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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dabangg 3 is the third movie in a Bollywood action franchise starring Indian heartthrob Salman Khan. Subtitled in English, it mixes intense action and drama with occasional comedy and musical numbers. Some song lyrics make reference to religion, mentioning "God" and "prophets," but songs are mostly about bravery or love. There is strong violence throughout and mention of issues such as rape and the sex trade. Weapons are used and characters are killed. But swearing is infrequent, and often asterisks are used in the subtitles to disguise it. In one scene, flags are shown with swastikas on them; though the symbols have spiritual meaning in India, they may be triggers for some. The dances are colorful and energetic, but also quite flirtatious. While the overall theme is the battle between the hero and the villain, the subtitles, long runtime, repetitive plot, and multiple timelines may make this trying viewing for some.
What's the story?
In DABANGG 3, Chulbul Pandey's (Salman Khan) past comes back to haunt him when he encounters old enemy Balli Singh (Sudeep). An extended flashback reveals that Balli fell in love with Chulbul's fiancée, Khushi (Saiee Manjrekar). When Balli discovered Khushi was already spoken for, he kidnapped her and her family, framing Chulbul for their murders. In the present, Chulbul has left jail and trained as a police officer, living a happy life with his family. Until, that is, he busts a human trafficking ring and discovers that Balli is the crime lord at its center. With Balli threatening the peace of the area and the safety of those around Chulbul -- including new wife Rajjo (Sonakshi Sinha) -- our hero must show how fearless he really is and put a stop to the reign of terror once and for all.
Is it any good?
This movie is quite the emotional rollercoaster. When the song and dance numbers come on, it's hard not to dance along. Yet the violence is strong, with moments of stabbing and bone snapping that will make the most action-hardy wince. Khan is in his element as the heroic cop who catches the ladies' eyes, with his muscle flexes and smoldering looks to camera filled with the knowing confidence of a major star. Fights are well choreographed, and those played for laughs are a lot of fun, while others are intense and, at times, a little gratuitous. The supporting characters are well crafted -- from his love interests to his family members -- and Sudeep makes for a fittingly terrifying villain.
At over two and a half hours, Dabangg 3 feels too long and the narrative loosely strung together, with scenes often appearing repetitive and in need of editing. The level of violence seems unnecessary and makes the movie unsuitable for younger viewers. But the moments of humor pay off, and the dance numbers are fun. For teenagers with the patience and dedication to keep up with the subtitles, this is an enjoyable origins story of how Chulbul became the lovable hero and franchise star he is today -- though watching the previous two installments is not necessary to understand the plot.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the character of Chulbul Pandey in Dabangg 3. How does his character change during the film? What do you think he learned? What character strengths does he display?
Discuss Bollywood movies in general. What characteristics do most Bollywood movies share? How are they different from American movies? How do you think this movie would be different if it had been made in the United States?
Humor is often worked into serious situations. Can you think of examples of other movies that do that? Did humor affect the impact of the violence in Dabangg 3?
How were authority figures, such as police officers, portrayed in the movie?
- In theaters: December 20, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: February 14, 2020
- Cast: Salman Khan, Sudeep, Sonakshi Sinha
- Director: Prabhu Deva
- Studio: Yash Raj Films
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Music and Sing-Along
- Character strengths: Courage
- Run time: 160 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: March 31, 2020
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