One of our favorite Bollywood cops takes to the silver screen again today in the highly anticipated sequel to 2010's Dabangg.
Chulbul Pandey is back in Dabangg 2
One of the last Bollywood films to come out this year promises to be one of 2012's biggest: Dabangg 2 hits cinemas today and will no doubt leapfrog its way to the top of the box-office charts.
The starring duo of Salman Khan and Sonakshi Sinha, led by Arbaaz Khan in his directing debut, are sitting on the goose that has already laid quite a few golden eggs. The original Dabangg, with its rustic, old-fashioned appeal, raked in a cool 2.15 billion rupees (Dh144 million) in 2010, making it the highest-grossing Bollywood film of that year and the fourth-highest of all time.
The sequel could easily follow suit. While it keeps many of the original film's elements intact - from Salman Khan's handlebar moustache to Sinha's voluminous sari - the Dabangg director Abhinav Kashyap has been replaced by Salman's older brother, Arbaaz, who couldn't have asked for a better project as his first directorial venture.
"Dabangg 2 is a lot bigger than Dabangg," Salman Khan says. "For starters, Chulbul Pandey goes from a small city to a bigger city, so everything is bigger in the film. Chulbul is a different character, too. He is the same person but he's a different man. He has matured - he has a family now. He has a lot of newer, different emotions in him."
And emotions add more drama to a character than action sequences do, he says. "Emotions and romance." Romance comes in the form of Chulbul's love interest and now wife, Rajjo, played by Sinha, whom Salman says was as talented and professional as she was when they worked together in 2010.
Khan reveals that Arbaaz became director after Kashyap declined to helm the sequel.
"Arbaaz was producing the film so he stepped in as director. He has worked as an assistant director so he knows what he's doing. He has acted in the film, too. He was wearing many hats and I saw the pressure he was under," says Khan. "As a producer he has already proved that he is the best, but he still has to prove himself as a director. Dabangg 2 will decide his fate."
Asked about his string of successes and how he deals with fame, Khan laughs it off.
"Why should anyone lose any sleep over their success? People who lack success should be the ones losing sleep," he says. "Anyway, I was content when I wasn't churning out hits and now I am still content. I always live in the present. I don't get influenced by my failure or my success in films. If you think your films, your fame, your characters define who you are, that means you have lost the plot [of your life]."
Khan is hopeful but guarded that Dabangg 2 will do as well at the box office as Dabangg. "[Earning] 200 crore [2bn rupees] is no child's play," he says. "A lot of films don't even do 100 crore these days. One thing is for sure, though: the number of people watching films has grown and so the takings have grown proportionally.
"I am sure the film will do well. My job was to put in my effort as an actor and to deliver as an actor. After that, I am not responsible or accountable for anything. Besides, nobody starts making a film intending it to be a flop. Everybody puts in their efforts hoping it will do the best that it can."
Sounds of Dagangg
"Fevicol Se is the most fun song that I have done in a long time," says Mamta Sharma, the playback singer who croons one of the most popular item songs on the airwaves these days.
Featuring the actress Kareena Kapoor, this item song from Dabangg 2 is already rivalling the popularity of Katrina Kaif's Chikni Chameli and Malaika Arora Khan's Munni from the original film.
"It is peppy and seductive in a funny way," says Sharma. She says that when the music composer duo Sajid-Wajid approached her with the offer to sing the song, she jumped at the opportunity. "They felt I fit the bill. Who was I to question that?"
Sharma shot to fame in 2010 when she sang the track Munni from Dabangg. "Munni was a huge hit," she recalls. "I was told that everyone is expecting me to recreate the 'Munni magic'. No pressure, right? It was a huge compliment and a huge responsibility at the same time."
The other half of the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the newly wedded Kapoor, the star of the item song's video. She starred in a number for her recent film Heroine, in a track titled Halkat Jawani but the song failed to make as big an effect as the producers hoped it would. With Fevicol Se, they're looking to remedy that