Film: “Super Singh”; Language: Punjabi; Director: Anurag Singh; Cast: Diljit Dosanjh, Sonam Bajwa and Pavan Malhotra; Rating:**
The good news about Diljit Dosanjh’s super hero act is that it was released on the same fateful Friday when Riteish Deshmukh — another entertainer like Dosanjh justifiably known for his comic timing — was caught ‘wrecked’-handed robbing a bank.
Compared with “Bank Chor”, “Super Singh” is like a bowl of melting ice cream after a particularly indigestible frozen meal. But it’s still not good enough to be considered a worthy desi super hero successor to “Captain America” or “Deadpool”. The special effects are cringe-worthy, and when Diljit flies, he looks like Ashok Kumar marching across the army base in a comatose condition in Manoj Kumar’s “Clerk” (check out the famous sequence on the internet).
But let’s be fair. Diljit has considerable rustic charm of the regular desi bloke who drinks lots of lassi (no hard drinks unless hard feelings are to be handled), flirts harmlessly with women and makes a fashion statement out of not speaking English properly.
Doesn’t he remind you of a certain Kapil Sharma? In fact, I’d like to see Kapil play a Punjabi super hero with Sunil Grover as the arch-villain.
Diljit is engaging when he woos women in Canada with his rusticity. The supposedly sophisticated co-star Sonam Bajwa (why is she not being lapped up by the heroine-famished Bollywood film industry?) is allowed to pull up Diljit for his poor command over the English language — the sophisticated lady who probably dreams in English.
All this banter and backslapping keeps the proceedings lively and perky. Once Diljit dons the super hero mantle, he must strike out a balance between being self-deprecatory and super-heroic.
The entertainer falls between the two stools. Neither super hero nor Aam Aadmi Diljit is like a caped Kejriwal trying to convince the world he must be taken seriously even when he doesn’t take himself seriously.
Diljit comes across as somewhat anxious in his efforts to woo audiences in his new avatar. The performance lacks the effortlessness of “Udta Punjab”. Nonetheless, he is fun to watch when hanging out with Sonam. She is required to only give ego-boosting cues to Diljit. She knows she is in a situation where she must play the self-styled super hero’s ‘insignificant other’. She does it with grace.
Unforgivably, the film wastes the extraordinary talent of Pavan Malhotra, one of Indian cinema’s most underused actors, used effectively in Anurag Singh’s “Punjab 1984”, and here reduced to a preposterous prop.
Why did Malhotra do it? Why, for that matter would director Anurag Singh waste his talent directing a poorly conceived super hero film? Who would want to see Diljit in a cape suit when the Wonder Woman is passing by?
Diljit’s diehard fans may find his aerial antics amusing, but only to a point. After a while the OMG scale of performances gets on your nerves. Akshay Kumar’s turbaned goofiness in “Singh Is Kinng” was far more endearing.
But if you have been misfortunate enough to see “Bank Chor” this week, “Super Singh” may just be the antidote that your nerves need.