'Simmba' Review: A quintessential Rohit Shetty masala entertainer

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

In the year 2010, Hindi cinema witnessed an interesting turnaround in popular taste with the success of Abhinav Kashyap’s Dabangg, starring Salman Khan in the role of a corrupt cop named Chulbul Pandey. Other than paving the way for a flurry of action films set in small towns, Dabangg became a major style statement. The cop character which had gone out fashion in Hindi cinema suddenly re-emerged as a recurring caricature of sorts. And just like that we had other action heroes like Ajay Devgn and Akshay Kumar playing kickass cops in films like Rowdy Rathore and Singham. Now, Simmba is actually a remake of a Telugu film called Temper but it is also essentially a spin-off of Singham, which translates to Lion. Remember Simba, spelt with a single ‘m’, is the name of the son of the eponymous Lion King aka Mufasa in Disney’s famous animation film.
In Simmba, as one expects from Rohit Shetty, we are presented with another typical masala film featuring some eye-catching action, peppy dance numbers, and of course loud humor.  Ranveer Singh plays a corrupt cop, not unlike Chulbul Pandey, whose only purpose in life is to make money. But an incident transforms him completely. The casting of Sonu Sood as the film’s primary antagonist Durva Ranade is a major throwback to Dabangg wherein he played Chulbul Pandey’s nemesis Chedi Singh.

Simmba is largely a predictable affair. Packaged as a spin-off, the film is a part of Shetty’s grand scheme of things to bring Ajay Devgn and Ranveer Singh together (make sure you stay back for a big post-credits reveal). Fans of the Singham franchise would certainly enjoy Simmba. However, those who have already seen Temper may be left a bit disappointed. Mostly it depends on how well you take to Ranveer Singh’s over the top performance. Yes, Simmba is an out and out Ranveer Singh film even though the film’s best moments are stolen by Ajay Devgn who is yet again brilliant as Bajirao Singham.

The scenes that Ranveer shares with Ashutosh Rana in Simmba are great fun to watch. As for Sara Ali Khan, she certainly deserved a far more meatier role than she gets to play in Simmba. Her previous outing Kedarnath had much greater scope for her to showcase her acting talents. Parts of  are undoubtedly entertaining but what’s disappointing is the lack of resolve to create something original and refreshing on the part of the makers. The film’s biggest takeaway is the strong stand that it takes against crimes that women in our society are subjected to on a daily basis and for that Shetty and team deserve full credit.
Rating: 5.5/10
This review was first published in The Sunday Guardian.
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