One can easily draw a parallel in Singh is King and Lion of Punjab… Just like Singh is King (in which Akshay and Om Puri go abroad), in LOP (Lion of Punjab) Diljit, Pooja Tandon and Gurpreet Ghuggi travel to Chandigarh. But unlike Sing is Kinng, Lion of Punjab is a lot more action oriented film and Diljit suits his character a lot more than Akshay did his.
In fact the biggest grace of the film is Diljit’s acting. He seems very comfortable on camera and not even once misses his cool pace in the film, moreover he justifies his character with a mix of everything… drama, comedy, action… Diljit makes a shift from his action sequences to comic scenes in such a swift way that it’s barely noticeable. I would love to see Diljit doing a full comedy movie. His dialogues seem very natural and effortless. Despite the demand of his role, he never seems pompous or boastful.
Pooja Tandon has done a fairly good job but when she switches to western dresses in song sequences, her wardrobe seems to fail miserably. Apart from that, she fits in her role and justifies the cause very well. No complaints in acting department either.
Jividha starts off fast and carries that speed with her and stays very confident on camera and never falters from her lines. Gurpreet Ghuggi falters a little in LOP. He starts off very well with malwai accent originating from Bathinda district, but casually drops it off every now and then in the film.. then picks it up again, then looses it again…. not the consistency that Ghuggi is known for. The best scene of the film is his first meeting with Vivek Shauq.. my god what a scene.. that’s true comedy.. not a single dialogue but your stomach starts to hurt.. that’s what happens when two maestros of comedy meet. Vivek Shauq, despite having a smaller role, has done a very very good job. Im not sure but i guess it was his last film.
Bhottu Shah has a few shining moments in the film, but after a while his poetry of “Tiwari” becomes rather repetitive and boring. Yaad Grewal has done a tremendous job as a villain and he truly seems pure evil… great acting.. or maybe he was just being natural :D
After a long time we got to see Deep Dhillon as a villain and it seems he has put all his evil frustrations of so many years of playing good charcters into this role. Great acting as always. Even all the stock characters have done a good job. Acting wise the film is very good and everyone has given a commendable performance.
Coming to the storyline, it really isn’t the focus of the film. The whole idea of Cancer in Malwa region is very good and the film does try to bring it to the forefront by some very bold dialogues that many other films seem to shy away. But more emphasis is given to character portrayal than to justify the plot. Still, it does its job, but the film is too long and gets tiring. If the film was a little short, it would have been more accessible and would have added to its benefit. At the moment, it drags.
Cinematography is average. Too many shoulder shots and at times camera gets so shaky that it gives you a headache. There is no consistency of locations in the film either, but it came to my attention as I have been very familiar with Chandigarh, so I can notice the shifts. For most of the viewers it won’t matter much. The song sequences seem forced. Suddenly in a tragic situation a song sequence jumps in, however choreography is nice. Well.. it being Diljit, nothing less was expected.
A word for dialogues must be put in, for LOP has great dialogues in it. They are bold and colloquial at the same time. Especially the way Diljit delivers them, it really makes you go WOW…great great great job with dialogues.
However there are some weird elements in the film… at times LOP seems to follow the path of a cheap sexual comedy.. There is a scene where Jividha teaches Diljit how to speak English… A for apple, B for Ball, C for catch… and the hand gestures are just the beginning of a rotten cause.. H for home, E for elephant and F for…. (she shies away and says) chaddo fir kade dasoongi.. aje tu chota aa.. (or maybe it was aje tu bacha aa.. not sure) wtf? WTF? Seriously.. what was that? And finally she Kisses him at K. Thankfully the film doesn’t show the kiss, but it seems from the expression of Ghuggi, Bhoto Shah and Pooja Tondon as if they have gone straight for S for Smooch.. using the reference to F word is not the issue. The issue is the way it is being presented. It has been presented in a very cheap way. Either you make a cheap sexual comedy or you give it a proper romantic treatment… like the scene in the Almirah.. Now that was handled nicely…
In the beginning Jividha is presented as a sex doll. Her dresses in the opening are way too short for any girl to wear and the low down angle shots are plenty. In the opening of the song sequence “Gore Gore” they have taken too much liberty with her mini skirt. It seems the sole purpose of the whole song is to reveal what she is wearing under her skirt… and her pink dress… how in the world was she able to shoot like that with everything clearly visible below her waist lines? Don’t tell me that I was looking there and that is my mentality and that I’m a pervert to notice such things. I ask you, was anyone else looking elsewhere. And when you, the readers will watch the movie, see if you can ignore this, because it doesn’t happen for a split second.. it happens for at least one and half minutes… Once again the point is not that they are showing undergarments on screen, the point is, why be so innocent about it and pretend not to notice… oh… we didn’t mean to… it was tailor’s fault..!! Why dont you just go ahead and make her wear bikinis? At least that won’t make her look cheap. This was simply unacceptable… and if it’s being justified by saying that her character demands it, that she is a frank girl, very open, then I say.. Please.. Stop abusing the stereotypical frank girls and start finding better ways of portraying females apart from Sex objects. Thankfully her character starts wearing jeans in the later half of the film and she starts to build a character as well.
Still, the saving grace is Diljit. In all these scenes Diljit has handled the situations in a cool demeanour and makes the whole audience feel normal about such absurd treatment of romance. These very scenes could have become very ridiculing for the SIkh persona of Diljit, but thanks to Diljit and his attitude, he comes out victorious and kept the respect on top. Frankly speaking, he has actually done a better job than what Akshay did in Singh is Kinng. While Akshay looked a fake surd and even his mannerisms were fake, Diljit has truly justified the Lion factor.
The film has all the masala that makes a Punjabi film a hit and most probably it will be a hit, but very honestly, as a viewer and appreciator, i expected a lot more than this from Guddu Dhanoa.