I have to admit, the thought of a sequel to Singham did not fill me with as much glee as it did concern; the first installment was much like one of Bajirao Singham’s signature slaps – loud, powerful and to the point. But Singham Returns surprisingly makes for a respectable follow up, trying to channel all the rage and angst that rallying against constant injustice invokes into a glossy commercial film. There are some very good set pieces here and Rohit Shetty tries hard to keep the whole thing cohesive which is not easy with aerial shots punctuating nearly every scene, trucks and jeeps flying in the air at regular intervals and of course, the obligatory shoot outs and smack downs galore that are part of the ticket price.
The weakest link is the screenplay which sometimes gets caught up in its own hype and loses its way. So we have an unnecessary song and supposed thrills and revelations which are more surprising for popping up out of nowhere and disappearing just as quickly. Singham Returns is strongest when it is allowed to just be itself – the narrative flows nicely, the film engages and entertains, and there is even food for thought as relationships between religion, politics, media and policing are all skimmed over with boombastic sound effects and a rousing theme tune.
Devgn reprises his role with ease, neatly compartmentalizing Singham’s rage against the system as well as his awkwardness in matters of the heart with aplomb. I also like how Devgn really controls his on screen energy, playing with the dialogue delivery and giving high intensity on demand. Kapoor Khan is a surprise and will either irritate or delight – for me, it was the latter as it has been a long time since she has been so animated in a role and I actually wanted to see more of her – something that has been lacking for a long time. Gupta also makes for a convincing villain who opposes Singham with relish and proves a worthy adversary. Shame then that the screenplay did not give the cast more to get their teeth into.
This might be the best sequel that Shetty has done to date – aside from a few glitches, Singham Returns does enough to move the story forward and set up a franchise that has a reach far beyond the usual 100 crore masala fare. It also remains as timely and relevant as the first installment was and one hopes that if this story is to be continued, (yes, I am actually hoping Shetty makes a third – the apocalypse is truly upon us) we see more depth and refinement added. There is no need to play to the front bench so much when everyone is already on side. Definitely shaping up to be a worthy addition to the angry policeman canon in Hindi cinema, Singham Returns is a power packed blast that may not have arrived at its true destination yet but is definitely heading in the right direction.