I took an additional day after watching Salman Khan’s Kick to consolidate my thoughts about the film before I put them down here for you. As a movie analyst, it is imperative that I do not let any predilection cloud my objective point of view about the film, nor should I project my immediate reaction of it without giving it a second thought. Having said that, we can all revel in the fact that ‘Bhai’ is back this Eid. Yes, and his latest offering is directed by his long time producer Sajid Nadiadwala who makes the jump with this film. Post the debacle of Jai Ho earlier this year, Salman went all out selling Kick to the world, shrugging complacency out of himself. Rightly so. He must not throwaway the super stardom he has worked so hard for, only due to one film. Mounted on an ominously large scale, Bhai fans (read Bhai-tards) looked forward to it with bated breath.
So let’s break the ice. Kick is not the dumb summer hokum many connoisseurs of cinema wanted it to be. It is not frustratingly simplistic regurgitated stuff, which most Salman movies have been serving for past few years. In fact, as agonizing as it may sound to cine-astes, it is his best in years, despite being a hatchet job as a standalone film. That being said, it is tremendously entertaining and I had a blast watching it.
Kick narrates two different stores told by two different people, about the same person – Devil and Devi Lal Singh (Salman). Shaina (an unrealistically pretty Jacqueline Fernandez) lives in Delhi where she meets Devi, who is a reckless alcoholic, adventure lover and lives to get a ‘kick’ out of life. They fall in love until Devi’s instability causes them to break apart. Shaina moves to Poland where she meets Himanshu (Randeep Hooda), a supercop, whose glory has been whisked away by Devil, a thief who stole millions from the rich and was never caught. Now Himanshu is in Poland following Devil who is out to rob a politician, Shiv Gajra (an outstanding Nawaazuddin Siddiqui). A cat and mouse chase follows as we are supposed to get our kick in the finale.
As much as you may be grimacing, this is the most semblance of a plot that has been found in a Salman film in forever. Kick is a mainstream masala entertainer and it would be grossly incorrect to look for sprawling details in the screenplay, even when it is credited to as many as five writers – Vakkantham Vamsi (Story), Keith Gomes, Sajid Nadiadwala, Chetan Bhagat (Screenplay) and Rajat Arora (Screenplay and Dialogues). Before we get into what works for Kick, lets talk a little about what doesn’t, apart from the logic bit because I did not go out looking for that. Kick starts with Shaina telling her story with Devi and takes an excruciating hour to come to the point where it introduces Devil via Himanshu. The two stories are completely separate but they don’t seamlessly join together, plagued by much soapy windbaggery in Devi’s story of transformation into a samaritan. Despite Sajid’s ruse to keep it under the wraps till the climax, it comes out as contrived and underwhelming. Kick suffers from an uneven pacing and a lot of it must be blamed upon Rameshwar S. Bhagat’s editing. A non-anecdotal telling of the story would have saved some grace. A brilliant psychotic villain is largely under used as he shows up only in the second half.
Now the good and fun bits. Yes, there are a lots of them. The Cinematography (Ayananka Bose, Alexander Witt) is transcendentally gorgeous, with each frame deliciously carved out of an art book. Whether it is Poland or Delhi, most frames are remarkable and warm. Rajnish Hedao’s Production Design also deserves a hat tip for the same. Action choreography of Kick is superb and despite being over the top, it does not look asinine like in Dhoom 3. I wont call it totally slick, but it is definitely the next level in Salman films. The screenplay does throw up some very interesting sequences which Sajid handles very well. Years of experience and filmy punditry allows him to give a striking hand to Kick, one which an amateur would lack. The first sequence where Devi is partying with his father (Mithun), the role reversal scene at Shaina’s house with her dad, the chase sequence with Devil escaping in front of a train, the sequence in which Shiv Gajra bubble wraps and murders a doctor or the grandstanding finale in the Shiv’s hideout – Sajid and his team bring a handful of freshness to Kick with some ingenuine moments. Salman films always bring in the blithe without fail, but they also need some improvements which Kick dishes out. Music by Himesh Reshammiya, Meet Bros Anjjan and Yo Yo Honey Singh is already a rage with Yaar Na Miley being my personal favorite. On the whole, I enjoyed Kick immensely and this has not happened post Dabangg for me.
Kick belongs to Salman Khan, this film however is a rare outing where everyone else too gets footage apart from him. Salman, sunken eyed yet perennially confident, has tons of fun donning the cape and mask, as much as he does wooing his girl and doing things for a kick. He still terribly sucks at crying on screen and filmmakers must avoid making him do so. But the goofy charm, and the fancy improvisations will win the heart of his fans once again as Salman comfortably steps into a character-plot which is a summary of his own life in a way. Jacqueline Fernandez courts the audience with her looks and gyrates like no other in Jumme Ki Raat. That apart, she has not much chops to show. Randeep Hooda heaps on a meaty role and does reasonably well. However, the man of the moment is Nawaazuddin Siddiqui. Man, I just wish they wrote more for him. In the 4-5 sequences decreed for him by Sajid, Nawaaz is spellbinding to say the least. He is a book on acting just in one minute of screen time. I must bow down, once again. Mithun Chakraborty is alright while Archana Puran Singh is obnoxious. Saurabh Shukla does well.
On the whole, Kick puts a break to a steadying quality decline in Salman films, though I am not sure if that will go down well his ardent fans, who only expect him to dole out slushy hogwash. I had a great experience watching Kick at a single screen theater where a sea of his fans formed an irresistible vortex outside as if the film would start without them. At a critical juncture in the film, a gentleman behind my seat complained about characters talking in English in the film and that they did not pay for this. Watch out Salman, you may piss the lowest strata of your audience with a slightly better film. Irrespective of its logic chasms and lurid pacing, Kick is the most enjoyable film of the season and it deserves to be watched. Yes, I am putting it out there. Go watch!
Rating – 3/5