For this reviewer, the biggest tragedy in Kill Dil was the criminal misuse of actor Murad Ali’s talent. The same guy who sparkled in Tigmanshu Dhulia’s 2003 hit Haasil with his UP slang and crackling one liners and then never found another role worthy of him. The same Murad Ali who is film-maker Muzaffar Ali’s son and director Shaad Ali’s brother. And who appears in this film as a lackey slouching behind Govinda’s Bhaiya ji, waiting for one redeeming moment that never comes. There are only a few times when he opens his mouth and you keep hoping that his day in the sun will come.
In one scene, he is asked, “Kabhi hua hai? Pyaar, ishq, mohabbat, love?” He says, “Nahin Bhaiya ji, chaaron hi nahin hua!” And you see a glimpse of the wonderful scene stealer he could have been but he meets his end just the way the film does. Abruptly. Pointlessly.
In retrospect, the film is like an empty barsaati that Shaad Ali perhaps wanted to decorate with all the sounds, sights and memories of his formative years. So he ran through memorabilia stores and memory chests and there was the poster of the Marlboro man. Then the yellow suit Uma Thurman wore as she hunted for Bill. Jai and Veeru reborn as Dev and Tutu. Dev as the Awara who just wants to be loved by a good woman. A picture of Nirupa Roy on a wall. Mr Sanskari Alok Nath himself in flesh and blood. And not just the poetry of Gulzar saab but his voice! Oh dear god, Gulzar saab’s voice thundering through the hall almost as if god himself was saying, “koi atka hua a pal shayad,” as Ranveer Singh digs out a gun he had once buried for good.
The point of it all? Well, who are we to question the director who gave us Jhoom Barabar Jhoom? A film that was so excessively self-indulgent that it took you to Paris for a song that was called Ticket to Hollywood and had Amitabh Bachchan dressed as Jack Sparrow dancing for no particular reason in a London train station. Here too after a rather nice proposal scene atop what looks like Qutub Minar, we are suddenly jolted into a surreal romantic song where the hero and the heroine carry smart suitcases and are on their way some place. That in a nutshell is a metaphor for this film and perhaps the kind of cinema Shaad Ali seems to love. A cinema that lives in many rainbow bubble moments but never becomes a rainbow.
We begin with two baby boys who are picked from a bin by a don Bhaiya ji (Govinda), are groomed as hit men and then learn to kill with the impunity of cold bullets. There seems to be no trail of blood behind Dev (Ranveer Singh) and Tutu (Ali Zafar), no sign of any cops investigating. They strike poses with guns, count how many stars they have shot right into the stratosphere, sleep in bunk beds, cook eggs in an open terrace kitchen and then one day run into a rich, privileged young woman in a night club.
Post an almost Jessica Lal-like episode, the young woman Disha (Parineeti Chopra in designer wear) and Dev grow close. They meet in places he has never been to. At plays, in a swanky terrace apartment, bungalows dripping Diwali lights and old money and he suddenly begins to want to reform. There are a few genuinely funny moments as when Dev and Tutu try to decipher the meaning of LOL and ROFL. The jewellery store sequence is hilarious too where the boys are bargaining over a birthday gift with the owner at gunpoint.
Dev and Disha’s romance has some nicely etched moments too but overkill takes over their awkwardly sweet chemistry with sudden songs. A perfectly intimate birthday party suddenly turns into a flash mob dancing with a million birthday cakes. In the end, it all gets excruciatingly tiresome though the performances are uniformly good. Govinda whom you expected to romp home with the film almost does but his role is mainly limited to loud laughter, breaking into signature steps, handing out photographs of people he wants bumped off and smirking at his own jokes. There is Ranveer Singh who with his transparent commitment to any part he takes on, cries uninhibitedly into the camera to show just what a good actor he is.
Ali Zafar broods and tries to fit into the madness to the best of his ability. Parineeti has her moments too. But the actors cannot add anything to a film that, starting with its title, has a randomness to it. And just when you are expecting a moral dilemma exploding to conclude the film convincingly, it ends. Without clarifying how a murderer of almost a dozen people can possibly fix all the wrong he has done by recording a video message. The film says nothing except that crime can be tiresome and if you find the right woman, you should perhaps consider a life of domesticity. Kill Dil like Jhoom Barabar Jhoom is a hugely wasteful film and makes you wonder if anyone reads the scripts at Yash Raj anymore before they hit the floors with little more than a promising premise.