Banners: Dharma Productions, Rohit Shetty Picturez, Reliance Entertainment
Producers: Karan Johar, Rohit Shetty, Hiroo Yash Johar, Apoorva Mehta
Director: Rohit Shetty
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Sara Ali Khan, Sonu Sood, Siddharth Jadhav, Ashutosh Rana, Sarita Joshi, Ashwini Kaleskar, Amrit Singh, Saurabh Gokhale
Writers: Sajid Samji, Yunus Sajawal (Screenplay) Farhad Samji (Dialogue)
Music: Tanishk Bagchi, Lijo George-DJ Chetas
People say that a quirky, humourous cop-hero, a film set in Goa, a sweet love interest, an imminent issue plaguing society, a hero’s revengeful comeback, larger-than-life songs, a few kadak lines and of course speeding white SUVs, are elements often found in a Rohit Shetty film. And to that we say, in the director’s latest lead actor’s words, ‘Tell us something we don’t know’.
Shetty’s film Simmba is an amalgamation of what we have seen him and his heroes do before, presented with a quirky twist, some hearty laughs and a taste of Singham.
The story begins with an 11-year-old orphaned pickpocket named Sangram Bhalerao aka Simmba from Shivgadh who believes that to have power and earn money at the same time, he has to become a cop. Cut to him fulfilling his dream as the rough-and-tough, Aviator-wearing, 30-something cop who thrashes the bad guys, but only for money.
When Simmba is transferred to another police station in the heart of Goa, he gets into the good books of the local goon, Durva Ranade, by helping him in his dirty deeds. The perennially excited, Marathi-accented Simmba then finds a family in his new community including a mother, a love interest and several sisters. One day, Durva’s equally shady brothers commit a crime which involves one of Simmba’s many sisters. This tragedy angers the cop so much that he does a full-180 and does everything in his powerful cop way to right the wrongs, with the help of his police force and a power-packed special guest. How Simmba manages to turn the tables as he stands for justice, forms the crux of the story.
Rohit Shetty is one director who does not try to fool his audience. The filmmaker has always revealed what his film is about in the trailer itself and Simmba is no different. We see the premise of the storyline in the first glimpse and the film is a lengthier version of it with many more nuances and quirks that never let you feel the film is boring.
The core strength of the writing may not be evident in this classic ‘80s and ‘90s inspired cop drama, but it comes through clearly in the strong dialogue written by Farhad Samji. It can make you laugh as well as force you to maaro several seetis, especially when it is induced with a thumping background score. There are some signature lines given to the character of Simmba, like him saying ‘Mind is blowing’ that will catch on with the audience soon.
The biggest strength of the film is that it knows its audience, that is, the masses. To have another cop franchise from the same director could have been difficult but Shetty, with his brand of cinema, makes it seem possible every single time.
He unabashedly brings back the masala entertainer that has the larger-than-life hero who singlehandedly flattens 15 goons in one go, but is also human and relatable to the audience.
The conflict that gives Simmba its course is something that is prevalent in society and while the second half is dedicated to the social message, the screenplay, penned by Yunus Sajawal and Sajid Samji, makes sure that there are enough cinematic elements to hold it together with action, drama and bouts of one-liners.
The incorporation of Ajay Devgn’s Singham character in this film was a stroke of genius that adds much value, post-interval.
As for the music of the film, Rohit Shetty is known to deliver some chartbusters in his films and with the first song he released, the recreation of Aankh marey, continued that tradition as it became a hit. The title track of the film, Aala re aala Simmba aala, is a magnum opus and the love ballad, Tere bin is pleasant but seems forced into the narrative.
A special mention of the amazing background score and the theme of Simmba. The interjection of the word ‘Polis’ in that theme brings out the masala entertainment lover in you, especially when it merges with the theme of Singham at the entry of Devgn.
Rohit Shetty is known for churning out successful franchises and as he leaves some loose ends in Simmba, indicating that he just might make this his third series after Golmaal and Singham.
Interestingly, he has not only delivered the final blockbuster of the year in his action-packed style but has also left the audience wanting for more with the surprise he incorporates at the end of Simmba.
Performance-wise, Ranveer Singh is in his element as he plays Simmba. The character, especially in the first half, looks like an extension of Singh’s energised avatar in real life. But whether it is the quirkiness of his role or the dhoom-dhadam action side, he seems to fit in it completely. Sara Ali Khan is a real charmer with her beauty but has precious little to do post-interval. Sonu Sood is the perfect bad guy as Durva Ranade with his intimidating voice and physique. Siddharth Jadhav as Simmba’s right-hand man is impressive. Ashutosh Rana plays head constable and the voice of the conscience for the central character in his usual talented style. Sarita Joshi, Ashwini Kaleskar, Amrit Singh, Saurabh Gokhale and other supporting characters hold their own in the film.
Ajay Devgn, who makes a dhamakedar entry and disarms everyone as Bajirao Singham, is one of the major highlights of the film.