They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but after watching Anees Bazmee's "Singh is Kinng" I wish I had trusted my instincts. With its corny title and dubious premise, I didn't expect much from this comic caper and it still managed to disappoint. Starring Akshay Kumar as the titular king, "Singh is Kinng" is a contrived, preposterous farce.
The film is set primarily in Australia, where Punjabi immigrants have taken control of the criminal underworld. At the top of the food chain is Lucky Singh (Sonu Sood), who rules the Sikh mafia. Lucky comes from a village in Punjab, India, where the clumsy but kindhearted Happy Singh (Akshay Kumar) lives. The two are polar opposites, but through a series of mishaps, the men find themselves tied to each other. When the villagers decide that they've had enough after Happy unintentionally wreaks havoc on their community, they devise a ruse to send Happy to Australia to fetch Lucky. Fully expecting the ill-equipped Happy to fail in his mission, they villagers celebrate being rid of their nuisance. Little do they know however, Happy's faults will work to his benefit throughout his journey. Before long, Lucky is conveniently inflicted with an unusual paralysis (leaving him fully conscious but unable to speak) and Happy is named as his replacement. But not before an accidental detour to Egypt where he'll meet a beautiful damsel in distress.
From the time Happy sets out on the plane, "Singh is Kinng" gradually devolves into a rambling mess. In an effort to facilitate his rise to power and his romantic subplot, the narrative resorts to a level of contrivance bound to induce copious eye-rolling. Consider for example, that his eventual love interest - who he meets by chance in Egypt - ends up being directly related to characters he encounters randomly in Australia, one of whom is the person whose ticket he mistakenly took in an airport all the way back in India. I mean, it's a small world, but not that small.
Of course, this is a work of fiction which obviously requires suspension of disbelief. But the sense of serendipity required to pull off such far-fetched shenanigans is lacking, mainly due to the poor acting. Kumar was nominated for an Asian Film Award for his performance and for the life of me, I can't understand why. Though he is undoubtedly an impressive stuntsman, his comedy style feels hammy, like a second-rate Shah Rukh Khan. Kaif meanwhile fails to embody anything other than a pretty face, excelling only in the dance routines where she gets to gyrate and look beautiful.
It's not all bad in "Singh is Kinng" though, as the early screwball scenes in the village are genuinely entertaining. The jokes and sight gags become progressively crude however, reaching the nadir when Lucky gets angry and his blood literally boils to the point where his IV bag explodes. Unfortunately, not even a random Snoop Dogg appearance in the end credits can save such poor filmmaking taste.
This film is part of my Bollywood marathon.