There is a reason why superheroes click. It is because they promise you absolute assurance in a rather unpredictable and occasionally dangerous world. That no matter how many explosions rip the world apart, you will be safe...if only in the confines of the movie theatre. Singham is one such muscle-bound- superhero, with an enviable waistline, eyes that can bore holes into concrete and a swagger that looks particularly good in slow motion.
Especially framed against that timeless montage of a jeep suspended above a fireball. He occasionally breaks into spicy Marathi, has a whistle worthy special move modelled on a roaring, leaping lion (full marks to Rohit Shetty for 'subtle' referencing), and romances his lady with a frown and a barely there smile. And in his second outing Singham Returns, our superhero has acquired almost mythical fame. Whether he shoots from the lip or the hip, his target almost always gets wounded.
He can walk anywhere and take on anyone, be it a bunch of spoilt rich kids or hardened criminals and politicians. And even when he is shot, he walks like John Wayne would after eating Vada Pav. And as always Rohit Shetty adds to this almost impossibly heroic tale of one man against everyone, a little sprinkling of romance, flower filled cafes, impossibly nice parents living in picture-perfect homes and a heroine dressed in spring colours.
The music ( by Ankit Tiwari and Meet Bros Anjjan) is soothing if you shut your ears to Yo Yo Honey Singh's lyrical genius. It is stirring and restful, especially the Sufiana prayer picturised with moving sincerity around a dargah. That is the thing about Shetty. Regardless of the kind of cinema he makes, you can't fault his sincerity. He believes in his kind of cinema and gives it everything he knows about the Indian audience and the essence of a commercial hit. He does not take his brand, his success or his audience for granted and his films are not arrogant like those made by Sajid Khan. That is also perhaps why they work.
You cannot go to a Rohit Shetty film expecting to meet Vikramaditya Motwane. He will give you what he is best at. Cinematic hooks, shootout sequences sprawled across Mumbai's streets, a hero that walks the line between mythology and realism like he owns it, (suspected Botox notwithstanding) and a heroine that gives you comic and visual relief. And of course a worthy villain. In this case, Amole Gupte who celebrates psychotic craziness with a sense of humour in quirky T-shirts and girly headbands when he is not dispensing wisdom about life and death as a new age guru. He is brilliant like only he could have been.
The film's theme revolving around the resurgence of conscientious politics and entrenched power centres is not profound but rings true. Shetty has picked a great bunch of ensemble actors including a old woman who taunts the righteous hero for hitting a child because he cannot yet nab the villain. Ajay Devgan and Kareena Kapoor play themselves and the film celebrates the business of commercial cinema like nobody's business.
Verdict: Watch it if you have had enough of reality.