Roaring into the Indian box office — and Veterans 24 in Tampa — on Friday for India's Independence Day is Bollywood's lionesque, no-nonsense and possibly slightly nutso cop Bajirao Singham.
In the 2011 blockbuster Singham, the do-good, butt-kicking small-town policeman gets shifted to the big city of Goa to grapple with a gangster and talk about himself in the third person. In Returns, officer Singham — which literally means "lion" — moves up again, this time to deputy commissioner of police in Mumbai, India's largest city, to combat corruption and black market money. The antagonist is now a swami rather than a gangster.
Singham Returns stars the mostly expressionless Ajay Devgn and Kareena Kapoor, though luckily Devgn has one good angry face and can act a bit with his outrageously large muscles. Kapoor, who toted her blank look around Tampa for the IIFA Awards, replaces South Indian star Kajal Aggarwal from the first movie and will supposedly take a more pivotal role, written especially for her. Take that as you will.
Director Rohit Shetty is Bollywood's much better version of Michael Bay — all about the big-budget explosions and overstatement, but with the right kind of humor to balance it out. So when Devgn swings out of moving cars to kick guys over and shoots SUVs so they go flying through the air, you're supposed to crack a smile.
Caitlin E. O'Conner, Times staff writer