Dilwale, the latest offering from director Rohit Shetty, stars Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon in the pivotal roles. To cut to the chase, there is nothing original about the film, which borrows heavily from Fast and Furious, How I Met Your Mother, DDLJ, Don and countless other Bollywood films of yore. But then we don't expect originality from a film helmed by someone like Rohit Shetty who is often hailed as the king of commercial escapism as far as Hindi cinema in concerned. As for Shah Rukh Khan, he has been embracing clichés with unfazed enthusiasm for about a decade now and Dilwale is no exception.
The biggest disappointment of the film is Varun Dhawan. Starting off on a high with Badlapur, he has hit rock bottom with Dilwale. But the irony is that he may end up getting more appreciation from the industry than he ever got for his chilling turn in Sriram Raghavan's neo-noir crime thriller.
The biggest disappointment is Varun Dhawan. Starting off on a high with Badlapur, he has hit rock bottom with Dilwale.
One of the high points of Dilwale is Kajol. Reuniting with Shah Rukh Khan in a lead role after half a decade, Kajol delivers yet another memorable performance. And, in spite of the endless clichés, the dazzling duo of SRK and Kajol does succeed in reigniting the old magic in many of the scenes. The spellbinding vistas that Shetty chooses to picturise their romance only add to the experience.
The movie's biggest surprise package is Johnny Lever who provides great comic relief at crucial junctures in the movie. The veteran comedian gets good support from Sanjay Mishra, Varun Sharma, Mukesh Tiwari and Boman Irani. And while Kriti Sanon is eye candy, she appears rather flat as far as her acting is concerned.
Some of the fighting sequences in the movie are cheekily choreographed to look like hip hop dance. But then it doesn't come as a surprise with Shetty at the helm. The director, who is known for his proclivity for high octane car stunts, delivers them aplenty in Dilwale but only this time around the action looks more refined, à la Fast and Furious. Some of the car chase sequences, mostly shot in Bulgaria, are actually quite dazzling but they're nothing we haven't seen already in Hollywood productions.
Overall, Dilwale is a mindless entertainer that is high on clichés and fails to leave any lasting impact. Nevertheless, SRK and Kajol occasionally succeed in making us nostalgic with their sizzling romance. The songs, the music and the drama elements are a throwback to the 90s, which of course is by design. Despite the clichés and gimmicks, Dilwale does come across as Rohit Shetty's most mature film till date. It makes for a decent one-time watch but offers absolutely no food for thought.
A version of this review was first published at A Potpourri of Vestiges.
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