Sunday, December 20, 2015

Movie Review: Dilwale

20 years ago, then a college student, I watched DDLJ with my girl friend on our first "date", and like everyone of that generation, fell in love with Raj and Simran, and the lush green European countryside. Isn't it pretty amazing then, that two decades later, the new Dilwale is still about the Badshah of romance, SRK, and the ever-so-stunning Kajol?

That's what Dilwale is all about, really. It's a nostalgic journey back in time to an era without cell phones and Google. Without Instagram. When we had little money, and no multiplexes to spend them in. When we hadn't heard of intolerance or vendetta politics. It's when a naughty Raj performed monkey antics to win over the innocent Simran, in locales rarely seen in Bollywood cinema, dancing to steps brought to the screen for the first time by a little known Shiamak Davar.

Will today's generation identify with Dilwale? I don't know. I guess they will drool over Varun Dhavan, who is now delivering his sixth hit in a row. Or watch the long legged eye candy Kriti Sanon dance to Manma Emotion Jaage. The kids might salivate at the DC rides, and clap when Kali and his two henchmen make mincemeat of an entire gang in a warehouse. (Note: Rohit Shetty still has cars exploding and flying in gravity defying action, but in hand to hand combat, it's a lot more earthly now!) Even though it's predictable, the story will invoke some oohs and aahs before interval. And most audiences will love it when Shahrukh says, "Hum thode sharif kya ho gaye, puri duniya badmash ho gayee!"

But it's when SRK and Kajol are together, that the screen absolutely lights up with their chemistry. The fantasy world of Janam Janam will mesmerize you, the melodious roller coaster engulfs you as you swirl around black beaches, waterfalls and skeletons of abandoned planes. While SRK does what he does best, Kajol is stunning and delivers a very memorable and beautiful performance. Here is one of the most successful on screen couples, and 20 long years after Raj and Simran, Raj and Mira are just as good together.

So, stop fretting about a predictable story line. Stop criticizing the liberal use of gaudy colors on houses, cars and costumes. Stop counting the flying cars, defying the laws of physics. Ignore the forced humor and lame jokes, the lack of comic timing. And simply immerse yourself in warm nostalgia - go back into those innocent, beautiful times of DDLJ, and as much as possible, find love and tolerance in today's India.

After all, as the Badshah says so beautifully at the end, bade bade deshoan mein, aisi choti choti baatein hoti rahati hai, senorita!

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