Ajay Devgn in Singham Returns proves once again he can be good actor given the right script and direction. Image Credit: Courtesy: Reliance Entertainment

The larger-than-life Baji Rao Singham of the 2011 action flick Singham (meaning lion) returned to theatres this weekend.

Ajay Devgn reprises his honest cop role in Singham Returns’ corrupt political scenario, only this time he’s in Mumbai instead of a small town on the Goa-Maharashtra border.

For a change, director Rohit Shetty tries to bring a few social messages through his commercial offering. The Golmaal series director attempts to tug at the audience’s hearts with the plight of the family of a falsely accused dead police officer. And he explores corruption, black money, poverty and the superstitious nature of Indians that creates godmen out of criminals. These godmen in turn convert politics into a cash cow.

Singham, the hard-hitting (literally) but benevolent cop allows truant young students to get away with a warning, while protecting Guruji (Anupam Kher) — his teacher and an honest politician who wants to bring change to society — from a conniving Baba (Amole Gupte), while being romanced by a ditzy beauty stylist Avni (Kareena Kapoor). He is also idolised by his fellow policemen — even seniors — and creates a small mutiny in the police force. He takes it upon himself to clear the name of his fallen colleague.

The first half of the film is engaging and tightly edited with a fairly fast-moving story. Shetty puts together a convincing film despite a predictable story of godmen and corrupt politicians which has been seen in Indian cinema over and over again (and probably in better stories) and a plot that unravels a little after the interval. At one point when you think the film is over, it drags on for another 20 minutes. Scenes, such as the one where Guruji’s proteges come to hit out at a corrupt politician when he tries to force them to withdraw their applications, or when a large number of the Mumbai police force follow their leader Singham in undershirts to the Baba’s mansion, are memorable.

The action is there, but is not so violent, and you don’t feel overwhelmed. The language is clean with punchy one-liners from various characters, written by Sajid-Farhad, and makes the film watchable with family. The music however fails to please even though the title theme is the same from Singham, but the lilting notes of Sajde Kiye Hai from the earlier film were missing.

Devgn proves once again he can be good actor given the right script and direction and he simply carries forward his role from the 2011 hit. Gupte seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself playing the Baba. But Kher’s role is pretty ordinary and which he would have probably dealt with easily. The cast is suitably supported by Zakir Hussain, who is currently seen on TV in Yudh and CID’s very own Dayashanker. Kapoor, however, hams her way through the film, raising a few laughs (more at herself than the character) through the film, especially in the scene where she beats up a mangy TV reporter who sensationalizes their (Singham and Avni) departure from the city as absconding.

Despite it all Devgn and Shetty should be able to score decently at the box office. Don’t forget this is a film and not real life and don’t question the sequence of events that take place if you want to enjoy it.

Out now

Film: Singham Returns

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor, Amole Gupte

Stars: 2.5 out of 5