Nolan gives us an epic, just not a stellar one; Kill/Dil doesn't hit its target
Kill/Dil ** 1/2
Dir: Shaad Ali
Starring: Ranveer Singh, Ali Zafar, Parineeti Chopra, Govinda
Dev (Ranveer Singh) and Tutu (Ali Zafar) are contract killers in the hire of small-time Mumbai underworld don, Bhaiyaji (Govinda), happily going about their business, shooting off their guns and wisecracks in equal measure. Complications arise when Disha (Parineeti Chopra), an heiress with a heart of gold (what else?) and a penchant for rescuing and reforming criminals, enters their lives and, in particular, Dev’s heart. Bhaiyaji isn’t too particularly pleased by these turn of events and aims to put a spanner in the works. What transpires next is almost too predictable (I kept waiting for some nasty or surprising plot twist – unfortunately none arrived) and neither is it particularly exciting.
The title evokes thoughts of Quentin Tarantino and director Shaad Ali certainly takes inspiration from the maverick film-maker in at least the subject matter. But where Tarantino can take genre clichés and conventions and bend them to his own delicious ends Shaad Ali falls well short of doing that. The Hollywood writer/director has an ear for dialogue and the talent for staging brilliantly choreographed action scenes as well putting fresh spins on old material. And all this is accompanied with a wicked sense of humour. The script for Kill/Dil does have some humour which works but there isn’t enough of it, the dialogue is perfunctory, and the action scenes don’t get your blood pumping. And, really, if you are going to play with clichés then you should just dial them up to 11. For example, Ali Zafar’s Tutu, the older, more pragmatic of the two young hit-men, proves to be not too much different from Ranveer Singh’s quixotic Dev. Tutu should have been even more cynical and brooding – more along the lines of Amitabh Bachchan’s Jai in Sholay – so as to complement the amorous and ebullient Dev, just as Jai played so well-off Dharmendra’s Veeru. Similarly, Bhaiyaji should have been even more of a viper and his sense of humour should have been even more black.
That being said, Govinda, clearly relishing the opportunity to play against type, is terrific (bad hairpiece and all) as Bhaiyaji and he steals the show and almost (almost but not quite) makes the film worth your while. Ranveer, Parineeti and Ali all do what they can but the undercooked script doesn’t serve them well and the music is unmemorable as well. Shaad Ali made such a terrific directorial debut with Saathiya but he really hasn’t been able to match the standard of his first film since then. Kill/Dil is an improvement over the shambolic Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Shaad’s previous effort, but it could have been so much better.
Cut to chase: Not unwatchable but nothing to make you go out of your way to watch it.
Dir: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Wes Bentley, Michael Caine, John Lithgow, Casey Affleck
You can never accuse Christopher Nolan, the man behind the Batman-Dark Knight trilogy and movies like Memento and Inception, of thinking small or of underestimating his audience’s intelligence. And here the British director is shooting for the stars – literally – in an almost three-hour tale spanning decades, galaxies, dimensions and challenging the nature of time itself. The movie also covers concepts and theories like the space-time continuum, black holes, event horizons, worm holes, singularities, and other dimensions (theoretical physicist Kip Thorne serves as a technical consultant on the film and gets an executive producer credit in the bargain) through expository dialogue spouted by the game cast and the audience is expected to keep up. This is accompanied by scenes of inter-galactic travel, awe-inspiring alien landscapes and Han Zimmer’s swelling musical score. Balancing the spectacle – but not quite neatly – is the human drama revolving around the Cooper family which is trying to survive in a future arid earth where crops are dying off one by one and humanity’s existence is at stake. When ex-astronaut Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is recruited by his former mentor Professor Brand (Michael Caine) to lead a mission to the stars in the hope of salvaging some sort of future for mankind, it means leaving his children behind. The separation is particularly difficult for his daughter (Mackenzie Foy) and it is the relationship between the two that will have major repercussions as the film unfolds.
The movie never is less than engrossing (Nolan is too good a storyteller for that) but the suspicion remains that the human drama at the heart of the tale has been submerged under the spectacle. The logic of the plot is also a bit too self-serving (for the record, I did guess the climactic plot twist well before the actual reveal). Still the movie will prove to be worth your while – especially if you watch it on the big screen.
Note: there’s a special un-credited appearance in the movie but I won’t spoil it for you.
Cut to chase: Nolan reaches for the stars but doesn’t quite get there.
[email protected]; khusromumtaz.wordpress.com