Subhash K. Jha speaks about Singh Is Kinng


By Subhash K. Jha, Bollywood Hungama News Network

Burp re burp! At last a thali filled to the brim with spicy picked ghar ka khaana fried in the sinfully calorie-filled desi ghee prepared in the heartland of Punjab and then imported out West.

Crocodile Pug-Dundee, anybody? At last, a blast. Dunno if Singh is king with 2 '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's strong and vulnerable, funny and tragic. He's 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 he into a coma and is replaced by fellow-villager Happy Singh as the new Don.

The film, its plot and characters are a zany crazy mad adrenaline-induced rush of caricatures and other spaced-out creatures. To his credit writer-director Anees Bazmee 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 Kumar takes care of the rest. Adapting his comic stance to a patently comicbook mood and attitude Akshay swims through the tittering tides of zany humour to emerge with one of his most finely-tuned serio-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 a buffoon in a village of Punjab 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 special.

Director Anees Bazmee 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 Sardarji-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 African -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 the 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, especially Om Puri, is in splendid form, adding fuel to the funny-lines with just that right dash of devilish bravado. Akshay Kumar 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.