Why use the door, Salman? Bollywood megastar goes back to basics, pummelling everything in sight including narrative cohesionWhat was originally scheduled as India’s big Eid blockbuster for May 2020 is opening a year later in cinemas everywhere but India itself, where it came out on streaming platforms last weekend. In his guise as producer-megastar, musclebound Salman Khan has dispatched his minions to hollow out the taut narrative chicanery of 2017’s Korean thriller The Outlaws and reconfigure its carcass into the kind of flattering vehicle only a powerful Bollywood leading man can command. Despite some early welcome flickers of the kind of self-awareness that’s crept into Khan’s projects over the past half-decade, the result is very much back-to-basics. The more knowing nonsense only serves to make the eventual slump into third-rate pummelling more dispiriting.Most of that nonsense, which prompts fitful back-row giggles, concerns Khan’s indomitable hero cop Radhe. “He has his own methods of working,” insists one of the Mumbai police chiefs recruiting him to protect the city’s youth from straggle-haired druglord Randeep Hooda. These include: never entering via the door when he can leap face-first through a glass window, manifesting in multiple locations simultaneously so as to better box his quarries’ ears, and – less amusingly – casually torturing suspects. A chance encounter with poster-girl Diya (Disha Patani) encourages our man to try male modelling; this love interest, naturally, turns out to be the sister of Radhe’s ever more exasperated CO (Jackie Shroff). Don’t ask about the 35-year age gap between these siblings; no one behind the camera clearly bothered. Continue reading…

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