"Dilwale", with Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in the lead, after a long gap, seems reason enough to go and watch this film. With the two legendary Dilwalas, one expects the same magic from this duo on screen. And they don't disappoint, albeit in a smaller segment.
Raj (Shah Rukh Khan) aka Kali lives a peaceful life with his younger brother Vir (Varun Dhwan) on whom he dotes. Together, they run a garage where they modify and repair cars, giving them a makeover. His two friends, Anwar (Pankaj Tripathi) and Shakti (Mukesh Tiwari) are an intrinsic part of his life and are privy to his dubious past of 15 years ago, which he has buried and about which no one else knows.
With King Khan and director Rohit Shetty, one expects mega entertainment. "Dilwale" is a formulaic film, replete with all the ingredients of a typical Rohit Shetty film - Goa, cars overturning, fast-paced action and bright candy coloured sets. But the film lacks soul and freshness.
The story and setting transport you back to the 1990s and the lack of novelty and newness in the script and treatment, is what lets you down. The dialogues abounding in pun, which are supposed to be funny, are really not so. A few situational comedy scenes evoke laughter, but don't really entertain or amuse you for too long.
Shah Rukh lights up the screen with this presence undoubtedly and is the rasion d'etre to watch the film, but the script does not back him enough. He fights, falls in love, indulges in action, romances his lady love, but one has seen him do all this so many times before. The fault lies with the writing and his characterisation. He delivers sincerely, what is expected of him.
Kajol too is competent as always, but as Meera - Khan's love interest, she seems to be stuck somewhere in the 1990s as her character lacks lustre. She looks radiant, performs competently and matches Shah Rukh in histrionics.
Varun as Vir, exudes energy, but overacts in several scenes. He is the stereotypical younger brother in Hindi films and makes no attempt to move away from that and offer some new dimension to his character.
Kriti Sanon as Ishita, Vir's love interest, has a strong screen presence and is natural even if she is meant to be just a bit more than eye candy.
Varun Sharma as Siddhu, Vir's buddy is a disappointment, compared to his performance in his debut film. Johnny Lever as Mani, entertains a fair amount in his usual inimitable style. Sanjay Mishra as Oscar, makes a mark as always, as he offers something new each time on screen. Boman Irani as King, takes on a comic avatar, but seems a wee bit stereotyped. Vinod Khanna as a Bulgaria-based Don Randhir Bakshi, is wasted, as he has limited screen time.
The music, apart from "Gerua", which is beautifully picturised, is disappointing. The mindless action scenes are expectedly flawlessly executed, but oft seen.
The cinematographer elevates the viewing experience, as he captures Bulgaria and all other locales beautifully, transporting you there.
"Dilwale" is strictly for Shah Rukh Khan's fans. They are bound to overlook everything else.