While it is true that the first half of the movie reverberates on the tunes of “Hakuna Matata” (meaning “no worries”), the lead of the movie, Simmba—mind the two Ms, please—isn’t essentially the same Simba from the Disney’s classic, The Lion King; Simmba is the shortened form for Sangram Bhalerao. If you are in rush, here’s the review: 4 stars for the first half and 2, for the second. With an average of 3 stars, the movie remains a one-time watch.
A detailed review follows…
This is a rather exception from the Rohit Shetty Production house where you don’t see a single car blown to ashes. But, there’s still a lot of glass (or compound sugar) shattering away in action sequences. To top it all, spoiler alert everybody, you have Ajay Devgn’s voiceover at the start, and later, his cameo—yes, with the background score from Singham. Still, if I were to hold my thoughts for a moment, I’d say that the movie is made to officially announce the sequels ahead—one each for the Golmaal and Singham threads. But, there’s more: Sooryavanshi is planned for April 2019 and from Akshay Kumar’s introduction in the closing sequence of Simmba, we know he is playing the lead.
Let us look at the things that Rohit Shetty got right. And, the foremost is the cast. The character-cast combination is spot-on in most of the cases. Also, the use of Marathi in the movie is as much as the Marathi cast—Suchita Bandekar, Siddhartha Jadhav, Sulbha Tai, Ashwini Kalsekar, Vijay Patkar, Saurabh Gokhale, Ashok Samartha, and Arun Nalawade (Shwaas fame). Those are only some of the big names.
The locations are majorly Goa and Kolhapur—I know you guessed the first one. The sequences are woven around the Kolhapur temple courtyard. The songs are good, but none beats (pun intended) “Aankh Maarey”. Overall, a satisfactory score. The comedy quotient of this movie takes the cake: there are absolutely no false dialogues. You can watch it with your family without having to melt out of shame. Kudos to the writers! The plot of the movie scores for its theme. Quoting the movie, “the goons should experience the fear that girls or women have on their late-night travel”. For any impact to last, the life lessons and punishments must be hard. This matches the theme.
Now, a couple of things that Rohit could have gotten right. The story has a flow, which is where Rohit got it wrong. Now, stay with me as we go back in time. Remember Singham, in 2011? What song plays as the ringtone of Gotya? “Dhingka-chika” from Ready. Keep that in your memory and come back to 2018. Here you have Simmba (as a child) wishing to be like Singham, who hails from his hometown. Back into that memory lane, we see a 10 or 12-year-old boy. Fast forward to 2018, he has transformed into a money-laundering hulk. Ready, the movie, released in 2011. And, Rohit covered this span of roughly 7 years (from 2011 to 2018) to depict a transformation that could well have taken double the time. Do the math.
Selecting Sonu Sood for Durva Ranade was risky because he could not bring off the Marathi pronunciation. Ashok Samartha, who played Jaikant Shikre’s right-hand man in Singham in 2011 to perfection, would have been a better Durva Ranade. Amongst the brothers of Durva, Saurabh was good, but Amrit Singh was far from Marathi.
In one scene, someone incorrectly uses Ranveer’s name as Simmba Bhalerao. Simmba, like I said, is a short form for Sangram Bhalerao. Such oversights could have been avoided.
Rohit could also have used Sara Ali Khan’s name, Shagun, for a better effect. In the movie, she praises her father for his 50 encounters. Rohit could have reduced that to 49. Why? Well because just before the climax, Simmba kills Durva’s two brothers, Sadashiv and Gaurav. If he could add those two to 49, the total would be 51: a shagun for Shagun!
O’, I am so good at this.
Ranveer, as Simmba, has no hesitation on being called corrupt (quoting from Ashutosh Rana’s role of Head Constable Mohile, “waise bhi inhe khane ka bohot shauk hai”). Ranveer’s transformation from a guy with no intentions but to earn money to a guy with a purpose is covered well. The movie scores well also because Rohit has used a lot of headshots and portraits. This has brought the good acting talent of Ranveer (and later, Ajay) to the screen. As always, you will see Ajay’s eyes do the acting for him.
We conclude with a couple of comparisons:
- In Sholay, there was “Basanti, in kutton ke samne mat nachna”. In Simmba, you have “Mere pass teen kutte hain. Do ko mein Pedigree deta hun. Aur, teesra hai tu.”
- In past, you had countless movies that involved rape cases. In movies since the last couple of years, you see the victims getting their justice, whether it is Mom or Simmba.
We see a deciding shift in the thought process. One, the use of “kutte” and other similar words has reduced considerably. At least, the use is now softer. Two, we are truly empowering women by telling them that we stand by them. But, this also means that when television channels choose to telecast Simmba, I will watch it again.
Hakuna Matata 😊