Friday 18 December 2015

Bollywood review: Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol revisit their classics in 'Dilwale'

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Despite his heart in the right place, Rohit Shetty’s ode to one of Bollywood’s most loved couple fails to recreate their magic

Beneath the pointlessly loud, high-octane action sequences and the absurd humour that packages ‘Diwale’ into a brand of cinema like no other, lies the story of a fanboy as he cheekily pays tribute to Bollywood’s much celebrated couple.

He borrows dialogues, moments and storyline from their classics, and weaves it into his movie, turning his ‘Diwale’ into a gushing scrapbook celebrating Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol’s glorious cinematic journey.

So, even before Maneesh Sharma could unveil ‘Fan’, Shah Rukh gives Rohit Shetty the lead.

While ‘Karan Arjun’, ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ and ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaoge’ find tiny parts in the narrative, Rohit Shetty’s movie is part ‘Baazigar’, part ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum’, and loaded with ammunition and car chases.

It could’ve possibly worked, but diluting vintage romance with Rohit’s style of pulp fiction reduces the effort to nothing short of painful.

Even Dudley’s gorgeously designed frames can’t distract us from the chaos he’s created.

So, when the couple isn’t talking love or singing in exotic locations, they are busy pumping bullets, indulging in car chases and watching cars being blown up without any apparent reason. It’s a life that’s dangerously fun, or foolish.

A character in the film references ‘Fast and Furious’ with the lame - “Veer was fast, but you don’t be furious”, almost hinting at the standard of cinema we are presented. The movie is smeared with strange gems like these, with one funnyman asking, “Is it gift a present, or present a gift?”

Although Shah Rukh’s reel image announces it’s pointless to hold on to the past, the entire film banks abundantly on the lead pair’s past glories, blatantly contradicting itself. Rohit’s work doesn’t demand much from the audience, except their undying love for their superstars, so every illogical goof-up will unquestioningly be lapped up, and ‘Diwale’ rides happily on that theory.

Shah Rukh, with stubble or without, sleepwalks through his career’s seventh Raj. Apart from flaunting his signature pose (with arms wide open), which he allows Varun Dhawan and Johnny Lever to borrow, he spends much of his screen time, driving fast cars, breaking bones and flashing his dimples. His every move will undoubtedly generate the whistles and the applause, but doesn’t merit his acting acumen.

Kajol too looks absolutely stunning, but her Meera isn’t one that requires her to flex her acting chops. She’s evidently had lots of fun on the set, gleefully playing with guns, flaunting her heels and spinning the wheels, without much care for performance or character sketch.

The younger couple – Varun and Kriti – are happy lending the background score, with a lot of heart and honesty. While the boy is promising, the girl is happy being the ‘pretty face’.

There’s also Johnny Lever, who glares and screeches, almost reliving his time from ‘Baazigar’ and Vinod Khanna, Boman Irani and Kabir Bedi, who steal a few seconds to lend drama and madness to the plot.

It’s a good thing Rohit hands us a disclaimer about his style of moviemaking, allowing the non-fans to step away, but for the others, it would be crucial to carry along earplugs because you just can’t do

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