Film Review: ‘Singh Saab the Great’

Film Review: 'Singh Saab the Great'

Even pushing retirement age, Sunny Deol still delivers the ass-kicking goods in this retro action programmer.

“If you try ruining my sister’s happiness you will be missing a head,” growls the fiercely bearded Punjabi action hero Sunny Deol midway through his new thunderous headbanger, “Singh Saab the Great.” Although he’s pushing 60, Deol still has the broad-shouldered physique, belligerent attitude and extensive collection of color-coordinated turbans needed to make a convincing Sikh superhero — which is effectively how writer-director Anil Sharma portrays him, tossing bad guys across parking lots and through walls in super-slow-motion bullet-time action sequences. At home, the pic collected a decent but unspectacular $1.4 million in its first two days.

Deol’s brawny righter of wrongs and defender of the weak is initially a man with no name, referred to only as Singh Saab. He works as a collector, a federal administrator in a district responsible for tax assessment and licensing, obviously fertile soil for government corruption. Several characters assume that Singh Saab (a corruption of sahib or master)  is that kind of collector and bring bulging envelopes of cash to their meetings with him, only to be rebuffed. Singh is honest to a fault and he keeps stepping on the wrong toes, or at least increasing their tax rate.

In due course a persistent TV journalist (Amrita Rao) uncovers this mysterious hero’s backstory. Almost two decades earlier, in another district, working beardless and under his real name, Saranjit Talwar, Singh ran into a conflict with the evil Bhoodev (Prakash Raj), a local businessman/godfather. After the death of his beloved wife (Urvashi Rautela), Singh was framed for bribery and sent to prison, emerging 16 years later as an anti-corruption crusader with a side arm and growing national organization, a man whose every Hulk-like footstep shakes the earth.

Bollywood movies have been accused for a while now of becoming “gentrified,” that they are increasingly aimed at the affluent middle class and that producers no longer understand what the big Indian audience wants. If that’s the case, the recent wave of hugely popular South Indian-inflected action films (which began with Salman Khan’s “Wanted” in 2009) could be seen as a backlash against endless smirking romantic comedies about well-heeled twentysomethings in Delhi.

Action movies are one thing: They offer simple values and spectacle, and deliver catharsis. What’s amazing about these new films is how old-fashioned they are, as if the filmmakers were deliberately turning back the clock. “Singh Saab the Great” feels like a fully conscious masala throwback, complete with iconic ’80 and ’90s comic-relief specialist Johnny Lever, continuing his recent comeback in a gesticulating sidekick role. As Bhoodev, Raj makes long, florid villainous speeches that seem to have been recorded in an echo chamber — shades of the late, great Amrish Puri, the ultimate masala meanie. Bodies are pierced one minute and eyes fill with tears the next, and then we dance.

Film Review: 'Singh Saab the Great'

Reviewed at AMC Orange 30, Orange, Calif., Nov. 23, 2013. Running-time: 147 MIN.

Production

(India) An Eros Intl. release of an Alumbra Entertainment and Pen Movies presentation in association with Shantketan Entertainments. Produced by Sangeetha Ahir, Anuj Sharma. Executive producer Sunil Sharma.

Crew

Directed by Anil Sharma. Screenplay, Shaktimaan Talwar. Camera (color), S. Gopinath; editor, Ashfaq Makrani; music, Anand Raj Anand, Sonu Nigam (title song); choreographers, Chinni Prakash, Rekha Prakash; production design, Jayant Deshmukh; stunts, Tinnu Verma, Kanal Kannan.

With

Sunny Deol, Amrita Rao, Prakash Raj, Johnny Lever, Urvashi Rautela, Saranjeet Singh, Anjali Abrol. (Hindi, Bengali dialogue)

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  1. moyo says:

    We love you Sunny Deol from Africa, you remain the coolest and humble hardworking man we’ve always known. You are the BEST.
    But Bollywood keeps promoting and singing praises of other actors that sings and dance with stereotyped roles or movies with amateurish action scenes. Sunny pls teach them how to do it and let them know you don’t have to kiss asses or join them to make it in life. SUNNY DEOL u r d best nd u rock.

  2. aniket nagar says:

    i likes my sing sab the gret

  3. Gaurav says:

    My favourite hero sunny deol is realy number one hero, prove this movie singh sahab the great at the age of 57., Urvashi is also good looking and very good acting in this movie

  4. Gaurav says:

    Great Great Movie, Sunny Deol Paaji is Number One Action Hero in bollywood.

  5. anil says:

    Ek dam sahi kaha bhai……
    bollywood me sirf aj k date pe bade banner k movie hi chalte hai chahe wo bakwas q na ho…..but sunny paa ji gretes among all these…..

  6. RAMESH says:

    SINGH SHAHAB GREAT MOVIE IS VERY GOOD AND FAMILY WATCHING. SUNNY ACTING IS BETTER THAN SALMAN, AAMIR. SHARUK. HE LOOKS LIKE TIGER.

  7. ashish says:

    Sunny paaji kills this one….gr8 movie all n all with spectacular performance & been glamourised by prettiest new face….but our public is so much pathetic that they can see films of faddu actors like shahrukh,salman etc like those of chennai xpress,jab tak h jaan,ready,bodyguard,rowdy rat hote….it’s way much better than singham….moreover paaji jeep nu mod de b change langhde ne agar baki marital se actor Banda nu kit skde ne to

  8. Krishna says:

    Awesome movie.
    This movie should go for award….
    In India more than 90% fools ‘ve been living .
    They always appreciate such gaandu movies like Chennai express and ek that tiger. In which there is no story .
    Totally bakwas….

  9. Sardar Saab says:

    Singh Saab the great is second only to dhoom 3. And still may win all the awards.

  10. Jessy Khella says:

    One of the greatest movie ever..

  11. SUPER SARDAAR IS BACK THE MAN WHO EPITOMISES ACTION IN BOLLYWOOD, THE MAN WHO MAKES SALMAN KHAN LOOK LIKE A SCRAWNY SCHOOLKID ROCKS THIS MOVIE

  12. bill sa says:

    only khans will hate this movie, they didnot digest sunny deol sucess.

  13. Arjun yadav says:

    singh saab the great, is a very nice and interesting movie, sunny deol is a best action actor. I like his all movie

  14. sahil:khaq says:

    bakwas movie

  15. nirjit says:

    very nice movie

  16. Jatinder says:

    Singh Saab the Great …….. Awesome movie ….. first time a family movie in bollywood after so long thanks to the entire team of Singh Saab the Great ……. people are liking it very much in USA

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