Dilwale Film Review: Hotchpotch With No Heart

| December 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

DILWALEIn Dilwale there is King Khan and there is King aka Boman Irani-the Joker’s persona ripoff with a pencil moustache who is lording over the drug trade in Goa (drugs and Goa are hand in glove). In the serene setting of Goa King Khan is leading a peaceful, incognito life of Raj running a car modifying garage.

But that’s just a front, as everything else in the movie is. What you see is not what really is. There is a backstory and that is the reel story, not the real one. Because everything is so superficial in this retread of eighties/nineties plot that has its elements lifted from films like HUM, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham.

So Raj aka SRK in his past has been a Mafia Don’s son Kaali. Infact he has been Mafia himself, of all the places, in Bulgaria. Why and how come Bulgaria?. Don’t ask. It seems to get visa,shoot cheap and a licence to run gold smuggling with no cops to concern, seemed easier somehow.

Now Kaali’s father Randhir (Vinod Khanna) has an ongoing rivalry for territorial supremacy with Malik (Kabir Bedi) whose daughter Meera (Kajol) is running apparently her street paintings business.  Inevitably Kaali and Meera come together ,get at loggerheads, again patch up  and romance is in the air, in the animated terrain of snow-swept mountains, against the rainbow framed waterfall with Gerua song and long flowing silk sheets trying to give it sufiana symbolism. Its kitsch at its best.

By the time the song ends they decide to get married and then hell breaks loose. Raita phail gaya.

There is a gang war between Malik and Randhir. The movie gets somewhat into Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s RamLeela mode where the lovers are Dons from two warring families. Both Meera and Kaali get separated with loads of misunderstandings as to who backstabbed whom.

The scene shifts to Goa where Kaali’s aka Raj’s kid brother Veer (Varun Dhawan) is helping his elder brother in running car designing business. Now Destiny repeats itself after 15 years.

Veer falls in love with Ishita aks Isshu(Kriti Sanon). Now this Isshu becomes a big issue because she turns out to be kid sister of Meera. Oh the coincidences!The whole movie there onwards is for you to sit through and suffer to know whether the sworn enemies Raj/Kaali and Meera will allow their siblings to get together. The greater concern is what will happen to Raj and Meera’s own thwarted love story.

To see this predictable resolution, you have to bear every ten minutes with either a song or a fight or a chase sequence and of course the staple of Rohit Shetty movie-cars blown up in the air, doing cartwheels, turning turtle and crashing with a bang. This time this gimmick falls flat.

You even have a song Mann Maan, where more than the supporting troupe of dancers, the cars of different colors, makes, models and sizes line up the location. Alas, a column of cars in motion do not arouse any emotion.

Screenplay (Yunus Sajawal) is predictable, illogical and formulaic. Dialogues by Farhad Sajid are an amalgam of clichés like ‘Qasoor n tumhara tha n mera, Qasoor halaat ka tha’and distorted logic. Sample this ‘Hum sharif kya hue, poori duniya hi badmash ho gayi’. What it means to convey that ‘agar hum badmash rehte toh kya poori duniya sharif ho jaati, ya badmaashi control mein rehti’!

Nothing is fresh,leaving aside two odd scenes-one between brothers Varun Dhawan and SRK and the second scene between Raj’s so called Men Friday Mukesh Tiwari, Pankaj Tripathi and Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon where they improvise the narration of Raj and Meera’s past relationship by watching the scenes, on constantly changing channels on the TV.

How seventies and eighties milieu Dilwale is can be gauged by the character of Sanjai Mishra as a dealer of stolen goods especially car parts, imitating yesteryears Jeevan in dialogue delivery and mannerisms. But the dialogues (Farhad Sajid) are so banal and boorish. Sample this: hamari life mein do hi cheez hain—car aur sanskar. Hotel ka malik hai, ariel harpic hai. Ye neeche se blackberry, upar se Bhappi Lahiri..Tera kya wat hai, dominoes, pizza hut hai! You are supposed to giggle if not laugh at this nonsensical rhyming. It is not funny.

Then there is screechy background score.Pritam’s compositions just slide over with no emotional grip whatsoever.

Shahrukh Khan with his photoshopped dimples tries his best to relive the charm he spread during DDLJ. It does not stick. His bearded avatar is presentable but overall the performance is of strictly regulation standards. Kajol has her intense moments. Her figure show signs of aging. To cover that there is a self-deprecatory reference : I have grown fat. To which Shahrukh replies : Umm, thodi si. When the major twist in the story unravels, Kajol asks SRK : ‘Kaisi Lagi meri acting—world class na’! Excuse me, it is fine but there is nothing world class about it.

Varun Dhawan as a kid brother behaves as if being younger in age means doing infantile gestures and adopting childish mannerism. His best friend played by Varun Sharma goes a step further in caricaturing this infant-young man prototype.Kriti Sanon has nothing much to do except being an arm candy and conflict point in the plot.

Rest of the ensemble cast comprising Boman Irani, Sanjai Mishra, Mukesh Tiwari, Pankaj Tripathi are just appendages and grossly wasted. Then there is Mani Singh (Johnny Lever) who has a role with no characterisation.

This may be Rohit Shetty’s expression of fun and family film. But it turns out to be one of his weakest, in terms of story and execution. Car modifying business may be metaphorical as if conveying- Just by changing the color and shape of the car does not take away its fundamental flaws or capabitlities. That’s what is wrong with Dilwale. With Its all gloss,denting, painting and cosmetic job there is no emotional connect and soul whatsoever.

Towards the end to Kajol’s query What next?, SRK answers :Nayi shuruaat krni chahiye, peeche mudkar nhin dekhna chahiye Senorita..Obviously hangover of DDLj persists. But it has a semblance of sage advice too for the makers : To move on, to break free from the past glory,to use the means, money and manpower at disposal for something pathbreaking, to stop testing the patience of audiences, and to be real Dilwale to break new ground and explore uncharted territory. This one is strictly for hardcore SRK fans and those who want to illusively relive SRK-Kajol magic .


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About the Author ()

Dhieraj Mohan is Hindi cinema's keen observer. With earnest interest in its dynamics and constantly changing milieu he revels in dwelling on the discrepancies, idiosyncrasies,contradictions,masala and the formula that defines Bollywood.He is a poet and a screenwriter too,who simply adores Hindi cinema's chameleon like traits.

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