandey-ji. But on the whole, I remained detached, desperately trying to keep my cynicism at bay as the film followed a basic formula of action, song, comedy, song, action with no thread to tie it all together.
Hence there is a colossal waste of talent here – Prakash Raaj glares at the camera for a few moments (and no doubt picked up a pay cheque and hauled ass straight after), Vinod Khanna and Sonakshi Sinha are barely present in any sense whilst Arbaaz looks exhausted from the pressure of producing, directing and acting all at the same time. The only saving grace is Salman Khan who is watchable and full of charisma – but how I wished all the power and screen presence had been put through its paces; we know Salman is capable of much more without compromising his saleability at the box office and in my opinion, the Dabangg franchise is mainly present to give us a Salman who satisfies commercial and critical criteria with a fearless slap that leaves the earth shaking for a moment after.
I really wanted to like Dabangg 2, especially as Dabangg was so awesome. And whilst the sequel does carry the burden of having a superior first part, it also had every opportunity to forge a unique identity and be a success in its own right. If there is to be a third part, prequel or another sequel, I sincerely hope the film goes back to basics and sticks to them with industrial strength Fevicol. In the meantime, Dabangg 2 is best enjoyed in a default setting – a rowdy audience, no expectations and a indulgent chuckle rather than a cynical eye roll. Disappointing.
Writer’s Note – This is my 150th blog post – thank you to everyone who has visited and supported bogeyno2 over the past 150 posts, here’s to 150 more! xoxo.