In India, a housefull show doesn’t always imply quality entertainment. We associate film-makers like Rohit Shetty with mass entertainers and coupled with the towering presence of Shah Rukh Khan, the audience went en-massé into the theatres, hoping for something entertaining. Alas, Dilwale is a dud. Even a movie labeled “mass entertainer” assures some form of entertainment, good luck finding that here.
In Dilwale, Khan plays a simpleton, Raj, through the initial half an hour, who runs a garage along with his younger brother, Veer (Varun Dhawan, as a replacement to Hrithik Roshan in the same “bhai se badhkar koi nahi” story arc from Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham) in the picturesque backdrop of Goa. Rohit Shetty’s canvas of Goa, although colourful, yet unwillingly reminds the audience of his innumerable Golmaal movies. In fact, each shot in the movie has more colours than a Camlin colour box! Veer falls for Ishita, played by Kirti Sanon whose job in the movie, apart from looking pretty is to be completely oblivious of Veer’s antics to woo her.
Raj has a past, his gangster persona called Kali, which takes us to the customary foreign location of any movie of this huge scale. This time, the action happens in Bulgaria where rival Indian mafia bosses lock horns for dominance, one of them being Raj/Kali’s father. Enter Kajol, who is undoubtedly the best thing about the movie, who charms her way into Kali’s heart and the audience swoons in the reverie of the Raj-Simran chemistry of yesteryears.
A filmmaker can easily be judged by the way he treats a copied/“inspired” scene, because he already has the template and just needs to add his signature to such scenes. Shetty messes with such copied scenes big time. First is the How I Met Your Mother inspired 5- minute date between Raj and Mira which looks so forced that you get fidgety and wonder when the five minutes will end. In the English sitcom, Ted Mosby tried to woo his reluctant date through a clumsily arranged rapid-date which was endearing to watch and as an audience you rooted for the guy. Here, it is more of a power and money show for Raj to arrange the flawless date. Another such “inspired” scene involves the younger couple Veer and Ishita, where Veer professes his love through some images pasted on few card boards. This scene has been lifted from the romantic comedy Love Actually, and true to his form, Shetty manages to screw this up as well. If you have watched this particular scene from Love Actually, you will immediately make a proper judgement of the caliber of such Indian directors as Mr. Shetty in handling tender scenes.
The story progresses into the familiar 90’s family feud, revenge and girl-and-boy-from-rival-gangs-falling-in-love storyline. After a sudden, almost expected, twist in the story, both Raj and Mira begin detesting each other. The story progresses fifteen years into modern day Goa where Veer and Ishita are involved romantically, until through a coincidence, typical of Hindi movies, Ishita is revealed as the younger sister of Mira who has also shifted to Goa by apparently one in a hundredth chance.
We will not go into the details of what happens next, because frankly it does not matter, neither is there much substance nor anything which you cannot figure out yourselves from the description above. The movie’s script is so paper thin that it gives the feeling that Shetty had his LEGO pieces separate and joined them hastily to give what Indian audiences love to gobble up fast. Johnny Lever is mostly unfunny in his caricature of a thief, whereas Mukesh Tiwari, Pankaj Tripathy and Sanjay Mishra round up the Rohit Shetty employment scheme from almost all his movies. A notable mention has to be made though for the role of Sanjay Mishra as Oscar who gets the funniest lines and helps tortured folks like me stay put for some more time.
All things considered, Dilwale raises the pertinent question that why do filmmakers dare to spoon feed such low IQ material down our throats time and again. This movie is not as bad as Chennai Express to be honest, yet, the point is that this is 2015, and there is a huge community of matured viewers who have a bit higher expectation from a filmmaker who is requesting 180 minutes from your time-crunched day. “Dil sab ke paas hota hai lekin sab dilwale nahi hote”, “tujhe maine sage bhai se badhkar pyar kiya”, honestly, for lines like these you do not need a professional dialogue writer. Entire scenes are created for a single catch line like “Tambu mein dhum dhaam” and “Bhai aur mira ka asli naam Ramlal aur Pogo tha!!!” There is better talent in this country than this.
Kajol looks stunning and earnest and plays each of her character’s shades with aplomb. Shah Rukh is mellowed down post his outing in Chennai Express with Shetty, while Varun Dhawan plays a mixture of Hrithik from K3G and Uday Chopra from Dhoom. It is more of a failure of the director that he could not utilize the talent at his disposal to give us something good. Shetty defies logic in between when warring heirs forget the family rivalry and the killing of their respective patriarch in the matter of a four minute song. The formulaic treatment to this movie is clearly visible—jazzy cars, Windows 98 wallpaper resembling scenery, ensemble cast, comic villains, we have all seen that in past offerings. The only saving grace here are the few one liners, like when Sanjay Mishra calls Mukesh Tiwari “Gareebon ka Jackie Shroff” etc.
It is mainly our failure as a discerning audience that we still embrace such poor material and pay our money and time to make these movies millions. The more they see houseful shows, the more they will be encouraged to do a Groundhog Day on us. We deserve better and Mr. Rohit Shetty, as much as you put your “heart into the action” sequences (as a recent youtube video from your stable shows), we politely request you to put some soul into your scripts as well.
gobblpoint: This movie sucks and we are all responsible for its hit status and its existence
Statutory Advice: In India, if you find a movie minting loads of money during the initial days, better be skeptical about its quality.
Disclaimer: The photographs used in this blog are the sole property of the makers of this film and are not owned by us in any form.