Salman Khan and Sonakshi Sinha’s Dabangg completes eight years today. Bhai had three back to back flops before this Abhinav Kashyap directorial. But the world had seen his effortlessness in coolness, swag and swift action in Prabhu Dheva’s Wanted exactly a year away from Dabangg. However, the character of Chulbul Pandey, who shamelessly revels in accepting bribes, flaunts his aviators behind his shirt and dances with hands placed on his belt, was more flesh-and-blood and peppered with grit and gravitas.
Khan, who often sleepwalks through his roles and carries the devil-may-care attitude with nonchalance, had a ball playing the corrupt and lecherous inspector who was surprisingly adorable and lovable at the same time. His goofball demeanor and magnetic screen persona made his harshest critics wake up and take notice of the actor’s effort in the effortlessness.
Dabangg was an ode to the the kind of cinema that was popularized by Manmohan Desai and Prakash Mehra in the 70’s and early 80’s. Two warring brothers, one melodramatic mother, a helpless father and a conniving villain who derives pleasure from wreaking havoc in our hero’s life. Kashyap placed the plot of this action potboiler in the heartland of India, Uttar Pradesh, which only gave it the Desi-ness films of such genre require. And of course, romance in the rural areas has a mystifying charm that seldom makes the same effect as those frothy, westernized romantic comedies. Sonakshi Sinha as Rajjo, in her debut, could very well give Pandey a run for his money, both in intimacy and intensity. Her dialogues were as whistle-worthy as the hero’s.
And who can forget Sajid-Wajid’s melodious soundtrack? This was one of those rare albums where all the songs had a lasting impression. It almost revived the ‘Item Number’ trend in Bollywood with Munni Badnaam and gave us the Malaika Arora the crowd loves to cheer for every time she lights up the screen.
Lastly, one of the reasons for the film’s immense popularity is the fact that it gave us the most imaginative and unique shirtless scene of its leading man. He doesn’t even bother to take it off, angered at the villain for killing his mother, his biceps and chest swell on their own and the shirt flies off at some undisclosed location, only to come back one scene later. But we don’t laugh at the idiocy of the proceedings, we just sit back and relish the Masala moments that are never needed to be thought, only felt.
The sequel, however, seemed more like all the deleted scenes of the first part were stuffed into the screenplay, with little attention paid to inventiveness or imagination. Bhai is all set to be back for the third time as Chulbul Pandey, let’s see what the corrupt yet charming cop has in store for us this time!
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