Akshay spices up heady entertainer ‘Singh is Kinng’ (Hindi Film Review)

August 9th, 2008 - 4:17 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Akshay Kumar
By Subhash K. Jha
Film: “Singh Is Kinng”; Cast: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Sonu Sood, Neha Dhupia, Javed Jaffrey, Ranvir Shorey; Director: Anees Bazmi; Rating: ** ½ Burp re burp! At last a thali filled to the brim with spicy, pickled, ‘ghar ka khaana’ fried in the sinfully calorie-filled desi ghee prepared in the heartland of Punjab and then imported to the West. Crocodile Pug-Dundee, anybody?

At last, a blast. Dunno if Singh is king with two ‘n’s or not. But he sure is entertaining. Damn entertaining. This film is one of those feasts of flurry that leave the on-the-run characters and the audience breathless. Chalk up another winner for Akshay Kumar.

As the ‘happy-go-looking’ Happy Singh who leaves his village in Punjab to look for a colleague who has disappeared into Australia, Akshay is a revelation. He is strong and vulnerable, funny and tragic. He’s Charlie Chaplin and Jim Carrey rolled into one.

‘Happy’ Akshay Kumar’s mission is simple. Get Lucky. And boy, does he!

As Lucky Singh, Sonu Sood - all spruced up and dapper-dolled in Australia - has to stay risibly inert for half the film as he goes into a coma and is replaced by fellow villager Happy Singh as the new underworld don.

The film, its plot and characters are a crazy, adrenaline-induced rush of caricatures and other spaced-out creatures.

To his credit, writer-director Anees Bazmi retains the broad raillery of his earlier hit “Welcome” but abandons the slapstick and ribaldry to style one of most disarming comedies in recent times.

The plot is cluttered with the most elementary action and adventure in the incredulous tone of “Crocodile Dundee” goes from Punjab to the land of the Aussie-rans. Akshay takes care of the rest.

Adapting his comic stance to a patently comic-book mood and attitude, Akshay swims through the tittering tides of zany humour to emerge with one of his most finely-tuned comic performances in recent times.

It wouldn’t be wrong to call “Singh is Kinng” a showcase for Akshay’s vibrant virtuosity. He goes from being a buffoon in a Punjab village to a native-abroad (with a nubile broad as arresting arm candy in the romantic songs) with the cheerful fluency of a trapeze dancer who knows his territory but still manages to make it look challenging for the onlookers.

Akshay’s bravura performance is punctuated by moments of bridled subtlety such as the one where our incredulous hero informs Katrina’s nerdy suitor (Ranvir Shorey, wasted) why the lady they both adore must be treated in a special manner.

Bazmi treats his audience as special as Akshay’s gentle, caring affections for Katrina. The narration is a pulsating patchwork of goofy crime and culturally-challenged adventure where anything can happen.

A ‘rose lady’ (Kirron Kher as engagingly broad in her matronly ministrations as ever) pops up in the middle of an Australian suburbia offering “khana” and “maa ka pyar” to the “pyar ka bhooka” Sardar hero.

In all fairness, certain portions of the film are insufferably edited. What in the name of maudlinism are those sequences showing the Sikh dons’ benevolence and charity towards Black Australians? Post-colonial Asian snobbery at its slapdash-worst.

Keeping the pretensions out of the plot and focusing on the multiple mirthful masquerades that motivate the amusing plot would have done the general health and wellbeing of this pleasantly-diverting entertainer a wealth of good.

A simple storyline, packaged in a pulsating flow of music (Pritam Chakbraborty at his Singh-ing best), colours and vibrancy, “Singh Is Kinng” is that sort of a contagious irresistible entertainer that harks back to those warm endearing comedies featuring Dharmendra where the hero played the compassionate do-gooder and the passionate lover-boy with equal virility and vulnerability.

The supporting cast, specially Om Puri is in splendid form, adding fuel to the funny-lines with just that right dash of devilish bravado. Akshay is effortless. The film is not.

However, the effort gone into fashioning a funny, feel-good film about the adventures of a simple god-fearing honest Sikh abroad (done earlier by Sunny Deol in Rahul Rawail’s “Jo Bole So Nihal”) doesn’t show up in the narration in awkward ways.

What we see here is a big, broad Bollywood entertainer celebrating screen heroism in all its giggling, grunting, groaning glory.

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