Bollywood SmackDown: Veer "He-Man" Singh v. Chulbul "Robin Hood" Pandey

We now take you ringside to our guest announcers Makkhanchan "Makkhi" Pandey (Arbaaz Khan in Dabangg (2010)) and Punya "Pindari" Singh (Sohail Khan in Veer (2010)) for a special event. Please don’t leave without casting your vote. (Top right, under the header, ends January 31.)

Makkhi: Welcome to an exclusive preview of today's historic match-up between two of the greatest fighters known to filmkind.

Punya: *Mankind*, Makkhi, mankind. Let me tell you something about these guys. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. That’s what I’m talkin’ about. Nothing but respect.

Makkhi: They are supremely talented. They are fearless. They are their opponents' worst nightmares. They like to take their shirts off at least once every three hours. Indeed, once they make a commitment, they refuse to change their minds. They are used to toying with high stakes. They are used to sacrificing their bodies. And they only await their next challenge, coming up soon. So sit back and relax while you can, because once this fight starts, you're going to be sitting at the edge of your seat, much like the crowds that have started gathering here.

We'll be right back after these messages...

Makkhi: Welcome back to our exclusive preview.

Punya: I have one word for those trailers: Awesome. We forgot to mention Veer and Chulbul are our brothers.

Makkhi: (Eye roll) This is the only blog that will break down the epic upcoming match-up between two of the greatest fighters of our time.

Punya: Veer is *not* of our time, Makkhi. He's classic. A pure Pindari warrior!

Makkhi: Of course. Of course.

Punya: And speaking of breaking things down, both Veer and Chulbul like to break down people they don’t like. This should be exhilarating stuff!

Makkhi: What a contrast in how they approach their art.

Punya: Right. But don't mess with my Veera. He can break a sword with one bare hand!

Makkhi: Chulbul doesn't leave hands on his opponents.

Punya: Why such an undying love for Chulbul, Makkhi? He hated you and your father. He’s corrupt. He doesn’t willingly share his wealth. Simply put, he’s bad, and stern as a rock.

Makkhi: Bad a$$, you mean! He is *so* bad, even the bad guys are uncharacteristically insecure when he’s around.

Punya: If not for him, you might still be single. Doesn’t that feel weird?

Makkhi: Not at all. Have you seen my Munni?

Punya: *Your* Munni? You’re stepping out of character, Makkhi. Back to the fight.

Makkhi: No, but you didn’t answer my question.

Punya: You’re not the only one with a hottie, you know. Check *us* out! I even taught her to sing in Hindi!

Makkhi: Is she your wife? Hmm?

Punya: The way you so arrogantly say ‘Hmm’ reminds me of Captain Russell.

Makkhi: Dude, wrong film. That was Lagaan (2001).

Punya: Oh, sorry, I meant Governor Fraser.

Makkhi: Right. Wannabe.

Punya: Wannabe? Chulbul is the wannabe. He calls himself Robin Hood, for God’s sake!

Makkhi: Yet, it was Veer with the merry men. You know they didn’t do this in India back then, right?

Punya: Of course they did. What do you know about India?

Makkhi: My brother is a renowned cop!

Punya: My brother kicked off a revolution before yours was even born.

Makkhi: No. That was Mangal Pandey!

Punya: Whatever. It wasn’t *Chulbul* Pandey, okay.

Makkhi: Say what one may, Chulbul is a super street fighter. Plus, he’s got guns. Veer’s nineteenth century swords will be no match.

Punya: But Veer’s weapons and armor can withstand a cannon, what’s a gun?

(Punya and Makkhi start playing “Rock-Paper-Scissors” until a member of the production crew reminds them they’re on air.)

Makkhi: Well. We all know how that armor worked out.

Punya: That was actually Jackie "Dada" Shroff’s fault.

Makkhi: Funny thing is, Dada reminded me of special edition Skeletor, what with all that black and gold.

Punya: Veer is no less than He-Man! Check him out. Our blog host has made that comparison before, while discussing Wanted (2009).

theBollywoodFan: For real. He even comes in the Battle Armor He-Man variant this time (these pictures are from my He-Man toy collection, by the way)...

...and the Jungle Attack variant!

Makkhi: Poor Dada. I heard you guys chopped his hand off.

Punya: Yes, and you should be worried.

Makkhi: Worried? Why? Chulbul has money. He has power. He has a uniform. What does Veer have?

Punya: Veer has maa!

Makkhi: Chulbul has a lovely wife.

theBollywoodFan: That was a decent debut for Shatrugan "Shotgun" Sinha's daughter, by the way.

Punya: Veer has a child.

Makkhi: Chulbul will have one very soon. But have you noticed Veer’s child’s mother looks a bit like Katrina Kaif?

Punya: So? That lady in Lucky (2005) looked like Aishwarya Rai. What’s the big deal?

Makkhi: I’m glad Lady Luck smiled on me and not my brother. (Whistling to the Munni Badnaam tune.)

Punya: You’re out of character again, Makkhi. Take it easy. Lady Luck won’t be smiling on Chulbul tonight. He’s in serious trouble.

Makkhi: We shall see, my pal. We shall see. Robin Hood is bad, I’d never bet against him.

Punya: That’s the thing I don’t get. My brother Veer is the good guy. Everyone respects that. He’s a patriot. He’s honest and compassionate. He’s a heck of a leader. He isn’t corrupt. Yet, everyone likes Chulbul the Dabangg so much more.

Makkhi: And that includes theBollywoodFan.

theBollywoodFan: Kinda. Veer had its moments. It had the better soundtrack by far. And I can't help but wonder people who haven't even seen it have made up their minds about it, which is a shame. Yet, there’s no contest with Dabangg in terms of popularity, and rightfully so. Sorry Punya, Chulbul and Dabangg win hands down.

Punya: But why?

Makkhi: Because my brother Chulbul is *so* bad, he’s good!

theBollywoodFan: That’s what they say of Veer the film.

Punya: Dear Lord. Almost everyone likes the bad guy more than the good guy. What has this world come to? Kitna badal gaya insaan? (Oh how man has changed!) Why didn’t I die before seeing this day?

Makkhi (Whispering): That’s a dialogue for Maa.

Punya: You’re right, actually.

Makkhi: Of course I’m right. I’m the brains around here.

theBollywoodFan: Lord help the world.

Punya (Teary-eyed): Maa!

Makkhi: While Punya goes off to a family reunion and seeks congratulations on petty achievements...

...why don’t you tell us who you think will win this historic match between Veer and Chulbul? Vote now, it’s the first ever poll here!

theBollywoodFan: Readers, the poll runs until January 31, 2011, and the voting box can be found at the top of the sidebar, under the header. My vote is out in the open: No one, *no one* beats He-Man.

(Update added 2/1/2011: The results are in. Chulbul wins mightily with 70% of the total vote! Thank you to all who voted.)

Makkhi: Until next time, folks. This is Makkhi saying so long, everybody. Enjoy the fight.

theBollywoodFan: He meant the vote.

Punya (sobbing): And remember to cast your vote, not vote your cast, please.

And finally...

I hope you enjoyed reading this at least half as much as I enjoyed writing. :) The conclusions, then:


Movie rating: 2.5/5 - Average. I found it quite enjoyable despite its many flaws and its very, very cliched approach and script. Part of me wishes it were less of a love story, could've been a great pure action flick. If you're a Salman fan, you might draw some solace.

Music rating: 3.75/5 (Very good, it's among the best works of Sajid-Wajid. I like every track but 'Taali'.)

My classification: R, for violence.

Official website:



Movie rating: 4/5 - Excellent! Salman at his finest, with a very good supporting cast (particularly Vinod Khanna, Om Puri, and Sonu Sood) and some pure fun comedy. Few if any can pull this off.

Music rating: 2.5/5 (Very VERY average as a standalone product, and tolerable in the film only because of the cast. I don't understand what appears to be a very positive response.)

My classification: R, for violence.

Official website:

Also see: Shell's review.


Sujoy Singha (via Twitter) said...

Hahahahahaha..... Ekdum Pathaka

theBollywoodFan said...


Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Very fun! u almost sold Veer to me :D

kal ho na ho said...

Ha Ha Ha .. :-)

((They like to take their shirts off at least once every three hours))

they want to show us how it's hard to have the stomach six pack abs :D

I have seen Salman's Dabangg 5 times until now.. SUPER SUPER SUPER movie ..

thanx for your nice post



theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Shweta! I know Veer made it to your 'Five Worst' list for 2010, and I know you're a much bigger Salman Khan fan than I. Things like being a He-fan, a (former) WWF/E fan, and a period film geek (especially when it comes to 19th and early-20th century South Asia) influenced my opinion of Veer. :)

Conversely, it could just be that I conveniently omitted mention of being sick with a severe cold while I watched this. Any Bollywood works in that case. ;) But no, I went back and saw bits, I liked Salman in warrior mode, as is evident by the comparisons to He-Man action figures. Overall, however, I agree with your conclusion: Major lost potential.

theBollywoodFan said...

Kal Ho Na Ho in Kuwait: Hello and welcome! Thank *you* for your comment, and glad you enjoyed the post! Those abs take a lot of commitment, yes!

Dabangg five times already, you say! I'll look to see it again soon enough, good, old-school dishoom-dishoom in the mix.

Cheers! Do come again. :)

nakhrewali said...

bwahaha this was a great idea XD

I thought I was the only one that thought Veer was superfun! IDK ... I think I might have *gasp* enjoyed it more than Dabangg.

mm said...

Oh, that was fantastic! I had a ball reading it.

Like you, there is no doubt in my mind that Veer is the better warrior (heck, it's even his name!!!), and that he can easily outmatch Chulbul. But the problem is, Veer is very, very honorable, and Chulbul ... isn't. So I wouldn't be surprised if he pulls off dirty trick or two to either distract or entrap Veer (whose word is his bond) into an unwinnable position. So I vote for Veer as the better fighter, but I'm not sure that Chulbul won't emerge the eventual winner.

(BTW, I'm so glad you put the "Cast your vote but don't vote your cast" (without the e) slogan, because, if it was based on cast (not caste), the presence of Punya alone would be enough for me to vote against Veer.)

Seriously, though, I think Veer (the film) has a lot of heart and serious philosophy in it that doesn't get enough recognition.

Thanks for a very fun poll!

Filmi Girl said...

Hee hee!! I am tempted to watch Veer now just to be able to fully gauge both sides!


Shellie said...

Wah wah!! Fantastic post, yaar! I am almost tempted to watch Veer now also! You do have a way of swaying thoughts, me thinks.

For the record, I'm fairly certain that Chulbul, Veera and He-Man would have come in after Sheera!!!

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Nakhrewali: Thanks so much for your visit and comment! So you're definitely not the only person who thought Veer was fun! There were parts that I enjoyed more than Dabangg's, but I just felt it could've been edited much better and even been more focused. Yet, it certainly didn't mean I didn't enjoy it because of that. There's plenty done in here that one can appreciate.

I'll head on over to your delightful write-up of the film soon, but for now, I must say I agree with this, despite thinking a more focused approach would've worked better for the 21st century box office:

" of the aspects of Veer I enjoyed the most was its magpie-like tendencies to borrow whatever it took a liking to in order to decorate its historical fantasy canvas. Then again I love movies like Saawariya and Moulin Rogue for this very reason as well. The sets, props and costumes in these types of movies are meant to be highly stylised and convey a look or complement an emotion and have no intention of mirroring realism. So in this case I get to see rustic Rajasthanis, Victorian-esque fashion, lavish sets, musical interludes, a royal coronation, a swayamvar, a jousting tournament and some hilarious battles - hai na WIN? Mere dictionary main tou hai."

Yes! I often thought while watching that there are several distinct story lines within the overarching plot that often hurt the interconnectedness efforts, yet they somehow managed to cause an overlap enough to bring them all together.

And yes, realism was never a prerequisite for good cinema, no matter which film industry is in question.

Treated as historic fiction, I didn't think Veer was at all the disaster it's been made to be. Could it have been bigger and better? Absolutely, by a lot. There were too many dismembered limbs and more cheese than there needed to be. But the dialogue-baazi and action made it worthwhile for me, and the rest I was willing to ignore as I would in a 1970s/80s movie of a similar genre.

Thanks again, and do come again! I'll look forward to stopping by your blog soon. Keep it up, "kitaabi keeda" (your words, not mine ;)

theBollywoodFan said...

mm: Yes, Veer is by far the better warrior, and certainly more honorable. I like how you're thinking about the fight, though, and those dirty tricks Chulbul would pull. Very likely, and perfect given the setting for the fight would even encourage this!

I'm really glad you noticed 'don't vote your cast'! I toyed with the idea of saying something like, "No matter who you vote for, Sallu wins!" But then, that would've been out of character, and Makkhi had been accused of that! :D

Speaking of Punya...have you seen Sohail Khan in the film 'Heroes'? I quite liked that, actually, there's no question that's Sohail's best film.

Veer does have a lot of heart and the serious philosophies are there to play with if one wants to. Completely agree there.

Thank *you* for your kind words, glad you enjoyed the post! Do come again. :)

theBollywoodFan said...

Filmi Girl! :D It'd be interesting to know your take, especially since you like masala movies. It's not as well executed as it could've been. Should you decide to see it, please remember there's lots of cheese and (sometimes) cringe-worthy CGI use to accompany it all. :) Check out the trailers and go with your gut! Cheers!

theBollywoodFan said...

Shell: Thank you! I think I had a bit too much fun while writing and screen-capping for this, and while taking those action figure shots (although I would've liked to pose them like Veer, too, but the time that would take...oh well, LOL). If only all movies made it so much fun! :D

Please go by the trailers before you decide to see Veer. It's not near as awful as it's made to be, but there is a fair amount of violence and bloodshed (more so than Dabangg, this with swords, which is at times freaky), so you've been warned. No Mahesh Manjrekar in Wanted-type character, however. Yet, I'd stick to that list of movies that you have in your to-watch queue before considering this! And if you choose to see this, have Dabangg handy just in case you need to step up the overall quality a few notches. ;)

Veera rhymes with She-Ra, and it's so apt here! Good choice! There's this guy in the She-Ra cartoons who has the biggest crush on Princess Adora. His name is Bo, and in a war-torn region where he hangs out in what is essentially a refugee camp, he wears a lot of pure gold jewelry. It's all out of place (unless the planet they're on has tons of gold). Yet, it works. Veer to me was kinda like that. :D


Joss said...

Hahaha! A very entertaining read! I liked the look of the Dabangg trailer so I shall be trying to get hold of this now. I particularly liked the look of the choreography and direction of the songs. I'm not a great Salman fan, but maybe with this one he can convert me. Nice to see you back, tBF. I appreciated your reviews in the previous post even though I did not leave any comment.

theBollywoodFan said...

Joss: Thank you! The direction and choreography of the songs in Dabangg are really what made them fit well within the movie, so you'll likely enjoy that part. Have you seen some of Salmans older works, from the early 1990s? He was very different before he focused on comedy. It'd be interesting to know your take on Dabangg, though, he's done real well. That's not to say he didn't do well in Veer, though, one can see he's given it a good effort there as well.

Hope you are well, best wishes for a great 2011 (and beyond)!

theBollywoodFan said...

All (1 of 2): I found this relevant article over at this Times of India link, and while comments on its author are beyond the scope of this discussion, here are some bits I found interesting, since we've been talking of Dabangg, and Salman's appeal:

"If, like me, you watch movies not at their premiere, or on TV, but in a typical old fashioned theatre, not even in a multiplex, you will figure why Salman works. His every strut is greeted with wolf whistles and cat calls. His every line of cheeky dialogue is loudly chanted by his fans and some of them, who are watching the film for the umpteenth time, anticipate his lines by screaming them out a split second before they are spoken on screen. This is clearly one star whose fans don't want him to act. They want him to strut through the film, doing nothing more than delivering cheesy lines of dialogue and beating up guys beefier than him. And, O yes, they reserve the maximum applause for that one moment in a film when he takes his shirt off, either for the mother of a fight or a chalu song..."

theBollywoodFan said...

All (2 of 2):

"...Funnily, barring Salman, the others are looking less and less like stars today. They are beginning to look like businessmen. Shah Rukh has even hit the cover of a business magazine and is sounding, behaving more like a producer than a star. So is Aamir. What they don't realise is that popular fan bases are not built on the imagery of businessmen or producers. The common man does not admire a bania. The villain in most films of my growing up years was the village mahajan or the city slicker in a white shark skin suit sitting with his bottle of Vat 69. India may have changed. Money is no longer a bad word but the man on the street still admires a hero, not a wealthy man..."

Dolce and Namak said...

Dude, it's all about Chulbul, no competition! :) This, by the way, has got to be one of my favourite posts from you! A side of the Bollywood Fan I had not seen before, love it! :)

To be honest my vote is based on the following: I saw 10 minutes of Veer on the big screen (snuck in while waiting for another film) and it froze my brain. Dabangg on the other hand I've already seen 4 times, three of which with different sets of friends who all loved it. So there...
Besides, Veer could never wear his sunglasses on the back of his collar, so he already comes to the rink with a handicap! ;)

Keep having fun, yaar! That's one thing that many people don't get about Bollywood: how much fun it is :D

theBollywoodFan said...

Thank you, Dolce and Namak! :) I'm glad you enjoyed the post, and yes, Bollywood, especially this brand, can be *so* much fun if people are only willing to make it that. As you can see, I had oodles of fun with this. :D

I probably wouldn't have enjoyed Veer in theaters. It was a bit too violent in a few places. Dabangg was too, but at least it had fewer depictions of blood and oh all the rest of the madness, LOL. I was a pro wrestling (WWF, now WWE) fan as a kid, so that cartoony/filmy kind of violence I'm fine with without a fast-forward button, but that's about it just in case.

I'm curious, which 10 minutes in particular did you see? I didn't enjoy the beginning at all, but once the first instance of that beautiful Rajasthani track came on, it turned up a few notches. Oh well.

Did Chulbul have a good explanation for those sunglasses or what?! :D Four times, Dolce and Namak? FOUR?!!! Niiice.

Thanks for your visit and comment. Cheers!

nurainfarizan (via Twitter) said...

Since you are discussing Salman & his appeal in your blog, I think this Tehelka article may be relevant.

theBollywoodFan said...

Ain, thank you for sharing this, it's an excellent article, and as intriguing a read on the subject as another. It really does justice to him, for once, which is great to see since my view is the media have traditionally been very unfair to him.

Liked these in particular:

"Command, don’t demand. Grow, don’t climb. Realise, don't change." -- Salman Khan

Then this:

“Salman’s not a regular guy. He’s an original. He can be rude and unpredictable but also very charming. He has aura. Attitude. An unusual, lateral way of thinking. And, shrouded beneath the persona, he is highly intelligent. He may not read and isn’t intellectual in the conventional sense — but there’s high native intelligence.” -- Aamir Khan

Cheers! And thank you once again.

Ain said...

My pleasure. An article on Salman that isn’t actually riddled with convenient assumptions about the man is hard to come by, thought I’d share it with more people.

Other than the quotes you’ve pointed out (those are excellent btw), I also really like this one:

"As you watch the cheeky moves of the police officer in the trailers, you marvel afresh at the oceanic difference in the man on-screen and off. There is nothing in Salman’s tight, aloof reserve that suggests he can — at the flick of a switch — transform into a sunshiny man-boy, full of openbodied mischief. It’s wrong to say he is not much of an actor."

I personally believe that Salman is an extremely underrated actor. People have this wonderful way of dismissing his work because they refuse to take him seriously. (Salman’s care-a-damn attitude doesn’t help too :) ) Even when they like his work, (Chulbul Pandey for instance), they’ll dismiss it as “Oh, that was not actually acting, that is a good performance” or “oh, he’s playing himself in this film, it’s an extension of his own personality, that’s not really acting.” He plays himself in his films, really?! The amount of people who claims to know who Salman really is boggles my mind.

What Salman actually does is to take the larger-than-life image the media created of him, and use it to his own advantage in his films. And he is not the only one who does that. SRK and Aamir do it too (and there’s nothing wrong with it). SRK’s image – the well settled, well mannered reliable family man translates to the countless Raj/Rahul ideal charming romantic lover hero type we usually see him as, and he is wonderful in those. Over the past decade, Aamir has acquired the “substance and content” “thinking” man tag and look how he is exploiting it now, by bringing more diverse content into the mainstream, more than ever before. So when SRK and Aamir is considered to be great artists, why is Salman always dismissed despite displaying versatility in his acting career and playing so many iconic characters? Darling sweet Prem, the Playboy, corrupt funnyman Chulbul Pandey, obsessive psycho lover Radhe Mohan etc. Who else in Bollywood could pull off Prem or Chulbul or Radhe as convincingly as Salman did? (I remember Hrithik Roshan’s epic fail attempt as Prem in Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon *shudders*)

I guess one of the reasons could be that people usually overlook performances when a film flops. Heck I thought he was brilliant in many of his flop films: Veer, London Dreams, Jaan-e-mann, Khamoshi, Kyon Ki, Tere Naam, Love etc. But somehow his performances are always… ignored is the apt word. Another reason could be the off screen reputation the media has created of him. Say Salman Khan and people mainly talk about his alleged “controversies.”

Anyway, here’s hoping this Khan gets his due eventually. And that he will get scripts that do justice to his talent. He is a much better actor than what he is credited for. I am so tired of people referring to him as a non-actor.

Sorry for the long ramble! I could go on and on but I will thankfully stop here. Cheers to you!

PS. And it is Chulbul all the way for me man. Chulbul has a ROCKING sense of humour. Veer, while truly noble, took himself a tad too seriously. :)

Great write up btw! I was LOLing while reading it. Did the post take long to write?

Dolce and Namak said...

The 10 minutes from Veer were a couple of scenes before that godawful song they make him sing when the white lady is in the audience and he sings about India or something, and then a few scenes after that. It's not the topic of the film that was unbearable, it was Salman and everyone else not bothering to act. :-/

Sorry, no intention to be negative here, and also I apologise for interrupting this interesting discussion, but didn't want to leave your question unanswered :)

Nicki said...

Hey!! Sorry took so long to vote! My choice is Robin Hood :D

But I love your comparison with He-Man and Veer, definitely got the look there.

What a fun, fun post :D

Pitu said...

HAHA awesome. And props for the win He Man references :D I shall watch Veer. Only you could've convinced me to see it, bas!

theBollywoodFan said...

Ain: True, and I agree that he's an underrated actor. His first five movies had ample evidence he had the mix of star quality and more than enough acting chops to be here for a long time.

There's no question he's almost always gotten the short end of the stick from the media. Aamir was on that boat until he refined his tactics a bit around the time of TZP's release. Salman's smart, as you say, with using the situations to his advantage.

Here's how I tend to think of it: If most in the industry and media have strong opinions about him, there must be something he has they want or don't like. I don't think he cares, for better or for worse. He's lived by impulse all along, and I think fortune's favored him despite all the sharp turns his reputation had had to take because of what is simply irresponsible journalism and a crippled legal infrastructure. Oh well.

Were Jaan-e-Mann, Khamoshi, and Tere Naam, really flop films? I don't think they were! (At least I remember Tere Naam doing quite well!)

Thank you again for sharing the wonderful writeup!


theBollywoodFan said...

Dolce and Namak: I thought Salman acted pretty well in Veer! :P In fact, that's why I probably felt worse for its failure. It's not like he was sleepwalking through it. But you'd have to see the whole thing to appreciate that. ;)

No apologies ever needed, thanks for your comment. That's a decent bit you caught, probably not the best. That's the thing, it was so all over the place at times, one couldn't help but cringe.

theBollywoodFan said...

Nicki: Thanks for your vote! Salman Khan = He-Man. No question. :D Glad you enjoyed the post, thank you!

Pitu! Awrright! Now, don't be looking to give me a sazaa, O sultan, if you think it's too cheesy. I can promise you'll find plenty of cheese here. But that's part of why it's so much fun. Enjoy!

theBollywoodFan said...

Ain: Follow up to who you think would vote is still for Veer! Veer would have to take himself too seriously, he was fighting for a country, got to have more credibility than Chulbul! ;)

And thank you, glad you enjoyed the writeup. I don't know how long it took overall, and am probably better off not tracking, LOL. I had much fun at it, that's for sure!


Jenna (via Twitter) said...

HAHAHA! Oh my. That made me laugh. And it reminded me I still haven't seen Veer. Whoops.

theBollywoodFan said...

If you like the idea of seeing Veer from what you've seen of it in the post, good luck and happy viewing! ;)

theBollywoodFan said...

All: The polls have closed and the results are in. As expected, Chulbul Pandey wins mightily, with a little over 70% (22 of 31) of the total vote.

To all who voted, thank you! Remember...Veer will be back! ;)