Simmba Movie Review: Simmba When Crude Is Cool

Simmba

Starring Ranveer Singh,Ajay Devgan, Sara Ali Khan. Ashutosh  Rana

Directed by Rohit Shetty

Rating: *** ½(3 and a half stars)

As far as  getting a kick out of  the movie-viewing experience  is concerned, there is  nothing  like  a larger-than-life over-the-top  drama on  social awakening.

Simmba is  a kick in the groin for all rapists, and potential rapists .I doubt rape will decline  after  this film. But at least those who think  of violating women would blush a bit.

The second-to-last  sequence of this loud but effective  anti-rape/anti-corruption film shows ‘Simmba’ Ranveer Singh sitting in the courtroom with his  mentor ‘Singham’  Ajay Devgan. The two khaki-clad  praise-vardi vigilantes come to the one decisive conclusion: cops need to put the fear of God and Law into rapists before this heinous crime  winds its way out of the male  libido.

 Until then, there are the encounters of the cops kind. This film  makes  a disturbing case  for  bumping off  legally-absolved  rapists ,and at one point Sara Ali Khan who plays the daughter of a ‘shaheed’ encounter  cop tells her  beloved Simmba, ‘If you need tips  on encounter killing you can come to me.” As though giving her boyfriend tips on dating decorum.

Sara , by the way, has nothing much to do in this  tale with a bleeding heart about crimes against women. A  bit ironical , no? Simmba  would laugh uproariously first  and then ask what irony means.As played by the adrenaline-thumping  ball of energy Ranveer Singh,Simmba is   initially a bit of a  clown cloaked in khaki.Well, actually he doesn’t  put on the cop’s uniform until midpoint when his  corrupt  nature undergoes  a  dramatic  volte-face.

That the reformation of Simmba is so convincing and absorbing  is entirely due  to RanveerSingh’s arresting take  on a  cop who  conforms to corruption  until the  push becomes  a shove.And  the jokey mood of  decadent grafting  converts into a fight to the  finish to eradicate  evil.

It is an over-familiar  cinematic  terrain and therefore a  sticky wicket for  the Ranveer- RohitShetty duo to traverse. That they  succeed  in putting  a renewed  vigour to the old  rape-and-revenge formula is  more attributable to the  combined conviction of  the  director and the actor than the writing which  clearly relies on formulaic signposts and  ofcourse,  witty  one-liners and comebacks,   to the redemptive climax.

Strangely  for  a Rohit Shetty film, the  fights seem  tackily staged. The most vital  action sequence  where Singham meets Simmba is  one painful  stretched-out fistfight with the two heroes looking a little  lost in the goons world.

 Still, and I say this with much relief, Simmba is  Rohit Shetty’s most relevant film to date.

And when Ranveer evoked the ‘Nirbhaya’  case in a dramtic  courtroom scene I was on the verge of getting goosemps. Ranveer’s Simmba is  a crazily  amoral  character with  a core of goodness waiting to  surface.He finds his moral bearings  on a  compass that  is all his own. He   moves  to his own rhythm and fights personal political and social battles on his own terms.

Not surprisingly Simmba’s relationship with  a veteran  cop(played with brilliant  sang-froid by Ashutosh Rana) who remains stubbornly idealistic  in a world  gone to the  dogs, is far more fluently  fleshed-out than his relationship with his girl. The awkwardness in courtship, I suspect, is  not just in  the hero’s character  but an ingrained part  of directorRohit Shetty’s creative DNA. Shetty is far more comfortable in the world of boys cars and guns than in the  delicate realm of girls romance and roses(roses reminds me , when Simmbapresents his girl with a bouquet he  quips he picked it up fresh  from a grave).

The romantic song shot to the  sound of a remixed version  of  a Nusrat  Fateh Ali Khan number is  the only awkward  digression in a  film that knows  its beat  and  follows it without apology or the fear of defeat.

In one elobrate song and dance traditional Maharastrian women are seen riding into the  over-saturated  frame  on mobikes wearing sunglasses. This is  the crazy world of Gol Maalwhich has suddenly woken up to the  newspaper headlines. It wants to show  a deep respect for women but can’t help chuckling at its own stab at topicality.

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