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What more could you hope for in a commercial entertainer? The cast and director, Rohit Shetty, should be sufficient proof that you are about to be treated to an emotional drama, the likes of which you have scarcely seen before. In Dilwale, ‘blockbuster director’ Rohit Shetty has directed one of the best on-screen couples Hindi cinema has ever produced, Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. And Shetty does full justice to this rare opportunity.

Ever since Dilwale was announced, everyone had massive expectations from this film. It had a director with a hundred-per cent success rate; a lead pair whose chemistry is undeniably an epitome of love on the silver screen; a young pair who have an uncanny ability to charm audiences; and a stellar supporting cast. Shetty’s intentions are very clear: full-on entertainment with humour and punches in every scene, and dollops of emotion at regular intervals. Add to this his signature-style car chases, and only a few characters are over-the-top, a deliberate touch. As always, the film is a clean, family entertainer.

The film starts in Goa, with a timid Raj (Shah Rukh Khan) and a happy-go-lucky Veer (Varun Dhawan), who are brothers. Raj dotes on Veer and the two run a garage where they modify cars. Veer meets Ishita (Kriti Sanon) and they fall in love. Meanwhile, Veer gets beaten up by don King’s (Boman Irani) henchmen and Raj covertly retaliates even as it is revealed that Raj is actually ‘Kali’.

The film then goes back 15 years, to Bulgaria, where Raj aka Kali is a feared mafia don Randheer Bakshi’s son (Vinod Khanna) and a threat to rival mafia don, Dev Malik (Kabir Bedi). Soon Raj aka Kali meets Meera (Kajol) and a chance encounter leads to them falling in love. But things fall apart and destiny forces them in different directions.

Cut to the present day, where Veer and Ishita convince Raj to meet Ishita’s family as the two youngsters want to get married. As fate would have it, Ishita is Kajol’s younger sister and her only family. Will Raj and Meera get over their past for the sake of their siblings? And will Raj and Meera rekindle their own love? The answers to these questions take the story forward.

Editing by Bunty Nagi is superb. Cinematography by Dudley is another highlight of the film. The film looks vibrant with beautiful locations and colourful costumes. Like every other Rohit Shetty film, Dilwale too has many impressive action scenes which are always the highlight of his films. Music by Pritam suits the narration beautifully.

There are many scenes that make you laugh and they stay with you long after the credits roll. There are many memorable sequences too, like Khan and Dhawan’s camaraderie. Mukesh Tiwari and Pankaj Tripathi’s sequence with Dhawan and Varun Sharma, post-interval, is one of the major highlights of the film in terms of comedy, Johnny Lever’s scenes, and the climax.. and that’s where the film scores. There are many touching moments and plenty of hilarious ones too. We see not only a love story but a story about sibling love and family. The film is indeed a family entertainer with Rohit Shetty-style action, which has always charmed cine-goers. Kudos to Shetty’s action team!

Rohit Shetty is in top form again, and delivers a masala entertainer. Every frame has his signature all over it. Yunus Sajawal’s screenplay may have some loopholes but it is still terrific. Dialogue by Farhad-Sajid is the soul of the film. Despite the sometimes-slow, sometimes-fast tempo, and with a runtime of 155 minutes, the film is a smooth ride.

Performance-wise, Shah Rukh Khan is undoubtedly a master of his craft. As Raj, he exudes confidence right from the first frame to the very last, and in the 15-year flashback as Kali, he plays his part with the right balance of naivety and flamboyance. Kajol looks spectacularly beautiful and her skill to grasp the minutest details of her character stands out this time as well.

Varun Dhawan wraps perfect comic timing around his character and brings out an outstanding performance. Kriti Sanon delivers a stunning performance. Varun Sharma is fabulous and plays his part with panache. Boman Irani is notable. Johnny Lever is fantastic, as usual. Vinod Khanna and Kabir Bedi, in their discreet roles, are outstanding. Sanjay Mishra is top notch. Mukesh Tiwari and Pankaj Tripathi are brilliant and play their parts with utter conviction. Chetna Pande is good. Nawab Shah is okay. The rest of the cast supports well.


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