Release Date: July 22, 2011
Director: Rohit Shetty
Starring: Ajay Devgn, Kajal Aggarwal, Prakash Raj
Favorite quote: “Kutton ka jhund kitna bhi bada ho … uske liye ek sher hi kaafi hota hai” (Translation: “No matter how big the group of dogs is…for them, one tiger is more than enough.”)
Recommending films made outside the United States is tricky. While Western films may have some odd cultural quirks that may not translate well for us, Asian films are oftentimes difficult to explain. Martial arts classics like Legend of the Drunken Master and Ong Bak don’t need translation; they are classics because of what happens onscreen. But those are movies from Far East Asian countries like China and Thailand, respectively. They are known in the States primarily for those kinds of movies. Well, Japan is a haven for the best anime, but that’s another topic altogether.
What about India, which is a Near East Asian country? Outside of the term “Bollywood” and Slumdog Millionaire, many people on this side of the Western Hemisphere are blissfully ignorant of the movie scene there. That is a shame, as India is a huge film market. Yes, their box office tallies heavily favor home-grown movies, but they still love consuming films made in the USA. Their reception is a bit off from our own, of course. Wonder Woman only pulled in a modest sum at the box office there, while Fate of the Furious is an all-time blockbuster film.
But this entry is in my Have you Seen… series is not about how US films do in India. It’s about how films made in India are largely ignored stateside and shouldn’t be. I can find no better example of the sheer MAGIC that Indian filmmaking can be than today’s subject: Singham.
Before I talk about Singham, I want to show you a YouTube clip. It is a clip from the movie, originally unedited except for the soundtrack. Some brilliant soul thought this scene was so epic, it needed to have Guile’s Theme from Street Fighter II as the backing track. Pay no attention to the subtitles; they are absolutely bullshit. Just watch the clip. I think you will agree that the results are incredible!
What if I told you that the actual backing track makes this scene MORE EPIC???
That is Singham, a movie about an impossibly badass, incredibly honest policeman, Inspector Bajirao M. Singham (Ajay Devgn). He is transferred from his town to another town where a crime syndicate controls everything…including his transfer to the town. The syndicate, led by mafioso-turned-politician Jaykant Shikre (Prakash Raj), does everything possible to bend Singham to its whims. Not only does Singham not bow – in defiance of both the syndicate and his superiors – he vows to break them all. And break them he does.
For those who can’t – or won’t – understand the badassery Singhman possesses, the title character is essentially a mix of Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee, and a fucking GUNDAM! He absolutely bleeds integrity through every pore, and every fight he gets into results in extreme levels of awesomeness. According to this movie’s lore, a simple bitch-slap from Singham had the equivalent energy of a semi hitting a building made of Silly Putty. Fans of over-the-top action are robbing themselves if they don’t watch this movie!
Oh, yea and his Crossfit reps are legit! The man is more ripped than my credit rating!
Of course, the adrenaline-chugging action isn’t the only thing this movie does. Singham has been summoned to the town because another honest officer killed himself after being entrapped and seen as corrupt. The former officer’s family demands an inquiry, but Shikre impedes any inquiry. Shikre’s goons try to corrupt Singham and do cause troubles for him and his newfound love, Kavya Bhosle (Kajal Aggarwal).
For action junkies, however, none of that will matter. All they will care about after the first viewing is that Singham is an absolute MONSTER! They will see this movie, scream out in delight with every over-the-top action scene, and demand that their friends watch it!
Movies like Singham are great simply because they open up the minds of many to the films India produces. Yes, there are plenty of Bollywood films that are cheesy to the point of attracting mice. So do many North American releases. But movies like Singham exist. And if you haven’t watched it, then you have no idea what you’re missing. It’s available on Netflix right now for those that are interested. I cannot recommend watching this movie enough. If anything, it shows that Near East Asia is capable of producing movies on par or superior to its Far Eastern counterparts.
If you’re still on the fence, I suggest you watch the above clip again. Maybe Guile will get you to watch it!