On one level, I wonder if Dilwale even needs a review. Good, bad or ugly, a film of this sort gives two hoots to logic, authenticity, cinematic aesthetics or subtlety while going all out to be a review-proof ‘paisa vasool’ blockbuster entertainer. So what one can talk about – if at all – is whether the film succeeds in its aim to entertain and if its items and the trademark Rohit Shetty touches work.
Sadly, Shetty gets it all wrong with this one of star crossed lovers, Shah Rukh and Kajol – children of rival Indian dons (Vinod Khanna, Kabir Bedi) in Bulgaria no less! Barring the odd dialogue or scene, he fails big time in the entertainment quotient, otherwise his strength. The ‘items’ and the humor flop, and the film looks like it has been directed on auto pilot with his eyes closed.
Treatment films like this need the items to be presented in a fresh manner and mixed deftly to lift them from pedestrian plot lines but here, it’s mostly stale deja vu put together in a clumsy hotchpotch manner. Even the cars flying about have now become yawn inducing. Yes, it’s that flat. The central romantic track tries too hard to recreate the SRK-Kajol chemistry by trying to amalgamate bits from all their previous hits together. What came magically earlier without contrivance, now looks soulless as it is forced and labored, banking on the history of the lead pair to succeed.
SRK valiantly gives it all and even comes across pretty nicely in his bearded avatar of a car modifier 15 years on in Goa. It is he who gives the film some of its more watchable moments but finally the insipid material defeats him. But here, I do blame him for this mess. He has the power to pick and choose his scripts and he goes and selects this. Unlike his earlier collaboration with Shetty, the silly but admittedly funny Chennai Express (2013), where he was sporting enough to have a laugh at himself, the odes to his past hits do not work here. Kajol – it has to be said – is a sight for sore eyes looking ravishing and proving that she needs to be seen on screen far more often. However, her younger bit in Bulgaria is overplayed and while she has her strong dramatic moments, it is an inconsistent act. Varun Dhawan is simply embarrassing – be it in comedy or the emotional sequences. In fact, he ruins a couple of promising moments by his total lack of comic timing. Johnny Lever, admittedly, does induce a laugh or two occasionally but the rest of the cast especially Boman Irani are badly wasted.
Technically, for all the money spent, the film’s mounting looks garish and tacky as if the filmmaker wants every color in every frame. The songs are so-so but picturized rather poorly and do little than bring the narrative to a grinding halt each time they come. The frantic camera movements, over-cut action sequences and a loud, loud sound design coupled with a hugely overblown background score try their best to cover up a substance-less narrative but fail miserably.
All in all, a big misfire this time from Rohit Shetty but then many mediocre big budget star films like this have proved to be review and critic-proof and collect their several hundred crores at the box office, even breaking records in the process. Dilwale too just might do that.
Hindi, Drama, Action, Romance, Color