Dabangg 3 movie review: A cringe-fest

Shubhra Gupta
Dabangg 3 movie review:

Dabangg 3 movie review: It is unbelievable that Bollywood is still making these movies at the end of the decade.

Dabangg 3 movie cast: Salman Khan, Sudeep, Sonakshi Sinha, Arbaaz Khan, Saiee Manjrekar
Dabangg 3 movie director: Prabhudheva
Dabangg 3 movie rating: 1.5 stars

The only reason to watch the third edition of Dabangg is to see if Chulbul Pandey urf Salman Khan still has any 'chulbulahat' left in him, that thing that made the first two fairly enjoyable despite their utterly predictable arcs.

But this one, which has a long back-story of how Chulbul came to be called Chulbul, is not just a dreary mish-mash of the previous ones; it’s also a cringe-fest. The flashback takes us many years back to when our hero falls for a sweet young thing (Manjrekar), who when not smiling and simpering, has ambitions of further studies. ‘Woh padhaai karegi, aur hum uski rakhwali’: ‘Rakhwali’? The poor thing will have no agency apart from batting her lashes and studying like a good girl? You’re kidding, right, Pandey ji?

Of course not. This is not the kind of film which sees any problem with the hero doing ‘rakhwali’ of the heroine. What else are heroes for? Even the villain who goes by the name of Balli Singh (Sudeep), knows his fate: he will be given an army of henchmen, illegal mines, and a side-business of prostitution, and some dialogues. But he knows, and we know, how it will all end.

The rest of it plays out like any other Bhai film minus the bits and pieces of comic-book fun that kept the first two Dabanggs afloat. Director Prabhudheva’s signature moves are visible not just in the bump-and-grind numbers, but also in the fight sequences, and everywhere else in the film. The lowest common denominator is reached over and over again: fart jokes, camera lingering on female bosoms (sexism, here it comes), juvenile jokes which curdle as soon as they are out of the mouth (haha, not), a phalanx of bare-bodied baddies all painted black, and shining with oil (racism, natch), and in one sequence, a urinating arc from three male orifices, the farthest one belonging, of course, no prizes for guessing, to our dabangg. Size matters, right? Sheesh.

When, right in the beginning, our Chulbul gave us a glimpse of his incredibly muscled legs, I thought, wait up, is this one really going to be different? No bare chest? Of course not. We get two for the price of one, Sudeep’s as well as Salman’s. Sorry bros, ain’t workin’. Arbaaz’s younger brother, Makkhi, is also same old. The only thing that has any energy is the shimmy-shake-shake item number (of course there’s one) and a single solitary jokey sequence is broad but effective; all else is wallpaper.

At one point, Sonakshi’s coy ‘biwi’ Rajjo, all printed saris and 'dhaage-wali cholis', tells Chulbul: ‘main woh 70s/ 80s wali baat nahi karoongi’. Looks like someone forgot the script, because it is unbelievable that Bollywood is still making these movies at the end of the decade, outdated, mothballed, insisting on making women wait for their ‘rakhwalas’.

No 'pyaar', no 'thappad', and even Shirtless Salman eliciting only muted 'seeties'? What’s left then?