Salman-Sonakhi in 'Dabangg 2'|Kareena-Salman in <em>Fevicol Se</em>

Let’s rewind back to 2010’s ‘Dabangg’ and remember the good and unique parts of the film: Salman Khan played a cop in all the glory he is famous for, Sonakshi Sinha made her debut and also left a mark in a role that she could easily have been forgotten in. As well as this, Sonu Sood played perhaps one of B-town’s most handsome villains of recent times and the film overall had the feel of a Hollywood western movie complete with a cowboy-boot feel, South American accents and dialogues that one remembers even today. The film was produced by Arbaaz Khan and wife Malaika and the latter made a special appearance in an item song, achieving inescapable popularity. What with the same formula, a continuation of the plot and a brand new director in Arbaaz Khan (as well as a different antagonist), how exactly would ‘Dabangg 2’ keep to the hugely crazy, larger-than-life and exaggerated feel that the first instalment gave in bucket-loads? And, perhaps more importantly, would it strike a chord with the audiences which are now two years more mature (one would hope) than when the prequel hit the screens?

Salman-Sonakhi in 'Dabangg 2'
Salman-Sonakhi in 'Dabangg 2'

‘Dabangg 2’ brings back Chulbul ‘Robin Hood’ Pandey (Khan) who is now married to his love from the first instalment, Rajjo (Sonakhi Sinha). Pandey takes a transfer to Kanpur with his family in tow – including his brother Makhi (Arbaaz Khan) and father (Vinod Khanna). Pandey keeps to his style of policing in never fearing the baddie and this is evident when his path crosses that of Thakur Bachcha (Prakash Raj) and his family.

It’s safe to say that although the scene was set by ‘Dabangg’, Arbaaz Khan as a newbie director keeps with the theme in all its greatness and never does he allow it to falter. However, what tends to let him down in places is the lack of a strongstory-line There is so much attention given to Chulbul Pandey, the action scenes and a what feels like a trying-too-hard-ness to keep the audience entertained that one seems to realise pretty early on that there is really no point in expecting a significant plot or a justifiable development of the original.

Salman Khan plays the character of the much-acclaimed and loved Robin Hood Pandey with a lot of ease. He is well known for and given a lot of credit for roles which put him forward as an action hero but who also allow capacity for comedy, romance and the odd spout of mischief. ‘Dabangg 2’ is no different. In fact, it is arguably evident in ‘Dabangg 2’ that Khan very much shoulders the film. He entertains to the max and gives audiences a reason to whistle. Sinha does her best to create a mark yet again but doesn’t quite seem to have enough scenes to really do so. That said, she totally looks the part of a dutiful wife, bhabhi and bahu. Arbaaz, Khanna and Mahie Gill – who also returns as Makhi’s wife, Nirmala – seem to be merely there to support a very capable protagonist. Prakash Raj renders a role totally apt for him and one which audiences have seen him in plenty of times beforehand. Out of the ‘supporting’ cast, it has to be said that Khanna does particularly well in the light-hearted scenes with Khan, portraying a love between a father and son in a way ‘Dabangg’, in plot, wasn’t able to.

Kareena-Salman in <em>Fevicol Se</em>
Kareena-Salman in Fevicol Se

It has to be said that the soundtrack of ‘Dabangg 2’, once again composed by the talented duo Sajid-Wajid, is a reflection of their work in ‘Dabangg’. In fact, it seems almost all of their songs are independently comparable to individual tracks from the first instalment. Having said that, theyexpectantlyhave a look and feel which is fresh but yet in keeping with the ‘Dabangg’ style. Dagabaaz Re and the title track have a particular resonance as does item song Fevicol Se which Kareena Kapoor features in. The original Munni, Malaika Arora Khan, returns with her beautiful and energetic self in Pandeyji Seeti, instantly recreating the nostalgia of Munni Badnaam.

One can put a hand on the heart and say that there is nothing particularly new or improved about ‘Dabangg 2’. It seems the makers, actors and music directors have very much made an attempt to give a fresh take on ‘Dabangg’ in a more than familiar package two years later but one thing that can be said about ‘Dabangg 2’ is that it achieves most of what it sets out to; it’s illogical, has laugh-out-loud humour, scenes that are out of the world and, most importantly, puts fun – and Salman Khan – at its forefront. The dialogues, however, may not stick in one’s head quite as much as the ones from ‘Dabangg’ – but this can be forgiven.

‘Dabangg 2’ does exactly what is says on the package and, that too, with a topless Salman Khan signature scene. If you’re expecting any different then you will be very much disappointed.

BizAsia Showbiz Rating: 4/5