Aala re aala Simmba aala! Lene aaya Simmba teri firki … mark the words firki lene. Make no mistake, Rohit Shetty is out to take us for a ride and on a ride too. Hold, your horses this time, his entertainment special is in the hands of ever- affable and ever-energetic Ranveer Singh. And boy, he roars from scene one.
As the corrupt police officer, who doesn’t bat an eyelid while accepting bribes and swindling criminals, he is over the top and on the top of the game that both he and Shetty seem to excel in.
With comic punch laden dialogues such as; ‘pamper me or my temper will hamper you’, he brings many a smile even in the cheesiest of moments. Till the first half there is much that entertains, provided you can suspend disbelief, which is what cinema, especially Shetty’s intelligence-proof cinema is anyway all about. Which police officer accepts bribes so openly and counts them atop a police car... well in Shetty’s, reality has no place or meaning. Hey, so why does he suddenly start taking cues from the real world? Not only the barbaric Nirbhaya rape is mentioned, the crime figures too are rattled off with much passion.
Post interval, Shetty would have you believe his heart beats for women and sexual violence against the fair sex figures high on his cinematic priority list.
Indeed, if you have seen the trailer, no prizes for guessing the storyline. As Simmba keeps reiterating time and again; ‘Tell me something I don’t know’, Shetty actually doesn’t set out to tell us anything that we already don’t know. We suspect the line is actually a pun on us the audiences, phirki literally.
Only when the judge thunders; rape and murder is a heinous crime; we wonder what have they got to do in a Shetty film. You can only expect a mismatch when the issue surfaces here. Post interval, it’s not just Ranveer’s character that does a somersault but so does the film’s trajectory.
From fun, Shetty goes for your tear ducts and wonder of all wonders, in some scenes he does manage to evoke an emotive response! What doesn’t work, however, is the moral science lecture on women’s safety concerns which is no more than a ruse to justify point blank murder, which in police parlance goes as encounter killing.
Sara Ali Khan, who made an impressive debut in Kedarnath, doesn’t have much to do. In one scene, as Shagun talking of her dead father, an encounter specialist, she tells Simmba; ‘Consult me if you need tips on encounter killings’.
Making a whole lot of women party to murder, the film does tread dangerous ground. Besides, vigilante justice as a theme has been done to death in our cinema and we thought we had said goodbye to it when films like Pink arrived.
But then Shetty’s sensibility despite surface veneer is of a forgone era. Indeed, he does make some socially correct moves and incorporates gender sensitive dialogues. ‘If you respect your mother so much, why not other women,’ tells the feisty judge to the baddie. Sonu Sood, however, despite build up to his character, doesn’t get much leverage. The film belongs to Ranveer Singh and him alone who once again proves himself in a genre in which he is not often seen. He makes the film watchable even in clichéd junctures and provides the safety valve, lets the steam off in some heavy-duty scenes. In case you can’t help but compare his act with Shetty’s super-hit Singham, Ajay Devgn cruises in and even in a brief part looks rather impressive. However, the only reason to say aye aye to Simmba is Ranveer.