As a child, the movies I was forced to watch on TV because my mom liked the movies she was brought up on were usually Hindi films that had a plot that went – Kid is found in trash bin, is raised by gangster under whose gun held care and tutelage the boy becomes a killer, one who is so good that he is called upon for the most difficult of kills and then he falls in love with a beautiful woman who shows him the light at the end of the tunnel. The boy then decides he has had enough of the dark side and tells his gangster guardian that he wants to take a rain-check from the bullets and guns and goes his own way only for the gangster then going after the boy and the boy reluctantly killing the gangster when the gangster tries harming the girl. People loved it, my mom did and so did I but this was from the 70s and some films even lived with this till the 80s.
Language : Hindi | Running Time : 127 Minutes | Director : Shaad Ali
With a template like this, which has conned and worked Indian audience quite well for decades, I suppose Yash Raj Films wanted a remix, like some music directors enjoy remixing Ilayaraja‘s numbers or Bappi da‘s disco numbers these days and decided why not remix a stale plot and sell it with stars like Parineeti Chopra, Ranveer Singh and Govinda whohave the ability to draw audience and set cash registers ringing. It would have worked, if we went 20 years backwards in time oratleast if the movie had the guts to look at things anew.
Director Shaad Ali‘s “Kill/Dil” is a tale that takes the mentioned plot and adds one extra kid in the bin. You can forget the climax I wrote in the earlier paragraph, there’s little hopping around it by the writers and director but there’s again no invention or innovation, just some tweaking to make it look like there’s been an effort. Bhaiyyaji(Govinda) finds two kids whom he names Dev(Ranveer Singh) and Tutu(Ali Zafar). Just like the ballet tutu which looks like a constriction more than a wing of freedom, Tutu is all serious and little fun. He is the dark and brooding guy who takes the kill, gets the job done and doesn’t go after the girl. Ali Zafar does his best to work an image makeover but this film is not going to help him, especially when his character is a caricature brooding man whose only purpose of existence is to give his friend Dev a sounding board and sport black clothes so his friend can wear white or colourful clothes and be the guy who falls in love and finds salvation.
Both Parineeti Chopra and Ranveer Singh try to be fun and make things move in this film. You have to give it to them for what they do with the material they have, badly placed and filmed songs, an insipid romance, and Govinda still has the moves on him but the songs are bizarre and have been placed as an outlet to give Bhaiyyaji some screen time because otherwise he is left sharing photos and passing “gyaan” to his chelas whose only occupation seems to be to sit in the courtyard and play chess or eat food.
The problem with this is that there is never a sense of intrigue that props up about what really makes Bhaiyyaji the gangster he is or how large a hand he plays in the crime nexus. He certainly gets contracts to knock off politicians but there’s no one visiting him and the place he gets things done from is almost always empty. There’s never an atmosphere that he is dangerous so even when Govinda snarls and snarks, we don’t feel even the mildest of tremors. When he threatens, the air doesn’t cackle, it doesn’t build up into a storm and there’s a fizzle and pop like a bottle of soda being opened. In the hands of a director more capable or more attuned to the script(the template), there might have been atmosphere and style, style that isn’t having posters of cowboys on the walls but cinematography, music and dialogues that create mood, announce intention and follow up to the finish.It is quite strange that a film about gangsters and contract killers has the police just appear once whose meek questions don’t even serve to move the plot forward. But again, I am talking about material, showing some intent and intelligence, creating tension.
Kill/Dil is a weak film, one that shouldn’t have been made. It rehashes a popular 70s template that the actors try their best to salvage but there’s nothing really here for us. No glory or redemption.