After a long time a Hindi film gives us a memorable villain. After a long time the second hero gets a substantial role in a Salman Khan film. These would be causes for celebration if the hero himself hadn’t turned out so insipid and boring. Which is surprising since this is a role Salman has been playing in film after film for years.
Devi/Devil (Salman) is a man who seeks adventure and ‘kick’ all the time. Lest you be in no doubt about this fact, the word ‘kick’ is repeated throughout the film. And since the man has to have his ‘kick’, he obviously goes around making a nuisance of himself. This is something the heroine Shaina (Jacqueline Fernandes) and the audience is supposed to find oh-so-adorable. After all, who plays a loveable hell-raiser better than our own Salman bhai? So what’s wrong, you ask? One, the pathetic screenplay and two, Salman’s surprising lack of charisma. Surprising because he has managed to rise above many a mediocre screenplays in the past on the strength of his personal charm. Also because this is something both Randeep Hooda and Nawazuddin manage to do with aplomb.
In fact it is Randeep who emerges as the real hero of the film with his no-nonsense cop act. His solid presence and dignified performance make Salman’s dare devilry look childish. And then Nawazuddin turns up post-interval to ensure that no one looks elsewhere when he is on screen. The supremely talented Sanjay Mishra and Saurabh Shukla also do their bit to brighten up the proceedings. However, the film falls whenever it focusses on the leads, which unfortunately is for the majority of the runtime.
Nobody expects path-breaking cinema from a Salman Khan film. In fact, one walks in expecting the absurd. However, there is entertaining-absurd and there is tedious-absurd. Kick is unfortunately the latter. The film has good production values and some slick action but that can’t really make up for bad writing. The songs too are a big let-down, making one wish for a fast forward button. Only ‘jumme ki raat’ stands out and Jacqueline salvages her dull presence in the film somewhat with some cool dance moves. The same can’t be said for Salman who merely looks disinterested while doing those pelvic thrusts.
So another Eid, another Robin Hood story. This one may be another blockbuster too. After all, who needs substance when style sells so well. However, a little more respect for your audience won’t hurt, would it Bhai?