Kill/Dil starts off pretty well. Dev (Ranveer Singh) and Tutu (Ali Zafar) are gun-toting, contract-killing cowboys in a Bollywood Western (sort of). The camaraderie between them, albeit juvenile, is hilarious. The tongue-in-cheek dialogues come thick and fast. Dev, while explaining his ascent from a street urchin to a gunda explains ‘Hum bachpan me A for Apple aur B for ballnahiseekhe, seedha M for Maaki and B for Behenki seekh gaye’.
Their bromance is fun. Dev stands next to Tutu in anticipation, overcome with nervousness he starts scratching his balls. Tutu asks Dev if he has an itch. When Dev replies in the affirmative, Tutu asks why he is scratching Tutu. “Ohh,” Dev quips, “Isliye relief nahi mil rahatha.” Their boss Bhaiyaji (Govinda) is even more fun and mildly reminiscent of Jackie Shroff in Aaranya Kaandam. The contract killing montages are shot in over-the-top colors, with a dash of self-aware pulp. It’s all schlock, but sometimes schlock is fun, and up until the first half hour Kill/Dil works pretty well.
After which, as unforgivable as it is to make a pun out of the film’s title in the review, director Shaad Ali shoots a bullet straight into the heart of the film and turns it into a pseudo remake of Gunday. Yet again we’re left with two babies who were picked up on the streets, turned into gundas, and whose tag team dhanda and bromance is split by a girl. The girl in question, Disha (Parineeti) might just be the most implausible female character to have ever graced the silver screen. She’s an ultra, super duper rich heiress of a business magnate, whose day job is to rehabilitate career criminals. Yet, she falls in love at first sight with Dev, an all too obvious sadakchaap. That isn’t all – she laughs at his sadakchaap SMS jokes, invites him to her Diwali parties, her birthday, her swimming pool, takes him atop Qutub Minar, and even proposes to him. Or perhaps her character is deeper than one thinks. Shaad Ali was probably trying to convey a complex character whose career in criminal rehabilitation has made her realize the perfunctory nature of non criminals and the deeper, melancholy in the criminal soul, the sorrow of which she feels the need to envelop in the honeydew healing powers of her crystal pure heart.
Whatever the case, the film goes off kilter the moment Dev and Disha’s romance begins. Dev tries to quit gun slinging and becomes, ironically, a life insurance salesman. That is, of course, after Disha’s crystal pure heart offer of asking her dad to give Dev a job. For some reason, Bhaiyyaji gets pissed when he gets to know that Dev is indulging in romance shomance. So much so that it gives off the creepy vibe of Bhaiyyaji himself being in love with Dev. Like Disha’s character perhaps Bhaiyyaji’s character also was a Kakfaesque one, rife with homoerotic Oedipal tangles.
Another instance when the film tries really hard and ends up falling off the rocker is during one of Dev and Disha’s dates. To prove his awesome benevolence, Dev invites two street kids to join Disha and him when they’re eating at a dhaba. They get chhola bhatura, we get schmaltz on a platter. Tutu, on the other hand, spends all his time looking boorish in the film, as if he’s tired of trying to salvage some dignity in the hackneyed plot in which he’s stuck. Zafar is a really good actor and he keeps finding himself in films that are either terrible or never give him a chance to explore his potential. Speaking of hackneyed, Ranveer Singh plays the same character he did in Gunday, minus a large percentage of the upper body physique from that film. Parineeti Chopra plays a sassy Punjaban and considering she’s one of the few in Bollywood with real range and talent, it really is about time she stepped out of her comfort zone and tried other things. On a side note, whoever picked her costumes needs to be fired.
The worst culprit in Kill/Dil is the torrent of songs. The title track is cool, and because it plays up in the opening credits the movie seems promising. Unfortunately the interminable songs that follow make you want to turn towards the exit door. Kill/Dil is terrible in places, but unfortunately it doesn’t come down to the unintentionally funny, disaster zone like Shaad Ali’s previous effort, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom. The box office of Kill/Dil remains moot, but it would surely give Gunday a run for its money at the IMDB ratings.
(First published in Firstpost)