There is such a thing as trying too hard. And when someone does it, it shows clearly, and is generally not very pretty. Such a thing happened in Sardaar Gabbar Singh around halfway into the second half. In this scene, Pawan Kalyan and Brahmanandam are facing off in a cowboy-style shootout. Brahmi manages to shoot Pawan's hat off, and then Pawan shoots a couple of bullets that end up taking Brahmi's pants off. He then leapfrogs off the screen. And there was pindrop silence in the theatre. Not a chuckle, not a single laugh, not even a sarcastic snigger.
That pretty much sums up the movie as well. In every scene of Sardar Gabbar Singh, you see the desperation to repeat the success of Gabbar Singh
. Some of the elements that succeeded in part one succeed here, too - those are Pawan Kalyan's swagger and his mannerisms, and some crowd-pleasing elements that again involve him. And that's about it. In short, Pawan Kalyan works, and nothing else does.
For starters, the script - if you're going to make Sholay
again, at least give it a modern twist. Sardaar Gabbar Singh has a plot as old as the hills, and plot devices older than the Mahabharata. The plot involves a village, Rattanpur, which is bossed over by Bhairav Singh (Sharad Kelkar). There is a royal family headed by Princess Arshi (Kajal Agarwal) that tries to do good to the village, but they are helpless against Bhairav Singh. The Dalapati of the royal family, Harinarayan Singh (Mukesh Rishi), requests an honest police officer who can do some good to the village, and in comes Sardaar Gabbar Singh (Pawan Kalyan).
How Sardaar demolishes Bhairav Singh's empire, falls in love with the princess, dances to songs in Switzerland and tries his damnedest to repeat the success of Gabbar Singh forms the rest of the 165-minute plot.
Sardaar Gabbar Singh has so many loopholes, it is difficult to decide where to begin. For starters, the whole film is shot on two different sets, and the village set that the majority of the movie is shot on looks too fake to believe such a place would exist. Then, the plot has too many characters whose arcs are never completed. Bhairav Singh, for example, is already married. His wife keeps mutely staring at him whenever he expresses his desire to marry the princess, and in the end, when he is beaten up by Gabbar Singh, she is seen jumping over to the latter's side without so much as a word.
Then, the villagers are living in refuge after their entire village has been uprooted and turned into a mine, but there is nothing that Gabbar Singh really does for them despite visiting them. And the antyakshari scene that was such a success in the first part is rehashed as a Sangeeth scene in this one, but only ends up compounding your agony further.
The other issue is the villain himself. All Bhairav Singh does is scream at the top of his voice and make empty threats. All his henchmen, too, walk around glaring at Gabbar Singh, but when the time comes, they fall without as much as landing a punch on him. The plot devices used are terrible as well. When a rich and powerful mining baron wants to get a police officer out of his way, he plants evidence of corruption and gets him suspended - can it get any more routine than that?
Performance-wise, Pawan Kalyan does his best to satisfy his fans - and even his brother's fans. He imitates Chiranjeevi's famous veena step, dances to Shankar Dada Zindabad
and does some of his Kung Fu moves as well. Kajal Agarwal is good as the helpless princess. Sharad Kelkar is ineffective, and the remaining cast hardly get any scope. A host of comedians are in the movie, but they barely get a dialogue or two.
The music is less than enchanting, and the songs shot in Switzerland seem to have been done in a desultory fashion. There is no finesse in the song placement, either.
Sardaar Gabbar Singh will surely leave a sour taste among the hardcore fans as well - after all you want to see your hero pulling off roles effortlessly, and not making all sorts of compromises for success. Just watch Gabbar Singh again - that one's nearly always worth another watch.