Singh is Kinng

I have watched both Anees Bazmee movies released this year (Welcome and this one) and — speaking as only someone doing statistics for a living would when confronted with a sample size of two — I think I understand his method.

He gets up one morning and says to himself, “I am going to write a comedy today.” His ingredients:

  1. Two funny characters, done so well that you smile as soon as they appear on screen, and crave their next appearance when they are gone.
  2. A story to put them in. It doesn’t matter if this part is good. In fact, if it is bad, ingredient #1 above stands out even more clearly. You don’t really need me to tell you what happens in the movie. The plot isn’t why you’re going to see it, and you and I both know it.
  3. A hero, who just has to bring his charm and star power to the party. A heroine, who just has to bring her drop-dead gorgeousness. That doesn’t sound quite right. Gorgeosity? Gorgi… nah, never mind. You know what I mean. Akshay and Katrina, basically.
  4. One more gorgeous woman, just for good measure. In this case, Neha Dhupia filling in (and not so well, in more ways than one) for Mallika Sherawat.
  5. Assorted supporting characters, including talented actors who could do so much better than this. Last time, it was Paresh Rawal. This time, it’s Om Puri. Their brief is essentially just two words: look annoyed. They can do annoyed quite well, and I’m assuming they get paid amazingly well for it. But God! The waste!
  6. Assorted sentimental nonsense, done badly.

To his credit, the stuff he does well, he does quite well indeed. Ingredient #1 in this movie comprises Sonu Sood and Javed Jaffrey. The former plays a crime kingpin named Lucky, the titular king before a series of unfortunate events causes the mantle to pass to Akshay for a while. The latter plays his half-deaf, half-blind brother Mika.

From the word go, Jaffrey is in top form. The man seems to be enjoying a renaissance of sorts in recent times. After some ill-fated early attempts in movies like 100 Days, and a stint in the wilderness with movies like Jajantaram Mamantaram, it is quite gratifying to see him back in form.

Sood starts off playing it straight, until a sequence of events leave him mostly paralyzed. It is rare that an actor can get so much mileage out of doing nothing. Outside of Satish Shah in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (and Nagesh in Magalir Mattum), the examples don’t come easily. A lot depends on the actor, and Sood proves to be capable of striking just the right static expression. But much more depends on the context you put the actor in. This movie features a virtuoso extended sequence where Sood is being moved around on a wheelchair while his partners in crime discuss the hero’s romantic complications. The scene is so well done that one hardly remembers the dialogue and focuses entirely on Sood.

Now, if only the rest of the movie had a bit more of that madcap genius, I would’ve given it an unqualified thumbs up. As it stands, it is a good movie with two characters, wrapped up inside a mediocre movie with the rest of the cast.

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12 thoughts on “Singh is Kinng

  1. Hmm… same guy who made Welcome. Thats not exactly a recommendation for any film! I remember waiting for the fun to start in Welcome which it never did. Is this one going to deliver on that?

  2. Shweta>> My guess is you’ll enjoy at least parts of the movie. It meanders a bit and the serious parts don’t work so well, but it has its points.

    bollyviewer>> If you didn’t like Welcome, chances are this one isn’t gonna do much for you.

    ~r

  3. Not fair, dude. I went to watch it based on your evaluation. Sorry to observe it’s not a patch on Welcome, and that’s saying something. At least Welcome wasn’t preachy and the timing and dynamics between Nana and Anil worked. And Ms. Sherawat rocked. This film has about four to five funny moments in all.

  4. Thanks for your views, Ramsu. The only reasons I had a decent experience with Welcome last year were Anil Kapoor and Nana Patekar. The reason I skipped this for now was that Akshay admitted recently that the flow of the film-making process went from the name ‘Singh is King’ (which he read on the back of a truck somewhere), to the plot. Did you think the plot was lacking? Was it obvious that the title came before the plot?

    Also, have you seen Dhamaal (2007) starring Sanjay Dutt and Javed Jaffrey? I thought that was a genuine comedy — good, clean fun (although inspired from a Hollywood film), and Jaffrey was fantastic in it.

    Cheers!

  5. Partho>> Ah, well, it had to happen sometime, I guess 🙂 I didn’t find the movie all that great, but I did like Sonu Sood and Javed Jaffrey a lot. This one was preachy, yes, but it did it so badly that I didn’t felt preached to, just amused at its amateurishness.

    theBollywoodFan>> It looks like the title came before the plot. Come to think of it, everything came before the plot. (See #2 in my review above.) And yeah, I did see Dhamaal and totally loved Javed Jaffrey in that one! I thought the movie meandered a bit in the middle and parts of it didn’t work so well, but it was fun on the whole.

    ~r

  6. I actually started laughing at Sood during the first action sequence when he’s floating above the rest of them like some demented Vishnu wannabe 😀 Jaaved was kind of wasted imo. I kept waiting for them to do something with the resemblance factor but … nothing. Which isn’t surprising because from watching the movie I’d guess that the guy who was supposed to play the father dropped out and they thought it’d be simpler to rope Jaaved in rather than go to the trouble of casting someone else. That wheelchair sequence is the bomb though!

  7. If you want a demented Vishnu wannabe, go watch Dasavatharam. You get the whole set of ten. 🙂

    Maybe Bazmee and Jaffrey wanted to do a Strangelove type thing, where Peter Sellers played three roles. Except I don’t think they set their sights so high.

    Javed was a bit of a disappointment towards the end, after it is revealed that he is a criminal mastermind. Or wannabe, anyway. I was hoping for some flight of inspired lunacy, like Paresh Rawal rhapsodizing about his egg empire in Andaz Apna Apna, and all we got was nonsense about glasses and hearing aids.

    ~r

  8. He does have something, I agree. I found him wooden in Aashiq Banaaya Aapne (yeah, I admit I watched that), and don’t even get me started on his work as the random bad guy in Tamil movies. But he seems to have found his groove now.

    ~r

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