Channel 4’s first Bollywood season of 2012 kicks off just before midnight on Sunday with the Dabangg, the Salman Khan staring blockbuster that became the highest grossing Indian film of 2010.
Dabangg (The Fearless One) is a tongue-in-cheek crime caper that combines action, romance, family intrigues and satirical comment on political corruption and power.
It tells the story of Chulbul Pandey (Khan), an Uttar Pradesh cop who calls himself Robin Hood Pandey.
Forever at loggerheads with his stepbrother Makhi (played by Khan’s real life brother, actor/producer Arbaaz Khan), Chulbul delights in flexing his muscles, picking fights and causing mayhem.
Dabangg is followed by Tamil sci-fi action film Enthiran: The Robot, which features Rajinikanth in a double role playing both obsessive robotics scientist Dr Vaseegaran as well as his android invention Chitti.
At first Dr Vaseegaran’s creation is a gentle yet powerful robot, but the trouble starts when Dr Vaseegaran insists that Chitti should be programmed with emotions. Chitti promptly falls in love with his creator’s sweetheart, Sana (Aishwarya Rai), and then turns mean and nasty.
The movie took almost 12 years to make and is a collaboration between director S Shankar and the Stan Winston Studios (whose founder’s work includes Aliens, Jurassic Park, A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Avatar).
India’s most expensive film, Enthiran opened to full houses, thrilled by its high-octane action scenes, AR Rahman’s score and the unpretentious charisma of 61-year-old Rajinikanth; who, after Jackie Chan, is Asia’s highest-paid actor.
It’s also the second time in two years that Channel 4 has varied its usual Hindi film schedule with a Tamil picture and follow’s last year’s screening of Mani Ratnam’s Raavanan. That film was very enjoyable and hopefully Enthiran will be too. Based on the (Russian-dubbed) clip below it certainly looks like a lot of fun.
This may well be the blockbuster season as the next film of the season is Shah Rukh Khan’s critical and commercial success My Name Is Khan.
The American-set family drama tells the story of a man with Asperger’s syndrome, Rizwan Khan (Shah Rukh Khan), who moves to San Francisco to live with his brother and sister-in-law.
There, the young Muslim meets Mandira (Kajol), a beautiful Hindu woman, who has a young son from a previous marriage. Rizwan falls in love with her and insists that they marry, despite the protests of their families. Rizwan, Mandira and her young son, Sameer (Yuvaan Makaar), are blissfully happy until the events of September 11 2001 turn their lives upside down.
Finally there’s another chance to see Udaan, shown as part of last Autumn’s Bollywood season. It’s a shame not to get a new film screening, but Udaan was an interesting non-Bollywood Hindi movie and the moving coming of age drama is well worth staying up late or setting the recorder for.
• Dabangg – Sunday 22 April, 23:55 – 02:10
• Enthiran: The Robot – Tuesday 24 April, 00:10 – 03:15
• My Name Is Khan – Monday 30 April, 00:20 – 02:30
• Udaan – Tuesday 1 May, 01:00 – 03:15