Let me put a harsh truth out there first: Dilwale would have fallen flat on its face if it did not have Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan as its lead actors. It’s the kind of romantic drama that draws heavily on these two stars and their unrivalled on-screen chemistry. It’s the kind of entertainer where the story is an afterthought. And that’s a good thing.
Because Dilwale, directed by Rohit Shetty, known for his breezy entertainers, isn’t on a sturdy footing when it comes to rolling out a watertight script. Just like the string of swanky cars and comic sidekicks rolled out in Dilwale, the movie is mostly sheen with a smattering of substance. There are fast cars and a pair of furious lovers here.
All your energy gravitates towards wrapping your head around Meera and Raj’s love-hate game.
It works as Kajol, who is back on the big screen after five years since My Name Is Khan, is in superb form. I am not talking about her craft alone. She has never looked better and is absolutely alluring as the mercurial Meera. Just like her salon-perfect hair and nails, this incredible actress makes sure that she does a good job of lending credibility to an incredulous story.
The story goes thus: Meera and Raj belong to two warring Mafia families operating in Bulgaria. There’s Raj, the adopted son of an India Mafia gang lord, brandishing guns and stealing trunks of gold from his opponents. He’s a mean machine in a leather jacket, but turns soft after he runs into Meera. What follows is a squeaky clean courtship comprising dinner dates with flowers, ice-creams, candlelight dinner … the works. It’s undoubtedly corny, but credit is due to Khan and Kajol for injecting it with believability. Just when you think that the movie is heading south, there’s an interesting twist that gives Kajol a chance to shine. She nails it. While Kajol stands out in the first half, the second half is dominated ably by Khan. Playing a vanquished, tortured lover who even sheds a tear is a space that Khan owns. His transformation from a gangster to a prosperous mechanic isn’t entirely plausible, but when did facts stand in the way of a Bollywood love story?
Actors Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon play a young couple in love. Their conflicts aren’t as complicated as their elder siblings — Raj and Meera — which is a good thing. Two angst-ridden love stories in one film would have been intolerable.
These kids are on call to look cute and lovable, and Dhawan does a good job of being Mr adorable, while Sanon is prettiness personified. Dhawan’s comic timing isn’t shabby either. However, the jokes don’t flow easy like Shetty’s previous works such as Bol Bachchan and Chennai Express. Dilwale is more drama than comedy. However, the director has remained faithful to his love of car chases, vehicle explosions and car swivels. For every romantic song shot in picturesque locales, there was a car explosion that blew your mind away. Watch this only if you have a thing for watching Kajol and Khan on the silver screen.
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon
Director: Rohit Shetty
Stars: 3 out of 5