So this time it was Salman in Bihar. I had written earlier about the thrills of watching Bollywood in small towns. Plans were drawn up as soon as we finished our work for the day.
Amar cinema has history. Like many halls across the country it is named after the son of the cinema owner. But adjoining it was a new hall – Jyothi - which was named after the daughter-in-law :). When we reached the parking lots were full with vehicles from the earlier show on a Monday evening. One look at crowds coming out of the show on a working day would convince you that the film was a hit.
The guy at the ticket counter insisted that we should watch the film at the older Amar since the a new AC system has been installed. Deluxe Class it was for 50 bucks.
Inside it was musty and humid as we stood in the foyer. Restless men roamed around as if waiting for their theka to open. In the hall we could not really understand the “deluxe” class. It looked like no one had cleaned up the place for years. Plastic Sprite bottles were stacked up along the walls as if part of an art installation.
The film itself was fun but the crowd less enthusiastic. After all they might have been watching it the 4th or 5th time. I enjoyed the portions where Salman is fighting with goons and breaks into a jig when one of their mobile rings with a musical ringtone. That scene really surprises you when you see it the first time.
However Dabbang left me a trifle disappointed. Any revenge story has two important elements – the discovery that the main villain is responsible for the death of a mother, father or friend. The other is a scary villain. The film failed me on both counts. Neither was Salman’s mother’s death shot in the typical masala film style nor was the villain scary for me. If one remembers Yadon ki Baraat or Karan Arjun the climax scenes are full of very violent scenes that act as a catharisis. When Salman learns that his mother was killed by the villain, the end is short and very quick. Not enough masala there.
Many scenes were a rush job. In fact it seemed liked the director was telling us – Hey ! You guys know what happens. Let me not stretch this here. Let us move onto the next scene. A masala film always milks the emotion. We are not known for editing out such stuff.
Munni Badnam was shorter than I expected. And the focus shifted to Salman in the second half of the song. That did not make sense. I wanted the song to be longer.
After the show we had to wait outside our hotel since we had been locked out. The caretaker could not understand why grown up men living in Delhi watch such a film. I wanted to tell him – films like this let us forget just that – and become ten year olds for a couple of hours.