Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Dabangg 2 and Salman Khan versus Ajay Devgn

You know a movie is in trouble when you could use any of the following phrases to describe it:

This is a full-on entertainer, leave your brains at home!
This movie is for Salman fans!
Fans of the Dabangg franchise will have a great time!
This movie is paisa-vasool!
Full on time pass!

 Happily, Dabangg 2 is not only all of those but its also a decent time at the movies. Why? Because the sheer intent of the movie is so audacious that you can't help but admire how lovingly its been made for potboiler fans. There is bone crunching action, no pretense at a building a story (let alone a plot), a marginalized heroine (Sonakshi Sinha) and plenty of paan bidi songs. There are several half-hearted attempts at adding some family-in-danger thrills. They comprehensively fizzle out. Salman Khan winks his way through all of it - daring you to trust him and come along for the ride.

Arbaaz Khan, who directed this movie, once said that he was trying to make Dabanng, only much bigger and better. It's not like he doesn't try. In one scene, Deepak Dobriyal, playing the villain's younger brother, decides to abduct a girl from the altar. Salman shows up and beats the crap out of him (par for anyone not Salman in this movie). Arbaaz gives us the goon's point of view. We see the camera spin around and settle on the abductee before careening down. We realize Salman's snapped the guy's neck. What a cool and utterly unexpected way to shoot this scene! There are more smatterings of cleverness like this throughout the movie. But if Arbaaz could have taken Salman off his pedestal and infused some real danger in the movie, Dabangg 2 might have rocked.

In any case, enough about Dabangg 2 and more about its box office - which is far more interesting! Recently I met the owner of a multiplex over dinner at a friend's place in Baroda and started discussing the collections of all the movies in 2012.

"Isn't it amazing how Ajay Devgn has built such a big box office presence?" I asked

"Yes," said the multiplex owner, "He makes good movies. He works really hard. But..."

"But what?"

"His movies would make so much more money if he was Salman Khan!"

Man, what a way to be judged! Since Dabanng 2 felt so familiar to one of Devgn's own hits from 2011 - Singham - I put together this comparison of both movies - judge for yourself!

Singham - Ajay Devgn Dabangg 2 - Salman Khan
Devgn is a super cop who beats up bad guys mercilessly  Salman is a super cop who wise cracks and beats up bad guys mercilessly
Lots of slo-mo dhaasu fights that defy the laws of physics  Lots of slo-mo dhaasu fights that defy the laws of physics
Small town cop gets transferred to big city (Goa) and faces big villain Small town cop transfers himself to big city (Kanpur) and faces big villain
Cop's love interest shows up to sing songs and pout Cop's love interest shows up to sing songs and pout
Bad guy Prakash Raj threatens Devgn with dire consequences Bad guy Prakash Raj threatens Salman with dire consequences
The villain decides its not too much of a stretch and runs for politicial office The villain decides its not too much of a stretch and runs for political office
Our hero refuses rishwat and trashes the bad guys Our hero pockets the rishwat and cracks skulls
Prakash Raj harasses Ajay Devgn Salman harasses everyone, including his own family
Devgn teases his girlfriend's father Salman teases his father about a girlfriend
Devgn takes his shirt off to fight What do you think?
Budget Rs. 20 crores Budget Rs. 60 crores
Box office collections: Rs. 140 crores Box office collections in 17 days: Rs 152 crores


Mind Rush said...

Wah, wah!
Maan gaye, Drift bhaiyaa! Kya sundar post hai!!
If anyone in Kanpur can match up to to Chulbul's punches, or Munni's ab crunches, it's your pen (er, keyboard!)
Loved the comparison....fab job!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Looking forward to your Bollywood 101 post! I can tell already that I've found the expert. :)