Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dabang: Cop. Lover. Rebel.

I’ve decided that, when watching foreign language movies without subtitles, I prefer the plot be simple to nonexistent and the dialogue superfluous and uninspiring. After all, what I’m really there for is the action, dancing, and slapstick style comedy. Fortunately, the Indian movies in theatres of late have not disappointed, and Dabang takes the cake.

This movie, starring Salman Kahn (one of the three Kahns of Bollywood, and the last one to check off my list) as a no-nonsense cop in an Uttar Pradesh village, was a conglomeration of several movie styles. The film opened with a Bollywood dance number involving a lot of hip thrusting and drawing audience participation in the form of whistles and shouts. It quickly moved into a hardcore fight scene in which the hero dodges flying panes of glass in Matrix style, pausing for a brief dance party every time one of the baddies’ cell phone rings.

Then, the hero meets the heroine and woos her in a clumsy fashion distinctly reminiscent of Inspector Clusoe in The Pink Panther. The requisite Indian moustache helps the association. The movie wanders on for some time with no plot but plenty of hilarious scenes made even more so because they are meant to be serious but couldn’t be more ridiculous if they tried.

The best moment comes at the very end and, unlike my friends who had read the review, I had no warning as to the pure amazingness that awaited. During the showdown between hero and villain, the hero is losing ground until he discovers that the villain killed his mother. This revelation unleashes a whole new level of fury and the camera zooms in on his already sizable biceps and pecs as they bulge and the shirt starts to split. Then a gust of wind sweeps the shredded shirt away, leaving Salman Kahn standing against the sky in a blaze of muscle-bound glory. Whistles galore, of course.

So, recipe for ridiculousness: Bollywood + Matrix + Pink Panther + The Hulk. And honestly, who needs a plot or memorable dialogue when you have all of the above?

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