Much of the reason why we love good masala movies is their ability to surprise and delight us while still telling the same old story over and over again. In this respect, the last big fight sequence in Dhool ranks among the most delightful.
It is not surprising for the hero to bash up a whole bunch of assorted goons without breaking a sweat. It is not surprising either if he does it to protect a little old lady the goons are chasing. When said fight comes right at the end of an action movie, you don’t really expect it to do much out of the ordinary. You don’t even suspect anything when the goons bash up a bunch of folk singers who try to come to the lady’s rescue — par for the course, you say to yourself. So you settle back into your plush multiplex seat, stifle a yawn and wait for it to get over.
Then old lady breaks into song.
It takes a few seconds for us to register that she is, actually, singing. She stands there, five feet tall and portly, a wide grin on her weathered features, dancing a little jig as she belts out an old folk tune, with one of the aforementioned artists providing percussion. It is to this tune, not the usual dramatic score, that the hero goes about his business.
That scene was parodied on TV and other movies, made the old lady (Paravai Muniyamma) famous and was responsible, at least in part, for Dhool‘s stupendous box office success.
And with good reason. I’ve been exhilarated by fight sequences that stretch the imagination, gratified when the hero has chosen to break his shackles at exactly the right time, thrilled when he has added intelligence to physical prowess in some key sequences… Dhool marks the only fight sequence that has made me want to use the adjective “delightful”.
The Youtube video of this sequence is embedded here, thanks to memsaab: