Cast: Ranveer Singh, Govinda, Parineeti Chopra, Ali Zafar
Director: Shaad Ali
Rating: 2 stars
Just like you, I have disliked many films. I’ve even hated a few. But I don't think I have been so deeply disappointed and saddened by a film in the recent past. The invites that director Shaad Ali and producer Aditya Chopra sent out for 'Kill/Dil' -- its trailers, promos, even songs -- insinuated several things. For one, it was promised that K/D is a desi-wild west tale with a Tarantino hangover involving three men -- Ranveer Singh, Govinda, Ali Zafar. There was the assurance of stylish shooting and much chest-bumping revelry with Govinda being the centrepiece. That’s how we got ready and dressed, mentally, for the occasion -- for a reunion, at last, with one of Bollywood’s most loved, most missed, most awaited stars.
But after a few minutes at the party we realise, to our utter shock and dismay, that it’s the same old nonsense and, worse, Govinda is just a plot device. He exists only so that the story can exist, and move. It doesn’t care for him, it isn’t interested in him.
If Shaad Ali & Aditya Chopra had been honest and told us that Govinda’s is just a cameo role, we would have gone prepared. Our expectations would have been to see a silly love story involving two unlikeliest creatures.
Shaad Ali made ‘Bunty Aur Babli’. Aditya Chopra was born in the lap of commercial Hindi cinema, and that’s where he has grown up. They should know that nothing is worse than cheating the audience. Playing with our emotions will cost them dearly. I, for one, am cut up. Very seriously cut up!
'Kill/Dil' purportedly dwells somewhere in NCR and opens with a scene where Tutu (Zafar Ali) is shooting a confessional video of Dev (Ranveer Singh). Dev is telling their life’s story -- how they, two boys found by Bhaiyyaji (Govinda) in a kachare ka dabba, became his killers for hire.
It’s in telling this back-story that the film builds up Govinda’s Bhaiyyaji, that it carries on the charade of the deceitful invite. It gives us a song (Bol Beliya) with Govinda just begging to rev up, and that gets us all charged up. Govinda is in exciting form and already he is our emotional anchor. It’s in his digs, on his charpai and his cane mooda that we want to loll. Even the background score, by Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy, is in that mood. Their country guitars are out and they seem to have their Cowboy hats on. But almost immediately, after a ‘Yeh Dosti’ type of song, the film rudely shifts its attention to the zestless and fusty love story.
Dev and Tutu go to a nightclub where bad boy saves good girl. Good girl is so grateful that she ignores that bad boy is not PLU, and invites him to their after-party and makes him part of her refined and richie-richie group. Bad boy is so grateful that he doesn't want to leave the party.
Here on the film is on a predictable, dull course. It goes all giddy and silly with love and though it has some cute moments -- Dev goes to a library to find out the meaning of LOL and ROFL, but uses “relief” very naturally -- it made me develop deep, dark furrows on my forehead.
The film, stuck at love’s round-about, throws up one song after another, including some bare factoids about how Disha is into reforming criminals. Apparently, she catches criminals as they emerge from jails and gets them to take up hobbies like knitting, silai-kadhai, carpentry.
Dev’s initial reaction to this is nice, interesting, but soon his conscience grows moral qualms and says to him, “Haw-hai, how you can do this? It’s so bad.” So the next time he raises a gun to shoot, he thinks of. the zanny, crazy fun that was promised hasn’t even happened and the film has gone dead-boring, damn-predictable. Bhaiyyaji tugs at the film from his haveli. And when that doesn’t work, walks up to the boys’ bunk bed and says, “Tum nahin aaye, toh maine shocha main he aa jata hoon.”
Come on, Ali & Chopra, here it is -- your cue to fix the film, to bring it back on course. You’ve done the unthinkable and pitted Parineeti against Govinda, promised a cool killer film, but are giving us a dud love story. It’s a no-brainer where you should go. And yet the film goes all over the place -- some half-hearted killing followed by Dev’s attempts to become a good salaried man and in between all this is the musty, lifeless romance with Parineeti pouting and posturing like she’s in an airbrushed Vogue spread. We are supposed to believe that Parineeti is a ‘hoor ki paari’, and Ranveer is her smitten lover. That just doesn’t work.
Few actors have given Indian audiences as much joy as Govinda has. To get him and then waste him like this is a crime unpardonable. The few moments we do get with him only make this idiocy worse. For me 'Kill/Dil' will remain the duffer film that frittered away the chance to go down in cinematic history as the film that gave us back Govinda. But then, YRF studios has always been coy about comebacks. Remember that cringe-fest -- Madhuri Dixit’s 'Aaja Nachle'.
Moving on. Zafar Ali is a handsome lad, but he is also very urbane and is given to do his “I’m aloof because I’m such a diva” act. He does that often here and not once looks or acts the part. In fact, here he often looks and acts like a Korean martial arts master who’s taken an early retirement.
'Kill/Dil' is often a showcase for Ranveer Singh and Parineeti Chopra, who has shed many kilos to play the “heroine”. Ranveer acts silly, cute, gets to be emotional and sing-song romantic. He is efficient and makes many scenes work. But it’s the same old and I’m really bored.
Parineeti tries her best. Her belly is in, pout is out. But she is no ravishing beauty and no amount of soft focus will make us believe that she is. Also, I’m done watching in the same grab-boy’s-collar-and-kiss-him roles. Aren’t you?
In 1975, Yash Chopra made Deewaar. The film’s mommy rests on a certain wall in Kill/Dil. The film is a classic because its main character has dazzling shades of dark grey. He and his team had the guts to do it almost 40 years ago.
'Kill/Dil' flirts with the idea of having rotten men as its lead pair. It even seems to enjoy their bloody bonhomie. But it chickens out. What a shame! And what a waste! Imagine if Yash Chopra had chickened out and made Vijay sign up to become an LIC agent?
Gulzar has written the film’s songs and his voiceover seems to suggest that Kill/Dil holds some apocalyptic message. Well... It probably does. For Shaad Ali, Aditya Chopra and their two boys: Bhai, grow at least one pair amongst yourselves.
Watch the trailer here: