Most people who raved about Dabangg oddly insisted that it be watched in a single screen theatre. Preferably a low-end one that attracts taporis. Friends who would normally watch movies in multiplexes watched Dabangg in single screens to have an authentic experience. Because a masala film is best enjoyed in a rough crowd that claps at jokes and whistles at item numbers. “You have to watch this film with the masses,” said one.
I always get amused when people separate themselves from the “masses”. At one point do you stop being one among the “masses”? When you have enough money? If that’s the case, how much bank balance do you need to rise above the MASSES?
In any case, I watched Dabanng with the “masses”. Not out of design but because the only seats available for a 9pm show at Eros were in the lower stalls. I sat with excited chaps who shouted ‘Ganapati bappa moraya’ when Ashtavinayak’s Ganesh logo flashed across the screen and whistled when Salman appeared looking better than he has in years in a fitting policeman’s uniform.
But all the taporis in the world couldn’t have made Dabangg a pleasurable experience. The one-liners that people were crowing about were boring, except for a coy demand Sonakshi makes of Salman at end: Meine ulti kar li hai, ab aap seedha ho jayiye. That was a real gem. The other problem with this film, as well as his last hit Wanted, is that the plot was so common. It was a dull story staggering on the shoulders of bad one-liners and Salman’s parody of himself. Which, actually, wasn’t half bad.
The audience did however save the evening from being entirely dull. They were noisy and occasionally fractious. The area’s pavement dwellers were in attendance and while the credits were rolling it was fun to watch their kids dancing happily in the aisles.
Image courtesy Zubin Pastakia