Dilwale

Dilwale-Poster
Dilwale
Release date: December 18, 2015
Directed by: Rohit Shetty
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Varun Dhawan, Kriti Sanon, Kajol, Varun Sharma, Johnny Lever, Sanjay Mishra, Pankaj Trupathi, Mukesh Tiwari, Kabir Bedi, Vinod Khanna, Nawab Shah, Boman Irani

From the year 2006, Rohit Shetty strapped a jet-pack on and ascended to the heights of film success. Let’s not mention his debut film, Zameen, from 2003 which wasn’t quite of a party-starter for his arrival. Since Golmaal (2006)there hasn’t been a Shetty caper where there hasn’t been a butt-gag involved. There was one in each of the Golmaal films, he even sneaked in one in Chennai Express (2013). Off late, he seems to be moving away from hurling sharp objects into his character’s asses. If these trends were the biggest takeaway from films, then we’d all live happily ever after, in Bulgaria or Shetty’s outrageously vivid Goa.

Film reviewers, including me, sit on the sidelines and jeer at his films and the audiences get a film of little to no consequence to look down upon and have a few laughs. Some of these laughs are at the jokes and gags, some at the sheer idiocy of it all. Yes, people do like to feel smarter than/superior to what they consume, just like how a lot of us prefer to get smarter by what we consume. Film isn’t exactly a medium to convey for all, and it’s okay.

Dilwale brings along with it the colorful houses, cars and landscapes which Shetty used in All The Best (2009) and a similar setting as well. There are small-time thieves, bigwig “mafias”, reformed criminals and, the young and chirpy. Veer (Varun Dhawan) and Ishita (Kriti Sanon) make up the last part along with Sidhu (Varun Sharma). Raj/Kaali (Shah Rukh Khan), Meera (Kajol), Shakti (Mukesh Tiwari) and a token Muslim Shaikh Bhai (Pankaj Tripathi) are the reformed criminals. Mani (Johnny Lever) and Oscar (Sanjay Mishra) are the mid-level thugs and King (Boman Irani), Raj and Meera’s fathers are the “mafias”.

Everyone has a set brief given to them.
Dhawan is expected to pull off shenanigans from his earlier films, Main Tera Hero (2014) and Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya (2014).
Kriti Sanon is doing her thing from Heropanti (2014).
Sharma is doing what he’s done ever since his debut in Fukrey (2013).
Tiwari and Tripathi are reprising their performances from innumerable films where they’ve been the excessively loud and mellowed good guy at heart respectively.
Kabir Bedi and Vinod Khanna don’t have a brief. Just be a daddy!
Boman Irani is asked to be hip in don costumes from 1920s.
Sanjay Mishra’s Oscar talks in rhymes.
Johnny Lever does his average South Indian guy voice with his constant spirited vigor.

Shah Rukh Khan’s Raj fights like how a person who doesn’t know the controls on a videogame would play. He keeps hitting the same punch. A good chunk of the film is concentrated on Meera and his angle from a flashback. This part passes off breezily, and so does the most of the film. The supposed protagonists have a misunderstanding 15 years back in Bulgaria, which could have been easily resolved by a simple conversation in that same time, comes to a head when Veer and Ishita fall in love and want to be together. Their respective siblings, Raj and Meera disapprove of the union because they have trust issues over what happened in the past. Apparently, what happens in Bulgaria, doesn’t stay in Bulgaria.

The film’s premise is flimsy, but it doesn’t steer into the territory where it becomes downright insufferable. The usual imbecile puns by Sajid-Farhad are very much present, yes sir, but only in moderation. A few gags connect well and make you giggle in good measures. The last act of the film has a strong moment between the two brothers, no matter how forced it is. The film isn’t being carried by just Khan and Kajol, which is a minor respite but a dampener for the viewers heading in to watch a rehash of their earlier films. The sideshow acts get a lot of prominence and they miss, and they hit. The music is hummable, but Yash Chopra must be rolling in his grave by looking at the visuals from Gerua. Seriously, how bad is the CGI on it?

It’s not a spoiler, but there’s no actual conflict in the film. And that is how this film becomes painless. Lesson for the day in the Rohit Shetty School of Filmmaking. The lack of a conflict could have been used to keep the film shorter, and tauter (?!) and slightly more enjoyable. I’d take a painless mildly entertaining Dilwale over a painfully mediocre Katti Batti any day.

My rating: ** (2 out of 5)

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