In Sippy's 1975 classic film Sholay, Gabbar Singh is a villain without a past - an evil that simply exists to plague a local farming community. He plays games with your emotions and your life. At times unstable, he knows no allegiance to anyone but himself. When our heroes come to town to capture Gabbar they face a foe they aren't prepared for. In the end - as the victims of his heinous crimes try to take Gabbar down - it is the law that eventually steps in to arrest Gabbar.
In the 2015 film Gabbar is Back, there is a backstory to a completely new incarnation of Gabbar. This time it is Gabbar who takes down those in power who claim to support the law of the land. Naam se villain. Kaam se hero.
In Gabbar is Back, Aditya (Akshay Kumar) seeks justice by following the rules with due diligence; however, he quickly discovers an unjust world of misconduct that goes far beyond his reach. This corruption takes him down and leaves him for dead. Like a phoenix, our hero rises with a burning mission - to organize a powerful anti-corruption movement from the embers of those who are dissatisfied with business as usual. He dons the name of Gabbar - Indian cinema's greatest villain - instilling fear in those who pervert the law for personal gain and empowering those who oppose corruption.
- See: SHOLAY and What You Need to Know About Gabbar Singh If You Are New To Bollywood #40YearsofSholay
The tactics employed by Aditya/Gabbar - identify 10 and murder 1 - are brutal but effective in decriminalizing the systems he targets. Unlike Howard Beale simply shouting, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!", this vigilante secretly and methodically arranges to clean house by shining a kleig light on institutions that have become more important that the people they are supposed to serve. At one point the corrupt father of one of Aditya/Gabbar's supporters is targeted for execution. Gabbar alerts the youth who accepts the imminent death of his father for the good of the system. Talk about tough love.
Along the way Aditya/Gabbar manages to fall in love with Shruti (Shruti Haasan), a strong-willed woman who learns late in the game the true nature of Aditya/Gabbar. However, when she learns of his backstory she willingly supports his cause.
While Gabbar Singh is a psychopath, Aditya/Gabbar has a conscience. It is that conscience that leads him to carry out his mission and to accept the consequences for his actions. He even goes so far as to tell his supporters that his tactics were wrong and that individuals need to be vigilant and be the change they want to see in their world. He leaves them with the idea that the fear of the rise of another Gabbar to punish the corrupt may have some merit by setting everyone on the straight path for the long term.
This conscience is one of the main characteristics that sets the two Gabbars apart. While Aditya/Gabbar spouts famous phrases delivered by Gabbar Singh ("Kitne aadme thay?"), the two characters are very different. In an IndiaToday article, Akshay Kumar explains:
"There is no connection between the two Gabbars. To come to think of it, the only thing that is common between the two characters is violence. Sholay's Gabbar inflicted violence on good people, but this Gabbar stands against the bad guys."
Many Indian films mention some form of corruption in their storylines. But Gabbar is Back addresses corruption head-on, no holds barred. With the divide between the haves and have-nots growing wider every day, a disappearing middle class, and news of malfeasance by people with power or wealth, it is cathartic to watch someone stop corruption in its tracks.
And - with an engaging story, excellent music, cool action sequences, and top-notch performances - Gabbar is Back is darn good entertainment.
The following playlist features the Gabbar is Back teasers, trailer and making of the action sequences.
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