Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Dabangg 2: A sequel that doesn’t take it forward
It seems unfair to devote a whole review to Arbaaz Khan’s “Dabangg 2″, given that this is hardly a film. As a friend said, it’s a collection of deleted scenes from “Dabangg” that have been put together haphazardly to make the skeleton of a film.
Just as Salman Khan makes no pretence about acting, brother Arbaaz Khan makes no pretence about directing. “Dabangg 2″ is an endless sequence of comedy-song-fight-romance. I can almost imagine the director mentally counting the time elapsed between a fight sequence and a song. A half-hour into the film, I could tell which was next, irrespective of whether it made sense.
This then, is a montage of Salman Khan being himself, dancing, romancing, cracking lewd jokes and of course, beating up the bad guys with some pretty outlandish stunts. Everything else is incidental and of no importance.
Arbaaz Khan cobbles up just enough of a story to be able to allow his brother to do all that will get the crowds in the stalls hooting and whistling, and no more. Salman Khan’s character in the original film, Chulbul Pandey, is transferred to Kanpur, where he comes face to face with Baccha Bhaiyya (Prakash Raj), a local politician who runs a fiefdom in the city.
Of course, Pandey is determined to finish off the bad guys, and kills his people publicly, during wedding celebrations, and on street corners, without anyone batting an eyelid.
On the face of it, this is another one of those films that requires you to suspend all belief and watch it for Salman Khan. On another level, this is a film that angered me no end. Khan glorifies so many things that are wrong with our society, and he does it brazenly enough.
After he rescues a child from kidnappers, Chulbul Pandey thinks nothing of asking the parents to “donate” the ransom money to him, as a thank you for rescuing their child. Later, he tells his father lackadaisically, “I put it in the Chulbul Pandey fund.”
“Dabangg 2″ also objectifies women in the worst way possible. Watch the Kareena Kapoor song “Fevicol” and you will know what I mean. She gyrates, sighs, pouts, refers to herself as a tandoor, while men are gaping at her in the lewdest fashion.
When Bollywood, which forms so many of our cultural perceptions and opinions, portrays women as helpless damsels who need to be rescued or objects of desire who are meant to be conquered, is it any wonder that we live in the world we live in?