Simmba: Another Tale of Hypermasculinity
Ranveer Singh’s Simmba is an all-out typical masala film and it does not shy away from being called that. It is packed with exaggerated fight sequences, slow-motion action scenes and randomly breaks into a song without an explanation. Simmba does everything to appeal to the masses. It tries to replicate the same template that made Singham such a massive success but where it misses the mark is crisp writing and engaging screenplay.
Simmba is very different from Singham. Ranveer Singh’s character, Sanghram Bhallerao aka Simmba, is a flawed one with twisted morals and a lust to earn money. He is often seen conning the common man and working closely with the goon of the area. Him turning a blind eye to the crimes in the state cost the life of a dear one and that’s what brings about his transformation. The story is so predictable that one can literally see Simmba’s redemption coming almost 20 minutes before it happens on screen. And when that happens the movie turns around on its head. It loses the light tone and adopts a more dark and a serious one.
But despite all its flaws, Simmba is roaring at the box-office, making huge numbers. And that’s majorly to do with the overly masculine portrayal of Ranveer Singh’s Simmba that everyone seems to be loving. The hypermasculinity is getting the admiration but it’s troubling to see that even in 2019 people feel that that is something to be proud of. The female characters in the film are reduced to mere eye candy or a mother or sister figure and one’s really left to think if Sara Ali Khan was even needed in the film? Her role, she does perfectly but it seems like her scenes were written during the shooting itself. Other than delivering loosely written dialogues and popping up for picturesque song sequences, she has absolutely nothing to do! A film that is desperately trying to cater to women-centric issues certainly misses the mark with involving them a bit more.
And that’s the thing, the whole template feels very predictable and redundant. A refreshed version of a typical 80’s film. The hero shows his recklessness, faces a life-changing situation and then kicks the ass of the goons. Is that what the Indian audiences still like to see? I am left wondering. On one hand, 2018 proved to be the year of content-driven films and on the other, it had cliched films like Simmba getting massive success. It could be due to Ranveer Singh’s compelling performance but I think it is mostly because of chauvinistic mindsets of the audiences.
The one weirdly interesting thing to watch out for is how Rohit Shetty is planning on creating an MCU style extended universe of vigilante cops. Nobody saw that one coming!