I say this Pandey ji from Laalgunj in UP is a policewala with pizzazz. In between bashing up the baddies black and blue, he takes out a few moments to admire his Ray Ban sunglasses, twirls them around between his fingers, and with a smart flick of the arm - like Rajnikanth does - he slips them right in the collar at his nape. There is a mild twitch of his neck. His stone-cold face betrays no emotion. But then, out of nowhere, the phone of one of the baddies rings. The caller tune, a popular item song, is so zippy that the copper can’t resists breaking into an impromptu jig. Dhin chak dhin chak! He dances with abandon. And the instant the tune stops, he returns to his business of breaking bones and crushing jaws. That’s the dabangg man. The name is Pandey, Chulbul Pandey. Job? A police officer game for anything that brings in money.
It is this bindaas characterization of Pandey that makes Dabangg a roller coaster ride without seat belts on. And only - I repeat - onlySalman Khan could have played the character with such éclat. The style and swagger of Chulbul, the diffused grin on his thinly moustached lips, the occasional loft of his brow, the crass humour, the hardened expressions, hardy physique and a mellow heart beating therein - it’s a character brought to life by Salman. Doubtlessly the best performance of his career.
The movie itself is an out and out caper with all the masala and masti thrown in to thrill and entertain even the most jaded movie buff. So grab your ticket and cola and corn, and laugh yourself silly with the antics and escapades of the most flamboyant, swashbuckling character seen on Indian screens in recent times, Robinhood Pandey, who guarantees you fun worth every penny of your ticket money.
Money se yaad aaya! it is the driving force of our cop hero. While the robbers of a bank heist count the moolah sitting in their den, Chulbul breaks in, beats them to pulp and walks away with the loot. No, he doesn’t throw the robbers behind bars. That would be foolish. Who would account for the looted money? So he lets them go, but keeps the dough. That’s his modus operandi. Plain and simple and without an iota of scruple.
At home Chulbul has an unloving stepfather (Vinod Khanna) and an equally unloving but dim-witted stepbrother Makhan (Arbaaz Khan) whom everyone lovingly calls Makkhi. The only one who loves and is loved by Chulbul is his mother (Dimple Kapadia).
And there is this village belle Rajo (Sonakshi Sinha) who is tethered to her alcoholic father. Chulbul’s heart beats for her. But she can’t marry him.
Debutant director and scriptwriter Abhinav Kashyap keeps the story simple, conventional and pretty ordinary. He throws in a bad guy in the formidable and beefed up shape of a local leader (Sonu Sood) who sees Chulbul as a hurdle in his political growth and uses the feuding Pandey brothers against each other to get rid of Chulbul.
There are fights, stunts and shootouts aplenty. The daredevil cop flings the bad guys in the air, hacks them, guns them down. And no free tickets for guessing who wins the duel between the cop and the villain in the end. What stands out, however, is the action choreographed by S Vijayan.