'Gabbar Singh' (Telugu)
Director: Harish Shankar
Cast: Pawan Kalyan, Shruti Haasan, Abhimanyu Singh, Ali, Brahmanandam
What is common between Salman Khan and Pawan Kalyan? Controversies apart? Now, they have to their credit a similar movie in two different languages, both have danced alongside Bollywood bombshell Malaika Arora and also they can boast of making police officers look cool and fun for once.
Yes, Pawan’s miserable run at the box-office has ended! The 'Thammudu' and 'Khushi' star is back in form as 'Gabbar Singh'. As a die-hard 'Sholay' fan in the movie, he idolises Gabbar Singh and delivers dialogues with passion. “Arey oh, Gabbar ke faujiyo! Utha bandook aur laga nishana” (All you Gabbar’s soldiers, pick up your guns and aim at your targets!), he thunders with a comic touch.
Constable Samba (Ali) is his right hand man. Set in the Kondaveedu region, the movie starts off with two brothers watching Sholay in a theatre, with just the Gabbar Singh scenes playing, making the choice of the title obvious. And no prizes for guessing who plays the little Pawan. Puri’s son, Aakash! Phew! The kid surely has a bright future. Venkat Ratnam Naidu (Pawan Kalyan), who becomes a police officer by chance, comes with the reputation of a zillion transfers, courtesy his unorthodox policing. He either rides on a horse, in a rickshaw sometimes (with 'Mutha Mestri' playing in the background), a jeep or an Enfield Machismo, depending on his mood and even changes his police station board to “Gabbar Singh Studio”.
Well, quite a character, he even plays kabbadi and antakshari. “Naku evaru poti kaadu. Naaku neene pooti,” (I have no competitors. I compete with myself) he muses.
Despite his evident paunch, a weird pout and a trimmed moustache, he manages to put together his dance moves. His comic timing is bang on. A complete one man army, Pawan manages to carry the entire movie on his shoulders, with his famous side smile. And yes, he also meets the love of his life Bala or Bhagya Lakshmi (Shruti Haasan) in the most Bollywood way ever. He bumps into her -- she falls -- he holds her by the waist -- they make eye contact like forever - love at first sight happens - He dances randomly in the market. His constables are like the omnipresent sidekicks-cum-brothers-cum workers, who follow him everywhere.
The first half of the movie keeps the audience engaged, thanks to some sheer entertainment. But the movie loses track in the second half. However, more than the story, this is made for Pawan. Director Harish Shankar, who calls himself an ardent fan of Pawan, puts in all the effort to revive the past glory of the star. Pawan Kalyan fans are in for a treat for he gets to be funny, wicked and belligerent and sometimes, all at once. A few of his old hits randomly played in the movie, remind people of his good old days.
Devi Sri Prasad’s music is a hit, yet again and the background score keeps the tempo going. Screenplay, cinematography and editing work are good, but a little more connect would have created wonders. Shruti Hassan has very little screen presence, and the voice-over doesn’t suit her personality. Ali, Brahmanandam and the whole bunch of villain “chamchas” do bring in fresh comedy flavour. Siddhappa Naidu, played by Abhimanyu Singh, is just about okay as his non-Telugu language skills become too obvious. Notwithstanding the controversies, Gabbar Singh is a likeable guy.