Dilwale saved by Khan’s stardom & rest has little heart

Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Varun Dhawan, Kriti Sanon
Director: Rohit Shetty

Gone are the days when local goons bullied Indians in central Europe. We now have our own mafia bosses in that part of the world. If Akshay Kumar cut them to size inside Romania in Singh Is Bliing, Shah Rukh Khan riddled them with a million more bullets than Kumar in Bulgaria. And yes, Khan has definitely blown more cars than his counterpart. Take that, Europeans! But, Dilwale is still a love story, a violent one though, for the audience.

Veer (Varun Dhawan) is a sweet-natured flirt who lives with his saintly brother Raj (Naam toh suna hi hoga, sigh, Shah Rukh Khan) in Goa. He meets and falls for Ishita (Kriti Sanon) and expectedly gets assistance from Raj in his pursuit. Meanwhile, Veer invites the animosity of a trying-very-hard-to-be-funny don King (Boman Irani), the latest version of Vasooli Bhai from the Golmaal franchise. That instigates something very violent in Raj which in turn makes everybody believe that he has a mysterious past. Now, every single character in the film knows it already, except his little bro and some ill-fated extras.

But, this is just one part of the story. Will Raj win Veer’s love all over again? What exactly happened in Raj’s earlier life? Just how precisely will he bend his arms? Is Meera (Kajol) the matured Simran? Which cars will catch Rohit Shetty’s fancy this time?

Did I tell you anything about Meera? No? Ok, she is Raj’s past, but will she become the present as well? That reminds me of a one-liner from the film: “Gifts present hota hai ki present gift hota hai”.

“Dil sab ke paas hota hai lekin sab dilwale nahi hote”— this is the brief, theme and story of the film. I so desperately want to add Mama Thakur after this line (remember Ajay Devgn’s Dilwale) but all the ’80s thakurs have turned up like suave dons in this one. But, bad karma still haunts them and thus they occasionally resort to dialogues like “Beta maine tere saath nainsaafi toh nahi ki” and “Tu raat bhar bhukha kaise rahega”.

Dilwale has a highly predictable storyline. In fact, it relies solely on the star power of SRK and some chuckle-worthy PJs. But, the decision to plot Khan as a don largely works for Shetty. He has the most satisfying presence in the film. That’s not enough, though. His charisma engulfs every other thing in action scenes. A great physique, a calculated walk, a profound voice and a terrifying expression; each and everything goes in his favour. It is so clichéd that a character says, “Ye toh upar waala hi jaane,” and the shot cuts to a church. Somebody says Raj and there goes the arms. Sorry, I made up the last one.

Kajol looks stunning and the celebrated couple gives us some sparkling moments but the lack of a concrete conflict line and too much effort on presenting Dilwale as a throwback to the ’90s Raj-Simran’s love saga make it painful for the viewers after a while.

All the typical Shetty characters assemble very early in the film and their confidence suggests that they have already assumed Dilwale a box office winner, which it could be. But then, emotional scenes start to fall flat and the story begins to lose track. Am I suggesting Golmaal and Chennai Express had good stories?

It’s very surreal to see dons with gold-plated guns dancing in snow-covered desert and chilling waterfalls. And then hearing Khan say “I know I am a pretty boy” in all seriousness is icing on the cake. And who says only James Wan can direct Furious 7? Our Shetty boy is equally good at drifting. Don’t believe me? Watch Varun Dhawan’s drift in Dilwale. But here’s a friendly advice: Don’t dare to catch the director’s drift.

Once you’re over with “dil ka chilka” kind of songs and “King ka aadmi mujhe drugs bechne ko bolta hai” sort of dialogues, you’ll start wondering about the film’s huge canvas and its lack of coherence. Pankaj Tripathi and Mukesh Tiwari’s comic timing is a good thing about Dilwale. In fact, Tiwari and Tripathi are instrumental in making the audience sit through this 135-minute film.

Dilwale hugely banks upon Khan’s stardom and he tries his best to reciprocate. The rest of Dilwale has a very little heart.

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