The Myth Of The Saviour Policeman (Review of Singham Returns)

283388_223573954346922_107082065996112_542364_5285302_nWhen we start the first of several fight sequences of the film, the hero grabs a gun, and just steps out in open and starts firing. This is where a thriller is supposed to make you shiver and anticipate a bullet hurting him. But you just know that the bullets are going to miss him. And surprise, surprise, even when once a bullet is rude enough to hit him, it probably doesn’t pierce his skin, because we never hear about it again. It has no consequences at all…. except to make him angrier.

And that is weird because he is quite angry to begin with. I mean, the scowl is practically stitched on the Devgan face. And that face is so serious that when he needs to express love, he says “Ata Majhi Satakli”. (No really, that happens. He just says that in a tender voice). So this is the almost cartoonishly “tough guy” hero up against cartoonishly evil, 80’s style villains. A godman that looks like Chandraswami and his politician friend. They are up against a leader who is getting increasingly popular, so they get him killed off in a massive gunfight. (This is Rohit Shetty film, even if there are rats in house it has to be dealt with in a massive gunfight. Thats just how it is).

Killing opposing politicians in the middle of elections? Really? These people never heard of “sympathy votes” in India? They act really surprised when they find out about this later (about 8-10 fight scenes later, I think). They are running “black money” out of unprotected warehouses in the middle of a village. They need to stuff Crores in an Ambulance and drive through several toll booths to get there. Then they just leave it to one guy and his goons, and hire such poor goons that one guy and zero guns take over that warehouse in 5 minutes flat. Seriously yaar, I know our leaders are supposed to be incompetent fools but SO incompetent & SUCH fools? Wow. I really hope the policemen take over the country.

1a87fd6428ca854ced32f7844117a573_LAnd they do, sort of, because the public turns against them. Why, you ask, does the public turns against its faithful and honest protectors? Because they
1. Try to arrest a popular Godman in the middle of a sermon with hundreds of civilians present there.
2. His Honesty, the Hero, beats up the Godman on the stage, in front of his devotees, for the crime of saying something His Honesty doesn’t like.
3. When a few troublemakers create a small trouble, His Honesty then orders a Lathi charge on all the devotees
4. He then brings the only witness against the Godman through a large, uncontrolled crowd, and is surprised when someone kills that witness.
When someone proposes that he be investigated for his role in all this, he takes out his uniform and throws it at the Chief Minister. The CM, by the way, is on the side of Police, helping His Honesty as much as he can.

singham-returns3To be honest, there are some points where Rohit Shetty appears to have a clue. There is one speech by a civilian against the police & system that got applause in the theatre. There are jokes about the hero being old, and using Daya to break open a door is always funny, even to someone who has never watched CID. But then there is a moment when a couple of cops are casually beating a guy hanging upside down in their custody, and leave when they get a call…. I think that was supposed to be funny…. I just fail to find police brutality funny. Because I see police not as a protection from those in power but a tool of those in power. In the struggle against corruption and for liberty they are culprits, not allies.

Thats why, when the theatre cheers for the hero beating up -even shooting- people he doesn’t like, I felt more and more depressed. His Honesty is actually His Brutality. In the fight of that bullet against the hero, I was at least a little on the side of the bullet. Somebody please stop him.

PS: This is a loud film. Very very loud. And look out for the metallic “ting” sound that occasionally means the Hero has hit someone especially hard


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