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Dilwale Review: Colour And Cars, And Utterly Drab

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One morning, the stubble-sporting hero of Dilwale has a bad dream – a trailer of his own tragic past. He pulls a long face, walks out of his palatial house, and stares earnestly into the absurdly colourful street, reminiscent of a Ramoji Rao film studio. Raj (Shah Rukh Khan), the hero, is an opulent car mechanic. He drinks tea with old colleagues and mouths a line about having dedicated his life to his little brother, Veer (Varun Dhawan).

The very next moment, we see Veer driving a DC-modified, super-expensive car to the edge of a cliff, cracking a few bad jokes, taking his best friend for a ride, and falling head over heels for a ‘fair, tall woman’ (Kriti Sanon, as described in the song) he sees on the way. The woman is running late for an appointment at the Corporation office, and Veer offers to drop her there in a record five minutes. He speeds his car through busy streets, hits a few pedestrians, and ruins a few shops. But, guess what, they reach the office on time. The woman is impressed. This is the first 15 minutes of Dilwale. And it is sloppy film-making at its best.

*****

One after another, Rohit Shetty dishes out scenes devoid of imagination. Every object in the frame is brightly coloured, and every character (here one must include the countless cars that play a pivotal role in the film) comes in bright hues. The streets of Goa have been transformed into the gardens of Kings’ Landing in Game of Thrones.

This mega-budget movie has everything. Except a proper script and a little craft.

*****

Shetty is a Bollywood director who gets away with mediocre filmmaking skills and little to no imagination. His films typically have zero logic, unoriginal comedy, and action sequences which routinely defy the laws of physics. And yet, most of them have been commercial successes. Chennai Express, a brainless romantic comedy, rode on its star cast, and an absurd portrayal of Tamil Nadu – its language, culture, and people. All three films in the Golmaal series were inspired from different Hollywood and regional movies. Singham was a remake, and Bol Bachchan was a blatant copy of the good old Amol Palekkar-starrer Gol Maal.

When a director of this record vows to recreate the Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge magic on screen, bringing together Bollywood’s most popular star couple, you feel a little sceptical.

And unlike Aditya Chopra, Shetty, in his entire career, has never displayed a particular talent for portraying romance on screen. In Dilwale, he unabashedly replicates scenes and steals ideas from famous movies. Khan’s Raj/Kaali is a touched-up version of Rajini Kanth’s Manik/Baasha. A flashback song featuring Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, is an attempt to recreate the duo’s ‘Suraj Hua Madham‘ magic from My Name Is Khan. In their first meeting, Kajol tries hard to imitate her energetic and funny self in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. Meanwhile, Varun Dhawan, throughout the movie, tries to imitate the young, adorable SRK of the DDLJ days. And Shetty freely copies scenes from PS I Love You, Love Actually and many other movies.

*****

Then there are the cars, and lots more cars. Modified cars, expensive vintage cars, a car thief, a car agent, cars that blow up in perfect coordination, cars that set rivalry, cars that play cupid. There are moments in Dilwale that make you wonder if this is a story about cars and their drivers.

*****

The love story between Kaali and Meera can hurt any sane person’s brain. It takes less than half a second for a dreaded gangster, Kaali, to fall in love with a rather suspicious Indian girl he bumps into during a fatal car chase. The duo, scions of two well-known, well-networked gangster families in Bulgaria (!), start dating. Surprisingly, their families are oblivious to it. Kriti Sanon, who could become a low-cost substitute for Deepika Padukone, plays a complementary silly lover to Varun’s inane avatar. The best love story in the film is between King (Boman Irani), a drug-lord, and a vintage car he inherited from his dad.

*****

Dilwale is Rohit Shetty’s Christmas prank. He lures people into theatres using bits and parts of the old, over-hyped Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, and shows them a lacklustre version of his Golmaal instead.

Lacklustre because there is no genuine comedy. Shetty, for old times’ sake, ropes in Johny Lever to play a ‘South Indian’ (with a very weird accent) and do some tiring comic performances. Boman Irani looks confused about whether to act funny or villainous. Khan is stuck in his gloomy ex-don avatar, unable to set free his comic genius. Kajol’s attempt at comedy is a ghost of her own past. The one saving comic is Sanjay Mishra, who ekes out some laughter.

*****

The only good thing about Dilwale is, perhaps, SRK’s attractive stubble. It makes up for Kajol’s outrageously glossy make-up in the duo’s combination scenes. The rest, is simply drab.

*****

The Dilwale review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

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