SINGH SAAB THE GREAT
PEN, Alumbra Entertainment And Media Pvt. Ltd. and Shantketan Entertainments’ Singh Saab The Great (UA) is yet another film about a righteous man’s fight against corruption. Saranjit Talwar (Sunny Deol) is a collector posted in a town where Bhoodev’s (Prakash Raj) word is almost law. Saranjit is offered bribes by Bhoodev but since he is a principled collector, he does not accept them and, therefore, stops all illegal businesses of Bhoodev.
Saranjit’s sister, Simar (newfind Anjali Abrol), is to be married, and to teach Saranjit a lesson, Bhoodev asks Simar’s to-be father-in-law to mix poison in the food his daughter-in-law would consume on the day of the wedding. The father-in-law is distraught but even before the new bride can be poisoned to death, the poison is mixed by Bhoodev’s man in the drink offered to Saranjit’s wife, Minni (Urvashi Rautela), at the wedding. She is rushed to hospital and an emergency operation is to be performed on her but Bhoodev has the surgeon’s son kidnapped so that he can’t come to the hospital for the surgery. Bhoodev forces Saranjit to sign on some papers to further his interest and only after Saranjit has done so, against his principles, does the surgeon arrive. Unfortunately, it is too late by then, and Minni dies in the hospital.
Still not content, Bhoodev gets Saranjit jailed but he is released from prison before serving his full term, due to his good behaviour.
Rather than seeking revenge (badla), Saranjit adopts the path of bringing in change (badlaav). He soon becomes a public hero for heralding change and is respectfully referred to by the public as Singh Saab. Now with a turban and a full-grown beard, Saranjit comes to the same town and takes on Bhoodev with a view to reforming him. He exposes him on national television with the assistance of a TV reporter, Shikha Chaturvedi (Amrita Rao). Irked, Bhoodev now kidnaps Saranjit’s sister and little nephew. Not to be left behind, Saranjit kidnaps Bhoodev’s wife and daughter.
It is now a fight to finish. Who wins the battle between good and evil?
Shaktiman’s story is dated and although corruption is a perennial evil of society, it does not offer any new angle whatsoever. The point of change (badlaav) as against revenge (badla) is about the only novelty in the story but for some unexplained reason, the track of change takes a backseat mid-way through the drama and is brought back in the forefront only in the end. The film, therefore, becomes a routine revenge drama despite promising to be a unique fare. Shaktiman’s screenplay keeps reminding the viewers of Singham which turned out to be a landmark film on corruption in society. And since the screenplay is not half as good as that of Singham, the audience would feel let down because comparisons in their mind are unavoidable.
The first half is terribly slow and boring. To add to the viewers’ woes, the hero, Sunny Deol, has not taken care of his looks and costumes before he sports a turban and beard. In some scenes, his unshaven look (with a suit) irritates the audience. The pace picks up after interval and the drama gains momentum. Although the second half also lacks in novelty, the action and confrontation scenes between Saranjit and Bhoodev keep the viewers interested to an extent.
The upright Saranjit signing the papers under duress does not go down too well with the audience, more so because he is unable to save his wife’s life after compromising on his principles. In other words, his bending his principles may still have been digested if that could save his wife from the jaws of death, but when she dies, the compromise looks ridiculous. Besides, the entire drama looks oft-repeated. Also, Saranjit, Bhoodev and some of their cronies shout so much in the film that their confrontation scenes – which, incidentally, are the best thing in the film – will quite put off the multiplex audience. Even otherwise, the overdose of violence makes the film more for the masses and the single-screen cinema audience. There is hardly anything in it for the multiplex audience. Emotions are conspicuous by their absence. Shaktiman’s dialogues are better than his routine story and ordinary screenplay.
Sunny Deol breathes fire in action scenes and acts ably in the other scenes. But he now needs to be extra-careful of his looks and clothes. Debutante Urvashi Rautela looks good and does a fair job. Her dances are graceful. Prakash Raj is extraordinary as Bhoodev. His acting is exemplary and his sense of timing, perfect. Amrita Rao leaves a mark. Anjali Abrol makes an impressive debut as Simar. Johny Lever, Sanjay Mishra, Yashpal Sharma, Manoj Pahwa, Raj Premi and Amit Behl get limited scopes and are okay. Aseem Merchant makes his presence felt. Newfind Simran Khan adds oomph with her sexy dance in the item song. Shahbaaz Khan and Rajit Kapur, both in special appearances, are effective. Dharmendra and Bobby Deol’s brief appearances in a song-dance are good gimmicks.
Director Anil Sharma has ensured that the masses get their dose of action and to that extent, his direction is effective. But his choice of subject and lack of novelty in it and his over-emphasis on violence will keep the multiplex audience completely dissatisfied. Music (Anand Raaj Anand; title song composed by Sonu Nigam) is more functional than anything else. Sameer and Kumaar’s lyrics don’t add much to the songs. Rekha and Chinni Prakash’s choreography is okay. Monty Sharma’s background music is fair. Tinnu Verma and Kanal Kannan’s action and stunt scenes are targeted at the masses who will enjoy them thoroughly. S. Gopinath’s camerawork is fairly good. Jayant Deshmukh’s sets are okay. Editing (Ashfaque Makrani) is reasonably good after interval.
On the whole, Singh Saab The Great is a routine action and revenge drama for the masses only and has some chance in the single-screen cinemas, more of Northern India. Its business in the multiplexes will be weak. In the final tally, it will entail losses to several of its distributors.