Superstar Salman Khan’s 'Dabangg' franchise is probably the last link with the kind of cinema Bollywood is believed to have left behind years ago. Formulaic, predictable and seemingly out of sync with the changing times, it is so much like the much-reviled movies of 1980s, which the millennial audiences love to hate today.
And yet, every time a movie from this series hits the screen, it storms the box office. It is most likely to be no different this time when its third installment, 'Dabangg 3' releases in the pre-Christmas week this month. Going by the looks and feel of its trailer, it appears to be merely as an extension of its two superhit prequels, which were released in 2010 and 2012, and once again gives an uncanny sense of déjà vu. What then makes the Dabanggs tick? Well, here are the ten good reasons:
1. Salman Khan: Popularly known as “Bhai” in and outside the industry, Salman remains a superstar in the true sense with a humongous fan following across the country and beyond. Even his flop projects do a business of more than Rs 100 crore in the first weekend itself. His name draws tremendous footfalls both at the multiplexes in the big cities and the single-screen theatres in the smaller ones.
2. Chulbul Pandey: Salman’s character of Chulbul Pandey, a funny cop with a steely resolve to fight against the injustices, appears to have connected with the audience big time.
3. Lead pair: Chulbul Pandey’s chemistry with Rajjo, his wife played by Sonakshi Sinha, has the old world charm of a romantic couple, which is rarely seen onscreen in an era of realistic stories these days.
4. Music: At a time when melody has abandoned Hindi film music under the cacophony of Punjabi rap, you can find some sense in the songs of 'Dabangg'.
5. Antagonist: You have to have an antagonist to match a star of Salman’s calibre with whom he can fight. Sonu Sood and Prakash Raj were equal to the task in the previous installments while Kichcha Sudeep looks menacing enough for the part in Dabangg 3.
6. Action-emotion: All the Dabnagg movies can be called the “action-emotion ka shola”, a favourite jargon of the film industry over the years to define a paisa wasool masala movie. It is not all about Salman tearing off his shirt during his fights with the villain in the climax, the film also contains the right dose of emotions over family values and human relationships.
7. Item song: 'Munni Badnaam Hui' turned out to be the chartbusting item song in the original but it was Salman’s dance moves that brought the house down. 'Dabanng 3' has 'Munna Badnaam Hua', a male version of the foot-tapping number, with a young Warina Hussain of 'LoveYatri' (2018) fame replacing Malaika Arora.
8. Hype: All Salman movies make the right noises ahead of their releases but 'Dabangg' series invariably has had the extra hype, thanks to a brilliant promotional campaign spearheaded by Salman himself.
9. Supporting cast: Even though 'Dabangg' movies are all about Salman, he is always supported well by an able starcast. Even producer Arbaaz Khan as Makki manages to pass muster with the audiences.
10. Formula is different now: When most of the filmmakers have switched over to making content-rich cinema today, 'Dabangg' series follows the same, good, old formula for entertainment -- a cop-versus-goon saga of vendetta -- something that makes it stand out by default. Whether you like it or not, there is still a big audience rooting for such a larger-than-life movie.