Dabangg 2: No Kamal From Pandey Ji

dabangg-2-HD-wallpapers-02Yes! I managed to catch this earlier than I anticipated because for whatever reason, it was playing in NYC from the 20th instead of the 21st so I was like fuck holiday shopping, I’m going to watch my movie.

However, because it’s still so early, if you’re a Salman fan and you’re planning to watch Dabangg 2, I would suggest you come back and read this after you’ve done so (and let me know what you thought!). It’s not that there are spoilers (there’s hardly anything to spoil). It’s just that I wouldn’t want to ruin your mood.

Because to be very honest, I was disappointed.


Here’s what happens: Chulbul Pandey and his very happy family have moved from Lalganj to Kanpur where he plans to kick some serious villain ass as the new thanedaar of Kanpur. So he kicks ass. He takes care of his family. He kicks some more ass. He romances his wife. He kicks even more ass. He takes Makkhi to watch the Fevicol Lady. Finally, he pisses off the Local Goon Who Controls The Town and said goon decides to teach Pandey ji a lesson. Kind of. If he could make up his mind.

In other words, you can file that under Masala Story Template No. 101. For almost an entire decade, every Hindi film had exactly this template, except they had a lot more conflict, drama, violence and most importantly, villains that made your skin crawl.

Because what’s the point of all the herogiri, even Salman wala herogiri, if it doesn’t have a villain worth his salt to bounce off of?

All the dark undertones in the first Dabangg have been completely removed in the second. There, Sonu Sood’s Chedi Singh may not have been the real threat to Chulbul but what made up for it was the more compelling conflict going on in the family, between father and son, between brother and brother. Those relationships were Chulbul’s achilles heel – his kryptonite, and that’s what gave Chedi Singh the edge over him.

Frankly, Pandey ji, you have it too easy in Kanpur. It’s like he’s in frikkin’ Disneyland. No problem in family. No problem in job. The goons are afraid of him. He roams about with his merry band of hawaldars (and Chaubey ji of course, plus the wonderful potbellied fellow who plays his boss) cracking jokes and snapping necks (but no memorable one-liners like the chhed one, though it is referenced many times) basically with no worries in his life.

It’s like Pandey ji sauntered into a Sooraj Barjatya film – everyone is happy and/or slightly worried for the entire duration until Something Really Bad happens for about 5 minutes in the final act and then everyone is happy again.

Prakash Raj’s Bachcha Bhai frankly, is a villain that just can’t get it up. He huffs and he puffs and he threatens to blow the house down but he never actually does anything. Except that one thing he does near the end that sets up the climax and final “showdown” (if you can even call it that) between Chulbul and Baccha Bhai’s gang.

I mean, how do you have Prakash Raj – the King Of All Villainy – in a film and make him such an ineffective, can’t-get-my-shit-together villain? Complete waste of the man’s time and talent if you ask me (which of course, you didn’t).

The film was made simply to allow us to bask in the khakee glow of Salman playing Chulbul – and nothing else. This can work for maybe the first 30 minutes. After that, only a true die-hard Salman fan could hope to remain entertained because literally, nothing else happens.

Who needs a story when we have Salman? Who needs a villain when we have Salman? Who needs conflict when we have Salman?  And there is A LOT of Salman in this. A lot.

Has Salman Outgrown Chulbul?

I didn’t have as much fun watching Chulbul this time around because it seemed to me that Salman wasn’t having as much fun playing Chulbul. He comes alive and shines in the scenes when he’s interacting with Vinod Khanna (returning, delightfully, as Pandey Senior), Arbaaz (Makki) and Sonakshi (Rajjo).

But it’s when he’s playing the smart-aleck Supercop Robinhood Pandey that it seems like he’s not really buying it anymore. Or maybe the dialog wasn’t as sharp and pithy this time around so he didn’t have enough material to work with. The action is all been there, seen that. And you know Salman, when he’s not convinced about something, he has a hard time not letting it show on screen.

The character was just too safe. It’s as though they were in endless script meetings with the dictate: Don’t make him too weak, don’t make him too crooked, don’t make him too corrupt or irreverent – be careful not to ruin Salman’s carefully honed on-screen image. Arre Pandey ji, we need a little bit more danger, a little bit more spice from you. Otherwise, where’s the fun? Wouldn’t it be great to see Chulbul suffer a Batman-style breakdown, just completely shattered, before he rises again and beats the shit out of everyone?

Despite the weak material, and despite the fact that he seems a bit tired of this role, Salman is still a sheer delight to watch. If this film breaks any records at the box office, it will be based solely on Salman’s charisma and nothing else. Because other than Salman, the film as a whole has very little to recommend it.

Arbaaz – The Director [Slight Spoilers In This Section]

Arbaaz does show great potential as a director. Several scenes really stand out for the impact they make, though not the ones you would think. It’s the smaller, lighter moments where Arbaaz shows his skills – the scenes between father and son (the entire mobile-Aasma track is brilliant), bhai and bhai (lovely scene when Makkhi shows up at the police station), and some really sweet romantic moments between husband and wife too. As I said earlier, these are also the scenes where Salman does his best work.

The problem with these scenes, however, as lovely as they were, is that they have no real place in the narrative. They added nothing to the (almost non-existent) plot. Usually, the point of highlighting My Very Happy Family & Perfect Life is to foreshadow that something terrible is going to happen to someone really soon. In the old days, someone’s sister would get raped. Or someone’s brother would get murdered. Or someone’s father would get dragged into the mohalla on a freakin’ dog leash (Ghatak FTW!!). No such luck here. What does happen, though awful, is diluted of all of its potential impact because it’s over in one and a half scenes.

In the big Bachcha Bhai vs Pandey conflict scenes, Arbaaz relies too heavily on people walking angrily in slow motion and/or high speed towards the camera (a shot that happens to be one of my favorite filmy devices, but too much of a good thing and it starts to lose its impact). What’s more, all that glaring into the camera is followed by some really anti-climactic dialog. The “threats” from either side (endless variations of “I’ll show you who’s boss”) were completely empty and unconvincing. Some of the jokes worked, others fell flat.

The one villainy scene that stood out takes place right before interval, quite a stroke of genius that – because it leaves the audience so unsure how to feel going into interval – one minute you’re laughing, the next your jaw is hanging open. If only the other action scenes,  had come even close to that. Most of them are just Pandey bashing people up in between cracking jokes – rather unimaginatively staged and relying very obviously on Salman’s star power and persona to sell the scene.

Arbaaz should forget about Dabangg 3 and direct a family-romance film instead – with Salman in it. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a truly tender Salman in anything, and Arbaaz managed to bring that out beautifully in several scenes in which Chulbul is interacting with his family.


What can I say about Sonakshi? She’s Mrs. Pandey now and her job is to look pretty, pout, blush, wear backless blouses, say “aayee” and “laayee” and not much else. What you see her doing in the Dagabaaz song (which is lovely) is pretty much her role in the entire movie. Her character in Dabangg, though short, was much more layered and interesting. Her role in this was the definition of female furniture.

Is Dabangg 2 Better Than Dabangg?

You already know the answer to that if you’ve made it this far. Not by a mile. Not by a freakin’ mile. This is not a movie that begs for a re-watch (the caveat obviously being how big a Salman fan you are, because one could watch him forever). There’s just nothing that memorable in it.

They say that Salman is the only star in Bollywood who is bigger than the script. This film will prove that saying once again, just as it did with Bodyguard and Ready. For me, Dabangg is a classic, one of the great neo-masala films and one of the only in its genre that had a specific voice and created a very specific world. Dabangg 2 sadly, falls under that category of masala that is designed for commercial purposes only – paint it by numbers and say Thank God For Salman Khan.

Get Filmy Rating:

I could give this an OMG for Salman alone, but for me at least, even Salman couldn’t save the script. So please don’t kill me but:





About these ads

26 comments on “Dabangg 2: No Kamal From Pandey Ji

  1. U slut u always hate Salman. I hupe Salman rape u n run u over with car. SRGAY SLUTTTTT.

  2. This person also said the same to Rituparna Chatterjee yesterday. You should see this. He said the exact same thing. pic.twitter.com/ft0vpWZ8

  3. Congratulations. A rapist in the making.

  4. wth is this, these types of Sallu fans scare me, you se alot of these comments on youtube too. about Dadang-dabang, er i’m not surprised, i expect laziness from him, it willl probably be a hit, but i wont go see it.

  5. A totally spot on review. There is literally nothing I’d disagree with, including, most emphatically, your “MEH” rating. Just how meh can be illustrated by the fact that despite it being only the third Hindi film to show in my town in the last 10 years, a young couple walked out just after where the interval would have been.

    I especially agree with your comments about Sonakshi. The way she rose above the limitations of her role in Dabangg was a highlight of that film for me, but in this one she, like everyone else, seemed to be going through the motions. I may have gone to Dabangg 2 because it was a Hindi film in my town, but I won’t go to Dabangg 3 if they screen it in my garage.

    • Maxq – Yeah everything about it was just routine. Without Salman, the movie is nothing – which may be the case for most big star masala films, but I expected more from this because it’s Dabangg. Glad you agree!

  6. Everybody Else,

    CALM DOWN. I generally don’t moderate comments and I won’t delete these because they are ridiculous to the point of being hilarious. If anyone has anything objective to say about the movie, those comments are welcome and appreciated.

  7. You’re right. Sorry about that. I’ll calm down.

  8. First, GetFilmy, I am absolutely shocked and revolted by the comments of the alleged Salman Lover — if you really loved Salman, you would follow his example of how to treat everyone politely.

    On the review, I saw references to it yesterday which alerted me that you didn’t like the film, though I wasn’t reading any comments or reviews at that point. Now I’ve seen the film so came to read your review, and I agree with it almost entirely — the only difference is that you are being kinder to Arbaaz as director than I can be.

    The worst thing was the criminal waste of an actor like Prakash Raj, though I think, because it was him and not some lesser actor, he brought some intensity to the role.

    Your statement that this film was set in Sooraj Barjatya land brought the first real smile to my face since seeing the film. I think that’s a very apt description.

    • mm,

      I’m so glad you agree and it means a lot because I know that you’re a huge Salman fan. But thanks for being a sane and objective one.

      I thought Arbaaz showed potential though masala may not be his forte. And don’t be sad, we still have the *real* Barjatya film to look forward to!

      • I’m not sad, GetFilmy, I just meant that I wasn’t that amused by any of the jokes in the film.

        But you know, being a Salman fan, I tend to have high expectations from his films. It’s entirely possible that I may change my mind after a second viewing, or, at any rate, focus on the enjoyable moments — and there were quite a few of those — and overlook the other parts.

  9. Goodness me all the terrible cursing posted by supposedly Salman’s fan. Why so much hatred man.

    Anyway, despite your advice Getfilmy for me to watch the film first and read this review later, I went ahead to read the entire post. And I’m okay with it really because I’m those type of people who would not get affected by reviews, rather I read reviews to compare and contrast different opinion different people has. I myself is not a fan of the film Avatar despite the success and good reviews it had received.

    Hopefully Arbaaz would hear and “direct a family-romance film instead – with Salman in it. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a truly tender Salman in anythin.” because I’m dying to watch Salman as Prem, the tender-romantic guy he had previously played in Maine Pyaar Kiya and Hum Saath Saath Hain..

  10. I am shocked to see these comments from rohith aka salman lover who i know for a yr now, any salman fan wont abuse like this and use this kind of language .

    Even i dont agree with getfilmy’s review as i liked the film :P but whats the point in abusing her , her review wont stop it from becoming a blockbuster :D

    • Ayush,
      I’m glad you liked the film. As you know reviewing a film for free on a personal blog has nothing to do with box office. Most of us do it because we’re passionate about films and filmcraft.

  11. Okay, whoever this “ASHAMADA” person is, I assure you it’s not me.

  12. I’ve watched Dabangg 2 and overall I enjoyed the film! :) To some extent, I agree with your opinion Getfilmy. I find some scenes in 1st half of the film a little too loose, like some scenes could be shot shorter or something. The villain & hero encounter towards the end was lacking some punch. In general I like Dabangg 2 as it show us more of Chulbul Pandey emotional side. Here I have to agree with Getfilmy that Arbaaz is better at shooting the family-romance scenes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 54 other followers

%d bloggers like this: