Chulbul Pandey, how I adore thee!

Every once in a while a film comes along that hits the nail right on the head. A film that makes you retract all your pre-established thoughts regarding a certain actor or a certain genre of film. A film that begs to be watched over and over again because is it JUST THAT GOOD! The moment I saw the trailer for Dabangg I was compelled to see it, despite the fact that it was a Salman Khan vehicle. It showed great promise of being one helluva good time, and when something has that kind of pull on you what else are you suppose to do except give in and enjoy the ride? So that's exactly what I did!

My repertoire of true masala flicks is shamefully short, so I don't have a whole lot to compare Arbaaz Khan's offering to, but one thing I do know is that first time director Abhinav Kashyap knows his stuff. Dabangg has got a most excellent mix of actions, romance, comedy, melodrama, fantastic music, hot item girl number and the most brilliantly cheesy shirt ripping off sequence I have ever seen (and I am not kidding - I had to rewind and watch it several times!).

Besides the aforementioned shirt scene, there was so much I loved about this film. We get a bit of family history right at the beginning and then it's BAM! - right into the action. I have to honestly say that I didn't care for the violent action in Salman's Wanted, but here the fighting is choreographed so well. We get a bit of Matrix in there, but it's all done with a comical edge that it feels fresh and exciting. When Chulbul stops in the middle of a fight scene to dance to a ringtone I just about died laughing! This is the type of humour that is clearly present throughout the movie. That's not to say that the fight scenes are funny. Far from it. Salman Khan means business when he's dealing with the bad guys, even if he punctuates the ending with a chuckle. It's just the type of film that is way OTT and doesn't take itself seriously at all, which is 100% the point!

Who wouldn't love this face?

Even this beauty is not impervious to Chulbul's blundering charms

Central to the story is Chulbul's quest to win the headstrong Rajo's heart and hand, played strongly by newcomer Sonakshi Sinha, but, like any good Hindi film, there's so much more! We get family drama that sees Chulbul butting heads with a step-father (Vinod Khanna)who has never accepted him and his useless bhai Makkhi (Arbaaz Khan who looks strangely like an Indian version of Quentin Tarantino with a moochi to me), all while loving Hindi maa (Dimple Kapadia) tries to keep the peace. Politics plays a part as well as we see the corrupt, power hungry and extremely buff (!) Chedi Singh (Sonu Sood) looking to consolidate power and get rid of the competition, and that includes a certain cop that keeps getting in his way. There's a lot going on, but the glue that binds it all together is the self appointed Robin Hood who steals from the bad and gives to himself. It's all about Chulbul people!


And this movie is all about Salman Khan. There is not a single doubt in my mind that Sallu bhai is the only actor out there that had the sheer audacity, chutzpah if you will, to play this character. Every line, every expression, every dance move screams Salman and he does it with such panache that you can't help but enjoy the ride he's taking you on. I am generally not a fan of Salman, really only enjoying him thus far in Andaz Apna Apna, but whether it was his own personality shining through (as he has often said that he doesn't ever act, he just plays different versions of himself), or his snappy comic timing, but Salman is Chulbul, no doubt about it, and THE reason to watch this film!

Add to the action, the hoopla, the amour a killer OST by Sajid-Wajid complete with some very interesting choreography. Munni Badnaam, Hud Hud Dabangg and Humka Peeni Hai are all extremely danceable. I won't ever forget project Munni, but even if shaking your tail feather isn't quite your thing, the songs are seriously catchy, even the movie's ballads are interesting to watch on screen.

(Loving the dancing in this - esp the belt move!)

Over the top and extremely fun, self mockery or not, Dabangg makes it's way onto my list of one of the best films of the year!

9 Response to "Chulbul Pandey, how I adore thee!"

  1. Filmi Girl says:
    November 23, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    Yayyyyy! I loved Dabangg, too! Very excellent write-up, madam! :)

    I have high hopes for Sallu's upcoming films. The boy is BACK!

  2. Shell says:
    November 23, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    Thank you my dear!

    After the seemingly disasterous Veer (which I will probably steer clear from forever), this movie was THE perfect way to get back on top! I actually look forward to seeing what else he comes up with!

  3. K8yR says:
    November 23, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    I loved your review of this film. I liked it too, it was hilarious...I'm fighting becoming a Salman fan, because he seems like such an ass...but he's winning me over! ;-)

  4. Shell says:
    November 23, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    Yay! Glad you liked the movie and the review! It's funny because he's such an ass in this movie, but a strangely lovable ass if that makes sense. I never thought I'd see the day where I couldn't wait to put on a Sallu movie again and again!

  5. Magpie Ima says:
    November 23, 2010 at 6:30 PM

    I have never been a Salman Khan fan and only went to this because it looked like the kind of cheesy action film my teenage son love. I was amazed at how much I lvoed this movie--enough to see it twice in the theater and then buy the DVD. Such a perfectly balanced mix of everything I love in Bollywood movies. Great review, by the way!

  6. Shell says:
    November 23, 2010 at 8:43 PM

    Shukriya Magpie Imaji! Just when you sit and watch something utterly horrid (like Naach for example), you witness Indian cinema for what it's suppose to be! Perfect movie for sure! I could be talked into being a convert if he keeps it up!

  7. theBollywoodFan says:
    January 18, 2011 at 10:01 AM

    Really enjoyed your post, and SO glad you liked Dabangg!!! Just re-read your take on Wanted, it's interesting how the two compare. I too like Dabangg more, and yes, it's mostly for Salman. Just a joy to see him and his antics! I still can't get over the Jalwa ringtone scenes, only Govinda and Salman can execute something like that!

    I also recently saw Veer, and perhaps because I saw both in a span of two days, I kinda enjoyed it as well, believe it or not. :)

  8. BollyKonnection says:
    January 18, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    I absoutly loved this review. I loved Dabanng also. Its been a while since we seen a movie like this in Bollywood. Full of awesome songs, my favorite was the item number Munni Badnaam. I loved Salmans goofy antics, like when the cellphone rang and he starts dancing to the ringer :lol: It was great! Sonakshi is soo pretty too!

  9. Shell says:
    January 18, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    @tbf - It takes a brave soul to venture into Veer territory I think! However, if it's anything like Dabangg I could be swayed (though I seriously could not get over Salman's long haired OTT buffed up look).

    I'm not sure why I liked Dabangg so much more than Wanted. I think all the characters were likable in Dabangg, where's in Wanted I had such a hatred for Mahesh Manjrekar's character that it was difficult for me to watch all of his scenes.

    @BollyKonnnection - First of all, namaste aur swagat hai! I'm glad you enjoyed the review. It's much easier to review a movie that you know was made purely for fun than those that tread the murkey waters of deep thoughts! I think Sonakshi has a nice career ahead of her.

    Thanks for stopping by!