Look Ma! Singham With No Fistcuffs
An honest Income Tax officer leads a team in a raid to find
hidden assets of a local heavy, a political leader, at his
bungalow called ‘White House’. The dialog is tight, the good
guys are as smart as the bad guys are clever, the danger
seems real and it’s money well spent when you watch this
film. If only the thrill of watching money tumbling out of
walls was not marred by silly songs and a whiny wife.
An honest Income Tax officer is recognised by one thing: he gets
transferred ever so often. Ajay Devgn brings his Singham style
dialog delivery (but none of the action, because government
officer) to his role as Amay Patnaik, who has just been posted
When his fellow officer says, ‘He’s just been posted, so he’s like
a bottle of soda that’s just been opened. Will make a bit of noise…’
you know you’re in for a decent viewing because a non-descript
chap has been given a nice line. The film does not disappoint.
Saurabh Shukla plays Tauji, the big, bad bully in UP (a state not
exactly known for its lawfulness) who lives in a sprawling
bungalow called ‘White House’ and his fiefdom extends all over
the state and he knows he’s the man political parties come to for
money before the elections. He fancies himself as a political
kingmaker as well. So when Amay Patnaik shows up early in the
morning, Tauji chews up the scene when he says, let me drink my
tea first and then disturb me. Saurabh Shukla has done this role
so many times, he makes a really good bad guy.
The income tax officers search the premises, the family of Tauji
make great adversaries (the men and women alike, and you will
fall in love with the old granny) and we watch the drama unfold.
Ajay Devgn is good as a stern officer, but you wish he too would
get his hands a tad dirty instead of strategising. The strategies
are good fun too. And the audience as well as the officers
But, there’s a ‘but’ in the story that prevents this film in becoming
a super watch. This involves a really stupid whiny wife played by
Ileana D’Cruz. ‘Don’t go!’, ‘Be safe!’, ‘I worry when you’re gone’,
‘I didn’t know marrying you would mean getting transferred so
often!’… She is so redundant to the story, they could have simply
made the narrative tighter by removing her (and the two ridiculous,
unnecessary songs filmed on her), giving Ajay Devgn a free hand
to be the strong honest tax guy.
The background music is jarring and at one point you wonder
how much of Dunkirk’s music they’re imitating. And badly.
Also there’s one character who is shown to be dishonest who
suddenly turns out to be a good guy. But there are so many
good things about the film you can forgive these illogical things.
All because the granny is supremely fun to have around.
The script has been written with lots of restrained humor and no
one ruins the lines. The politics of wait and frustration is very
well shown. Not just Tauji’s family, the politicians are cast well.
The reveal in the end is good. This movie could have been
brilliant but for the wife.
(this review appears on nowrunning.com )