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Devi (Salman Khan) is an adrenaline junkie. He lives for the kick of things. At first, the mayhem is reasonably innocent. He’s high strung, never sitting still. He gets in fights. Mixed-martial arts kind of fights: he’s a great roundhouse kicker, as well. He argues – the outcome doesn’t matter – because he likes to pit himself against others. Because he’s charismatic, it’s almost an endearing trait. The problem is, he can’t stay in one job. Incredibly educated and accomplished, he’s left over 30 jobs. When he falls suddenly and cataclysmically in love with a psychiatrist, Shaina (Jacqueline Fernandez) who lives in Poland, all hell breaks loose. All that passion, all that wackiness, it drives a wedge between them. They part, and her heart is broken.
Her parents have brokered her a marriage with Himanshu (Radeep Hooda). He’s an up and coming cop. They meet and talk. They quickly realize they have no love connection. She tells him of her time in India with Devi. As we see in flashback, it’s a dashing, romantic, and, ultimately, a doomed tale. He tells her of the Devil, a criminal mastermind that he’s chasing. His other successes mean nothing if he can’t nail the guy. Their stories intersect in an ingenious way.
“Kick,” written by Raiat Arora, directed by Sajid Nadiadwala isn’t just an action film with a potent kick. It’s also a reminder to not question what someone does but why one does it. It’s sets you up thinking it’s a battle between a diabolically clever criminal and a remarkably effective cop. The prize is not just all the money Devi makes off with. It’s also Shaina’s hand. The fight scenes, the cat and mouse games, they’re all captivating in their energy and execution. We root for Himanshu, while we’ve come to wonder why Devi, of whom no one prior had ever said a bad word, could turn so evil. Appearances, though, are deceiving.
Khan is a formidable Devi. He’s got the muscles, the brains and, as we learn, the heart of a hero. Like all junkies, he wants nothing out of life but the next rush. He sticks up for the underdog, especially, as you’ll see, at the end. He takes out a band of thugs disrespecting a woman. He’s fearless, engaging, and awe-inspiring. You get the sense that he holds nothing back in his characterization of the once lovable, now despised Devi.
Minus one notable quality, Hooda’s Himanshu is the appropriate adversary for Khan’s Devi. He’s intelligent, meticulous, and relentless. Though it’s not apparent at first, they both share a desire to serve and protect. The one thing that Khan’s Devi has that Hooda’s Himanshu doesn’t is this craziness (to see where it comes from, check out his parents, played by Archana Puran Singh and Mithun Chakraborty) that propels him ever forward. Fernandez’s Shaina is enchanting as the beautiful, successful career woman who mourns a lost love. Her transformation in one of the song and dance scenes from mousy, glasses wearing psychiatrist to sumptuous sex kitten is breathtaking.
Nadiadwala fits the story with a well-adjusted adrenaline pump. The film perfectly balances the action scenes (bus chases, jumping out of skyscraper windows, battles royale) with the love scenes. The climax turns into a rainbow of discovery. We learn something about the Devil that is almost angelic.
Watching Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (Humpty Sharma’s Bride), a Bollywood romantic comedy written and directed by Shashank Khaitan, is like watching soccer. It’s got a huge playing field, the clock keeps ticking, and there’s always something going on. You don’t necessarily notice the director’s nuances, the actor’s characterizations, or the plot’s intricacies. But you do feel how everything blends together, melodic, rhythmic, and colorful. You get swept up in the enchantment of the spectacle’s bumpy road to love story.
It’s been decreed that Kavya Pratap Singh (Alia Bhatt) will marry Angad (Siddharth Shukla), an Indian doctor who works in the United States. Though the family’s well off, her father, Mr. Singh (Ashutosh Rana), won’t buy her a designer dress for her wedding. Headstrong and spirited, to put it mildly, she goes to Delhi. Not only does she intend to buy the dress she covets, she intends to make the money to buy it herself. In Delhi, she meets Rakesh “Humpty” Sharma (Varun Dhawan). He’s handsome, charming and, as we learn early on in a scene in a public restroom, single. He has a posse, Shonty (Gaurav Pandey) and Poplu (Sahil Vaid). They indulge if outright admire his success with women. Kavya and Humpty meet when he and his chums have tied her uncle, his professor, to a tree. He needs a passing grade to please his father, Mr. Sharma (Kenny Desai). Despite the inauspicious beginning, sparks fly, most notably when she bests him in a drinking contest.
The film plays out their on-again, off-again romance. He has her, he doesn’t. He sort-of does. Then, on her father’s orders, he almost get killed by Ranjit (Aditya Sharma), Kavya’s brother. Before it arrives at the inevitable (see the title) and enchanting conclusion, the film is magical and violent, hopeful and sad. Metaphorically and literally, it’s the stuff of song. Throughout the film, the on-again bits seem ordained from heaven and the off-again bits seem destined for hell.
Bhatt manages to be radiant, feisty, and stubborn at the same time she plays the role of the mostly-obedient Dutiful Daughter. She has a cornucopia of riveting facial expressions. There’s the Don’t even think about hitting on me face. There’s the I don’t care what you say, I’m wearing a designer dress at my wedding face. And, best of all, there’s the radiant I want to spend the rest of my life with you face. Even if it were a silent film, you’d know precisely what’s on her mind. She’s perfectly cast next to Dhawan’s Humpty. Though Dhawan himself is a firecracker, to watch his cataclysmic fall from anything goes playboy to monogamous swain is both startling and moving.
As Kavya’s sister Swati, Mahnaz Damania is like a morning moon to Bhatt’s sun. You notice her around the edges of the film. Even before you knew her backstory, you knew there was more than met the eye. You could argue, in fact, that Damania’s character is the most interesting, that her performance is the most complicated. Against her father’s wishes, she married for what she thought was love. The subsequent divorce brought shame on the family, and especially on Mr. Singh. It was up to Kavya to show that it is possible to make a good marriage based on love.
Arts – The Huffington Post
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