Cast: Pawan Kalyan, Shruti Haasan, Abhimanyu Singh
Director: Harish Shankar
Dance, drama and action, an old school formula for a Masala entertainer you'd say, but it got the audience hooting and how! Gabbar Singh , the Telugu re-make of Salman Khan starrer runaway hit Dabangg, opened to full houses on its first day.
Pawan Kalyan, also popularly known as 'Power star', comes close to filling the big boots of Chulbul Pandey. Director Harish Shankar provides the perfect platform for Pawan Kalyan to dole out 'punch' dialogues and of course the pelvic thrusts in every song, enough to get the audience rooting for their hero .. or is it the 'villain'?
Gabbar Singh, is a cop, who ironically proclaims himself as Gabbar, after the immortal role of Sholay that he fancies. The director has stayed close to the original plot and screenplay but has gone a few extra miles to customize the humour. Comic actors Brahmanandam and Ali bring their usual selves to the characters. While Brahmanandam is an EMI collector, who by the way, in a stroke of genius, is the one who gets to wear Ray-Ban on the collar behind; Ali is a constable lovingly named Samba, by who else?!
While abundant action sequences are on expected lines, including slow-mo flips and kicks, it's really the wit that's a pleasant surprise (and breather!). Be it the kabbadi sequence or goons made to play Antakshari by Gabbar Singh in his police station, the fact that the film included spoof snippets on Pawan Kalyan's earlier films and songs, is a refreshing change.
After a string of flops, Gabbar Singh might well be the magic potion for Pawan Kalyan's plummeting career. Will it work its magic for his co-star Shruti Haasan a la Sonakshi Sinha? Given the length and depth of her character, vis-a-vis the original, the answer is Maybe Not! For one, Gabbar Singh is a one-man show and Shruthi Hasan has barely anything more to do than look pretty. It's almost as if she cautioned the director, "Dancing se darr nahi lagta sahib, acting se lagta hai."
Abhimanyu Singh (previously also seen in RGV's Rakhta Charithra) comfortably essays the role of Cheddi Singh with copious amounts of eye-bulging and muscle flexing.
A little more strength to the screenplay and depth to characters apart from that of Gabbar Singh may have supported the film better. But then again, watching Pawan Kalyan ride on a horse (slow-mo) following a band of dacoits in a barren land, to the background score of music director Devi Sri Prasad (of Dhinka Chika fame), who cares about anything else?!
As one of his dialogues in the film goes , "Nenu Cheppina Okate, naa fans cheppina Okkate" (what my fans say is as good as me saying it)… and if truth comes close to that, then Gabbar Singh may have reasons to smile or even better, laugh his famous evil laugh!