Simmba is a stodgy, loud, and an uninteresting film that has its moments when it plays with our emotions for a bit
Police officer Mohile (Ashutosh Rana) suggests an agitated and angry Inspector Sangram Bhalerao aka Simmba (Ranveer Singh) to shout even louder. Well, he was already hollering at a high pitch and maybe got carried away by that suggestion. He does not implement that instantly which comes off as some respite for the audience. A cacophony of sound waves awaits us post-interval. Director Rohit Shetty’s love affair with the cop-based masala movies continues with Simmba (both the title of the movie and the name of titular character) which is not exactly a continuation of Ajay Devgn starrer Singham franchise but rather builds on its platform and nicely merges the world of Singham with Simmba.
Like the Singham franchise, which was based on Surya starrer Tamil film Singam, Simbaa is loosely inspired from Jr. NTR starrer Telugu film Temper. The core of Simmba’s story is very ‘unique’ where a corrupt police officer dramatically experiences a change of heart and cunningly brings the bad guys to the justice in Bajirao Singham’s (Ajay Devgn) way. Ranveer keeps repeating a dialogue in the film which says, “tell me something I don’t know”. The uniqueness in the story made me think of saying the same dialogue in return. But, as a sigh of relief, there are some elements that are added on top of the core structure that makes this film watchable even when you are yawning all the way.
The film rides on the emotional drama. Simmba keeps referring to the people he meets as a sister, a mother or a father. When a man cries helplessly after his land was taken over, we feel the pain. When the honest cop like Mohile is unable to pay for his daughter’s fees, there is an air of hopelessness. The entire sequence of the rape of a woman, just before the intermission, elevates our interest levels to some extent with its gripping and harrowing nature which forms the foundation of the film thereby making the second-half more intriguing.
But it feels like the actors in the film are poised on the stage and wind up doing too much than what is required. The child, who plays the younger version of Simmba, keeps a stern face while talking to goons, picks up a glass bottle out of nowhere, hits it hard on something to break it, threatens them and cracks some punch dialogues. First half had a lot of trying-too-hard-to-make-us-laugh scenes where Ranveer Singh talks in a weird manner. When Simmba gets transferred to a different police station, the police officer Tavde (Siddhartha Jadhav), who comes to receive him, acts as if he already knows Simmba (It must be said that Siddhartha Jadhav remained a bright spot with his performance).
There were two contrasting instances where I was flustered by the way women were depicted. On one hand, the wife of a jeweller blinks an eye and says, “Call me” to Simmba (Not sure if that is supposed to be taken funnily). In another scene, a man asks Simmba to remove his shoes and, then, enter the house otherwise his wife will get pissed (Yeah, very true. Only women are concerned about cleanliness). On the other hand, there is a contrasting scene where a sort of women empowerment can be seen when Simmba asks the women police officers to beat the hell out of the guys who were accused of rape.
Simmba’s lady-love, Shagun (Sara Ali Khan), is the most significant character in the film and does the ‘magic’ instantly. She appears in the movie all of a sudden and Simmba falls in love instantly (Oh, What magic!). I do not know when she exactly disappeared from the scheme of things and when she actually made a reappearance as her character was of no concern to the film’s narrative whatsoever. On a serious note, I was really mesmerised by the romantic scenes between them (Such a horrible display of expressing I-Love-You). Not to forget the Aankh Marey song that is placed during their romantic journey which only made it even tougher to sit through this movie.
The angst that Ranveer Singh shows on his face while fighting the bad guys is impending. But Sonu Sood’s performance as Durva Ranade can’t be termed powerful by any means. He threatens Simmba, he again threatens Simmba, and he keeps doing so. Finally, as expected, he fights with him. Oh, what a turnaround!
There were few scenes that were really good in an otherwise highly foretellable storytelling. The scene where CCTV camera footage was used to somehow show the killing of prisoners as an act of self-defence was an interesting one. Even the entry of Ajay Devgn as Bajirao Singham for a transient appearance was a nice addition. Also, it was hurtful and terrifying when Simmba reads out the stats of yearly rape incidents in India.
Simmba is a stodgy, loud, and an uninteresting film that has its moments when it plays with our emotions for a bit. Ranveer Singh keeps uttering a dialogue in the film that says, “Mind-ich blowing”. All we could say in return is, “not at all”. I sat through the film disinterested just like the people who were washing their clothes casually and paying no heed to Simmba who is running after goons in slow motion and beating them.