Dabangg_4Salman Khan is like a wild stallion, when let loose he’ll run over the entire film making a mess of it but when reined in he’ll take you on a ride of a life time.

Many of his famous ‘wanted’ or rather unwanted antics often leave the multiplex audience cold. So, as you walk into Dabnagg, you tend to be little circumspective of his Chulbul act doing rounds on TV, but barely a reel into the film and this philistine rascal charms the pants off you.

Here, I said it. I loved Chulbul Pandey. No matter how hard I resisted, he just made me submit to his impish streak. But I bet you won’t be able to help as well when you’ll see his ‘emosional’ story.

With his daddy gone, little Chulbul had to put up with Prajapati Pandey (Vinod Khanna) whom his mother Naini (Dimple Kapadia) married. Prajapati always loved Makhi or Makhanchan (Arbaaz Khan) more than his stepson. So bitter Chulbul one day shreds his horoscope, filial ties along with all the multiplex sensibilities we are so accustomed to now a days.

Enter the inspector Chulbul aka Robin hood Pandey, who finds refuge in beating up the bad eggs and sharing the booty with his mates and other needy folks. His coffers are full; he virtually rules Lalganj but a village belle Rajjo (Sonakshi Sinha) turns our man of steel into a love sick puppy, ergo you see him wooing his lady love incessantly in the first half.

Then there is a local youth leader Cheddi Singh (Sonu Sood) whom Chulbul has rubbed the wrong way.

Singh finds a way to get back at him through estranged Makhi and the latter ends up being a pawn in his hands. Just in time, Makhi finds the truth but till then enough goons get razed to death, stunt director S. Vijayan style and Pandey has had his revenge, Salman style.

I know there are going to be detractors for Dabangg‘s script and its hackneyed plot but you’ll have to see the film in its context.

Dabangg is easy-on-grey-cells sort of film but it works better than Akki’s latest outings or for that matter even Salman’s previous films. And the men responsible for it are director Abhinav Kashyap and the writer Dileep Shukla. They make Salman mouth the mealiest one-liners and to his credit the superstar carries them off pretty well.

Sonakshi Sinha has a classic old-time charm to her which makes her stand out among the plastic-silicon-size zero brigade of the tinsletown. She holds her own against Salman Khan in a Salman Khan film and that is suffice for this newbie to feel like a comer.

Abrbaaz, Dimple and Vinod Khanna are good in their roles. Mahi Gill’s cameo is pleasant but the real credit goes to Chulbul Pnadey’s spares, who assist this loud and kitschy character with their colloquial wit.

Sonu Sood shows a lot of promise. Mahesh Manjrekar still sounds like an inebriated Marathi Manoos in a UP village. But what the hey, you forget the minor glitches when you see Malaika, all in her elements, gyrating on an item number.

Dabangg is an out and out entertainer, a great watch for Salman fans but a must watch for those who are not his admirers. After all, how many times you get to see him not playing oh-so-Salman-Khan.

Go for it.

Rating ****

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