Tag Archives: Randeep Hooda

Streaming Video News: August 15, 2016

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with three new additions to the streaming catalog, including two 2016 theatrical releases. The highest profile addition is Airlift, which stars Akshay Kumar in a fictionalized version of 1990 evacuation of 170,000 Indian citizens from Kuwait following Iraq’s invasion. I felt the movie fell short of its potential, but it is a fitting choice for some patriotic Independence Day viewing.

Also new is Laal Rang, a movie that no one but me bothered to watch when it released in April. If you’ve ever wondered why Shah Shahid of Blank Page Beatdown and I are such massive Randeep Hooda fans, watch Laal Rang and understand.

The last addition is John & Jane, a 2005 documentary about Indian call center workers by director Ashim Ahluwalia of Miss Lovely fame.

For everything else new on Netflix, check Instant Watcher.

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Movie Review: Sultan (2016)

Sultan3 Stars (out of 4)

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Casting Salman Khan in a film brings baggage and expectations along with his sizeable fan base. Those attendant factors are evident in the story of Sultan, written and directed by Ali Abbas Zafar and produced by Aditya Chopra. The title role requires Salman to play a part unlike the one he typically plays, but the movie never quite allows you to forget that you’re watching Salman Khan.

Rather than opening with Salman’s character Sultan, the film begins with the financial troubles of a failing Indian mixed martial arts league. The league founder, Aakash (Amit Sadh, who deserves more attention in Bollywood), lacked the foresight to include any Indian fighters in his Indian fighting league, and he gets six months to boost audience interest before his investors pull the plug.

Aakash’s dad weirdly touts the superiority of Indian moral values before recalling an impressive wrestler named Sultan he saw up north about eight years ago. Aakash heads to Haryana, only to find that his father’s legendary wrestler is now a pot-bellied forty-something working a desk job at the water department.

Sultan’s friend Govind (the reliable Anant Sharma) gives Aakash the scoop on why his buddy quit wrestling. The flashback showing Sultan’s sporting career and his romance with fellow wrestler Aarfa (Anushka Sharma) is the most typical Salman Khan portion of the film. Young Sultan is an aimless prankster who’s nevertheless beloved by all, with no marriage prospects even though he’s “pushing thirty.” He meets Aarfa, who smacks him around for bumping into her, and immediately falls in love with her beauty and spunky attitude. She says she’s not interested, but he pursues her anyway.

This flashback section — which takes up the first hour — is the worst part of the film. Salman is long past the age where he can convincingly play a brat. His attempts to keep up with the younger cast members either in a footrace or on the dance floor make him look slow and heavy. Sultan’s father’s grey hair can’t disguise the fact that the two men look more like brothers than father and son.

The flashback seems designed to reassure ardent Salman fans who prefer him in this avatar before the un-Salman-like plot turns to come. Salman’s celluloid enemies are almost always external, be they villains or just obstacles in his way. Salman’s characters are morally perfect from the get go, so no character growth is required to conquer said obstacles.

Not so in Sultan. Aarfa calls Sultan out for being a presumptuous deadbeat, prompting him to realize the he needs to work to win not only the respect of others, but also himself. He pours his heart into wrestling and becomes a champion, but success brings other pitfalls. Sultan fails to appreciate the difference between confidence and arrogance, resulting in a tragedy for which he is solely responsible.

When present-day Sultan joins Aakash’s MMA league, he does so with loftier goals than personal glory. Sultan’s presence by no means guarantees the league’s success. Not only is the former champ out of shape physically, he’s emotionally deflated as well. His new coach (Randeep Hooda) takes one look at Sultan’s haunted expression and says, “I don’t train dead people.”

But train him he does, in an entertaining montage that sets the stage for some cool fight scenes. All the fights in the MMA tournament look really good, a huge leap forward since last year’s disappointing Bollywood MMA flick Brothers.

Probably the single best bit of acting I’ve ever seen from Salman comes as a washed-up Sultan confronts the man he’s become. He stands shirtless in front of the mirror looking at his paunch, and tears fill his eyes. Frustrated and sobbing, he struggles to put his arm through the sleeve of his shirt, desperate to cover himself. It’s a scene that could not exist in most of Salman’s recent films, in which his character is always perfect, always the superman.

Zafar brings out the best in Salman on screen, yet the superstar’s off-screen persona is never fully out of mind while watching the film. When Aarfa’s father speaks with his daughter about Sultan and says: “Even God forgives one mistake,” one can’t help but wonder if this is also a plea to the audience on behalf of the real-life star (who couldn’t avoid trouble even while promoting this very movie).

Aarfa is one of the highlights of the film. She’s a fully realized character, with hopes and dreams independent of Sultan. When she makes compromises for the sake of their relationship, they feel like reasoned decisions and not the inevitable reduction of a woman’s roles to wife and/or mother. Sharma’s tough act is spot on.

Obviously, Sultan would have to be a progressive guy to fall for a woman who refuses to be sidelined because of her gender. So why, in multiple media sessions, does Sultan fall back on negative tropes about wives and girlfriends? He tells the press, “She’s not my wife yet, but she’s sucking my blood already,” and they laugh. Why the jokes at the expense of women?

The film also falls on its face when it comes to race. Two of Sultan’s MMA opponents are black, and both are introduced in English as being “owned” by someone, when the appropriate word should have been “sponsored.” One of the opponents is a capoeira expert, and as he leaps to execute a kick, Govinda says, “He leaps like an ape.” Sultan asks of the same fighter, “Is this gorilla or chimpanzee style?” Of all of the animals in the world that jump, Zafar could only think of monkeys to refer to a black character?

Sultan is otherwise a well-executed sports flick that would be enjoyable even with another actor in the lead role. Yet, for better or worse, the movie is all the more interesting for the way the main character’s life reflects upon that of the actor playing him.

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Opening July 6: Sultan

Salman Khan’s latest — Sultan — hits Chicago area theaters on the evening of Wednesday, July 6, 2016, before adopting a full-day schedule on Thursday, July 7. The Yash Raj Films wrestling drama is directed by Ali Abbas Zafar of Mere Brother Ki Dulhan fame and co-stars Anushka Sharma and Randeep Hooda.

Sultan opens tonight in the following Chicago area theaters, with shows starting as early as 6 p.m.:

Sultan has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 49 min.

As of Friday, the only other Hindi film showing in the Chicago area will be Housefull 3, with one show daily at the South Barrington 30.

Movie Review: Sarbjit (2016)

Sarbjit2 Stars (out of 4)

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Much of the press before the release of Sarbjit focused on whether superstar Aishwarya Rai Bachchan would overshadow the actor playing the film’s title character, Randeep Hooda. Rai Bachchan is the dominant presence in the movie, not because of her performance but because the story is tilted in her favor, at the expense of Sarbjit and the other important figures in his life.

Hooda’s character is Sarbjit Singh, a Punjabi farmer in a small town on the Indian border with Pakistan. He’s married to the woman of his dreams, Sukh (Richa Chadda), with whom he has two young daughters. He shares the family home with his father and his sister, Dalbir (Rai Bachchan).

Dalbir has survived her share of heartbreak. Her only child was stillborn, and her marriage went south not long after due to her husband’s violent jealousy over her close relationship with her younger brother, whom she essentially raised.

Jovial Sarbjit gets drunk with his friend one night and unwittingly stumbles across the Pakistani border. Soldiers arrest Sarbjit on the suspicion of spying, and they torture him into confessing to be terrorist Ranjit Singh.

It takes eight months for Dalbir and Sukh to find out what has happened to Sarbjit, after a sympathetic jailer mails a letter to them on the farmer’s behalf. By then, Sarbjit has been moved to a Lahore prison and sentenced to death.

A lengthy Pakistani judicial process affords Dalbir decades to find a way to free her brother. When Indian politicians are reluctant to intervene — if not outright dismissive — she rallies public support to pressure them into action. Dalbir’s endeavor begins with Sarbjit’s capture in 1990 and lasts long enough to see the advent of the Internet and cell phone technology to further spread her message.

Dalbir’s quest reveals the ways in which the Indian and Pakistani governments use prisoners as proxies in their ongoing conflict. An execution of a Pakistani prisoner in India can easily spur a retaliatory execution in Pakistan. Political offices change hands numerous times during Sarbjit’s incarceration, and every change delays progress to free him.

Dalbir’s story has interesting parallel’s with Sarbjit’s. He’s driven somewhat insane through years of torture and solitary confinement, and she also loses herself as his imprisonment drags on.

Yet, it’s weird the way the story — written by Utkarshini Vashishtha and Rajesh Beri, and directed by Omung Kumar — prioritizes Dalbir’s relationship with Sarbjit over all others. If my brother is ever wrongly imprisoned by a hostile foreign government and we finally get the chance to see him after eighteen years, I’m letting his wife walk through the door first.

So much emphasis is placed on Dalbir that other subplots aren’t fully explored. When they are addressed, it comes too late. About five minutes after I wrote a note wondering how Sarbjit’s younger daughter Poonam (Ankita Shrivastav) feels about spending her whole life protesting on behalf of a father she doesn’t know, Poonam has her one and only meltdown. It would’ve been nice for the sisters to have at least one conversation about how their father’s imprisonment has affected them.

The story focus is further problematic because Rai Bachchan isn’t the best actor in the cast. She conveys Dalbir’s pain, but too often she resorts to shouting to make her point, even when in front of a microphone. Piercing screams aren’t the only way to show anger.

Chadda’s restrained performance is more compelling. Her stoicism begs for more screen time, a window into how this woman perseveres with her beloved husband unjustly imprisoned, leaving her forced to raise two children on her own.

Hooda is terrific as Sarbjit. He loses a troubling amount of weight as the story progresses, but his most interesting trait is the way his speech changes. Dental hygiene isn’t high on his captor’s priority list, and you can almost judge the level of tooth decay by the way Sarbjit sounds.

The movie’s torture scenes are horrific, the conditions of Sarbjit’s imprisonment barbaric. Apart from the kindly jailer and a human rights lawyer (Darshan Kumar), most Pakistani characters are convinced of Sarbjit’s guilt and happy to see him suffer.

Some scenes need more explanation in order to help the narrative flow. Given the way Sarbjit’s fate is tied to world events, it would have been smoother to show the family learning about things like nuclear tests and terrorist attacks directly, rather than inserting stock news footage as Kumar does.

Though an imperfect movie, Sarbjit is an interesting cautionary tale about the hidden casualties of ongoing tension between India and Pakistan. The song “Meherbaan” is excellent. And Hooda and Chadda are so talented that they are impossible to overshadow completely.

[Update: In a recent interview, Richa Chadda revealed her disappointment that many of the scenes she filmed for Sarbjit were cut from the final version. That goes a long way to explaining why I found the story so unbalanced.]

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Bollywood Box Office: April 22-24

If you’re curious as to why movies featuring Randeep Hooda as the headlining star don’t release internationally, look no further than Laal Rang. From April 22-24, 2016, it earned just $5,874 from 31 North American theaters, a per-screen average of $189. Yuck. That’s the second worst opening weekend of the year after Loveshhuda ($1,399 from eight theaters), and that movie starred a couple of no-names. Randeep is my favorite actor, but apparently I’m one of the few people on the continent who will buy a ticket to watch him as the solo lead in a film. I was not surprised to have the entire theater to myself Friday morning.

The weekend was notable for another disappointing box office performance. In its second weekend, Fan earned $353,949 from 249 North American theaters ($1,421 average). That’s a drop of 74% from its opening weekend. Compare that to how this year’s other high-earners fared in their second weekends: Kapoor & Sons (-40%); Airlift (-41%); Neerja (-27%). Perhaps Fan‘s most comparable film among wide releases is Fitoor, which saw its second weekend biz drop by 87%.

Yash Raj Films should be worried, because among Hindi films that failed to retain at least 30% of their opening weekend gross in their second weekends, none have been able to double their opening weekend gross over the course of their theatrical run. (For Fan, that double figure would be $2,677,506.) That raises the distinct possibility that Fan may not be able to unseat Kapoor & Sons from atop this year’s North American leaderboard.

Of course, Fan has plenty going for it, including Shah Rukh Khan’s star power, a huge theatrical presence, and a favorable Bollywood calendar that won’t see another wide release until Housefull 3 on June 3. On the downside, waning interest tends to have a snowball effect. Fitoor earned $2,171 in its third weekend. With per-screen average earnings currently on par with Hollywood movies that have been out for a few weeks, there isn’t much incentive for theaters to keep Fan around, especially those theaters that rarely carry Hindi films. Even regular Bollywood theaters will be under pressure to free up screen space when Captain America: Civil War opens on May 6. Fan needs a really good second week and solid third weekend if it has any chance of beating Kapoor & Sons.

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:

  • Kapoor & Sons: Week 6; $13,352 from 12 theaters; $1,113 average; $2,647,874 total
  • Ki and Ka: Week 4; $8,074 from 12 theaters; $673 average; $914,993 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Movie Review: Laal Rang (2016)

LaalRang2 Stars (out of 4)

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Laal Rang (“The Color Red“) is a treat for Randeep Hooda fans, but it’s not an especially good movie.

Although Hooda is the biggest star in the cast, he doesn’t play the protagonist. That gives him the freedom to chew through scenery like a wood chipper, but at the expense of screentime given to another character who frankly sucks.

That character is Rajesh (Akshay Oberoi), a young guy from a modest background who’s studying to be a laboratory technician. In his lab tech program, he meets Poonam (cute Piaa Bajpai), a fellow student with whom he falls in love. It’s also where he meets Shankar (Hooda), an alluring criminal who sells blood.

International moviegoers may find the setup for Laal Rang confusing. Sophomore writer-director Syed Ahmad Afzal’s story assumes that the audience has a certain degree of familiarity with the Indian hospital system. (This knowledge prerequisite was also a problem in Afzal’s first movie, the political drama Youngistaan.) Without such background information, the very notion of an illegal blood trade sounds bizarre.

Based on what I’ve learned from other Hindi films, Indian public hospitals require the families of patients to source their own medications and supplies needed during the course of the patient’s hospital stay. This is opposed to the American system in which the hospital provides everything during the patient’s stay and bills the patient later.

The premise in Laal Rang is that men like Shankar exploit Indian’s chronically short supply of blood — another problem that is sadly not explained — by selling blood bags at exorbitant prices. Shankar’s blood is either stolen from other hospitals or donated by junkies looking to earn a few extra rupees. A lab tech degree would make Shankar’s black market enterprise even easier, hence his enrollment in a program with students at least a decade his junior.

Shankar is cut from the same cloth as Matthew McConaughey’s character Wooderson in Dazed and Confused. Not only are both characters much older than the people they hang around with, but they have the same sleazy charisma. Shankar is kind of gross, but his throaty laugh and magnificent hair make one overlook his less savory qualities. Watching Hooda ooze his way through his scenes is a lot of fun.

Rajesh takes one look at Shankar’s spinning belt buckle and cool motorcycle and decides he wants in on whatever action this dude is running. Soon enough, Rajesh is delivering blood bags on Shankar’s behalf and raking in the dough. Rajesh romances Poonam on the side in a boring subplot that forces Hooda offscreen.

Rajesh justifies his illegal activities by saying that he needs the cash so that he can marry Poonam, but he’s really just greedy and impatient. There’s no reason why he and Poonam can’t wait to marry until they graduate and find jobs. Then Rajesh spends his first big windfall on his own motorcycle and a wardrobe modeled after Shankar’s signature look: boots, jeans, and a flashy shirt.

A couple of characters tell Rajesh that he’s a good person, but there’s nothing to substantiate that. He turns to crime because he wants easy money. As soon as he’s out from under Shankar’s wing, Rajesh does something so heinous as to be unforgivable.

Yet Rajesh never pays for his crimes. His otherwise upstanding parents don’t want to know where his money comes from, and Poonam doesn’t care. Rajesh doesn’t really learn anything or develop a conscience, so what’s the point? Why is he the main character?

Perhaps making Hooda’s character the protagonist and giving him a growth arc would have cut down on his swagger. Who knows? Still, when the only reason to watch Laal Rang is for Hooda, why not just cut out the rest of the fluff and let us enjoy him?

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Movie Review: Main Aur Charles (2015)

MainAurCharles3 Stars (out of 4)

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Main Aur Charles (“Me and Charles“) — a fictionalized account of the life of serial killer Charles Sobhraj by writer-director Prawaal Raman — explores not just the life of a charismatic criminal but the human tendency to hear only what we want to hear.

The real Charles targeted Western tourists in countries across Southeast Asia during the 1970s, often killing them to steal their money and passports. Raman’s version briefly shows two of those murders in Thailand, but the majority of the story concerns Charles’ 1986 escape from a Delhi prison.

With the help of several co-conspirators — including his girlfriend Mira (Richa Chadha) and fellow inmate Richard (Alexx O’Nell) — Charles (Randeep Hooda) walks out of jail in broad daylight. He escapes despite having less than a year remaining on his sentence and a relatively cushy life behind bars: books, a chess set, liquor, and parties with foreign women, all the fruit of bribing the warden (Vipin Sharma).

The police chase Charles from Delhi to Mumbai to Goa, where he shacks up in a hippie commune. Even when he’s recaptured, Charles wears the same smug grin, as though the cops are doing exactly what he wants them to.

The “Main” from the title — Inspector Amod Kanth (Adil Hussain) — doesn’t become a major player in the story until after Charles is back in the clink. It’s Kanth’s job to figure out how Charles managed to escape and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Kanth also becomes fixated on how a smart woman like Mira could fall for a conman like Charles. Even if she refuses to believe Charles a murderer, it’s hard to ignore the parade of women he’s slept with, some since they’ve been together. As Mira puts it, “He can escape, but no one can escape him.”

Charles’ magnetism is undeniable, especially with Hooda maxing out his own considerable charms in his portrayal. The conman chooses his targets carefully, identifying women primed to fall for his focused amorous attention. He uses his worldly air to impress men, promising them friendship and protection in exchange for their assistance.

That air of worldliness — characterized by Charles’ tendency to switch between languages, all tinged with a French accent — rankles Kanth. Why do so many people fall for this guy? It especially burns him when his wife (Tisca Chopra) becomes overly interested in the case.

Hooda is an ideal choice to play such a seductive conman, and Chadha shines as his willing victim. I’d love to see their intense chemistry in other romantic dramas. Hussain is also very good as the frustrated detective.

One persistent problem in the movie is the way Raman uses his camera to depict women. There are too many closeups of specific body parts or shots of women’s bodies with their heads out of frame. Mandana Karimi’s character Liz is introduced via a closeup of her buttocks. Liz and other “headless women” aren’t just anonymous victims but Charles’ valued accomplices, so there’s no narrative justification for erasing their identities and reducing them to body parts.

Then again, one has to wonder how or if this movie would even have been made had Charles exclusively targeted Indian women. The unwritten rule in Bollywood is that the bodies of white women and women of mixed Indian heritage (like Karimi) can be objectified in ways that the bodies of Indian women can’t. The ethnicity of Charles’ victims enables Raman to present the story in a spicier way than would otherwise be possible, making his choice of camera angles feel like additional degradation.

Problems aside, Main Aur Charles is an engrossing film with solid performances and satisfying narrative payoffs. Watch it for Hooda and Chadha, for sure.

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Movie Review: Ungli (2014)

Ungli1.5 Stars (out of 4)

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Ungli feels like a movie where the creators decided to base a movie on a particular topic, but forgot they needed to actually tell a story in the process. There’s no flow to the plot, and it’s unclear who the main character is. Note to filmmakers: the audience won’t hear your message if they are asleep.

The Ungli Gang — with “ungli” translating as “the middle finger,” as far as I could tell — are an odd assortment of people dedicated to exposing corruption in Mumbai. The gang members are journalist Abhay (Randeep Hooda), doctor Maya (Kangana Ranaut), mechanic Kaleem (Angad Bedi), and computer engineer Goti (Neil Bhoopalam).

Their first caper is to kidnap a trio of crooked pension officers. They convince the men that the phony bombs strapped to their chests will explode unless they keep running around a track, like a boring version of the movie Speed. Police and media are called to the track, where the officer’s corruption is exposed.

The caper earns the gang the kind of widespread public acclaim that never happens in real life, with news reports showing people cheering, “We love Ungli Gang!” Writer-director Rensil D’Silva relies heavily on man-on-the-street news footage — one of my biggest movie pet peeves — to bulk up a thin story.

After a single successful prank, the Mumbai police commissioner freaks out and assigns an officer to hunt down The Ungli Gang. That officer is ACP Kale (Sanjay Dutt), a man with a reputation for… something or other. It’s never explained what.

Kale recruits his informally adopted son, Nikhil (Emraan Hashmi) — the classic Bollywood loafer with a heart of gold — to infiltrate the gang. This doesn’t happen until forty-five minutes or so into the film, at which point Hooda’s character loses his position as the ostensible main character to Nikhil.

In the span of twenty minutes, Nikhil joins the gang, learns their backstory — they want vengeance for their injured CrossFit instructor (seriously) — frolics in a montage about friendship, and betrays them to Kale. I’m not a criminal mastermind, but if someone begged to join my gang, then injured himself just minutes before participating in his first job, I’d be suspicious.

If Nikhil is the character who needs to evolve during the course of the film, why doesn’t he become a major player until the movie’s halfway over? How did this disparate group of vigilantes become experts in espionage? Why is their motivation for vigilantism kept a secret until the second half of the movie? Why isn’t their quest for justice the main goal of the story rather than Nikhil’s slow journey to discover that — shocker! — police officers are fallible?

Shoehorned into the disorganized story are two useless romantic subplots. Bumbling Abhay can’t get the attention of his pretty coworker, Teesta (Neha Dhupia), which makes sense only if she has never actually looked at him. Nikhil woos Maya simply because she’s the only woman in the gang.

Before that, Nikhil smooches another female character who’s never seen again. He tells her that he has a reputation for kissing, a preposterously direct reference to Hashmi’s willingness to lock lips onscreen. Just because Hashmi is willing to do it doesn’t mean that it makes sense in the context of the story. It’s the single laziest element in a film replete with shortcuts and ticked boxes on a checklist.

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New Trailers: August 15, 2014

The long-awaited trailer for director Farah Khan’s Happy New Year is out, and, dang, does that movie look like it was expensive to make. HNY stars three actors who I will watch no matter what movie they are in — Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, and Boman Irani — so I’m stoked. HNY is set to open on Diwali, which falls on October 23, 2014.

Also opening on October 23 is Rang Rasiya, a historical drama that played film festivals in 2008 but couldn’t secure a theatrical release until now. To say that Rang Rasiya will get crushed at the box office by Happy New Year is an understatement. Nevertheless, it features Randeep Hooda in various wigs and fake mustaches, so I’m looking forward to it.

Movie Review: Kick (2014)

Kick0 Stars (out of 4)

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Suspension of disbelief is one thing, but Kick asks its audience to forget everything they know about quality filmmaking for 146 minutes. Kick is boring, annoying, and offensively stupid.

Though no one associated with this turd comes off well, Kick is primarily a failure of storytelling. The moronic plot lacks any sense of organization. Explanations come out of left field. The characters — in particular Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s villainous rich guy, Faroz — operate without clear motivation. There’s nothing in this that makes a lick of sense.

Though Kick is a Salman Khan vehicle, the movie opens with Shaina (Jacqueline Fernandez) moping about in Warsaw, Poland. She shares a train ride with Himanshu (Randeep Hooda), a top cop visiting from India. Their families want the two of them to marry, but Shaina explains that she’s still mourning the end of her previous relationship.

The movie should’ve stopped at that point. When Randeep Hooda starts talking marriage — especially while looking cute in a sweater vest — the only answer is, “Yes.” Roll credits. Instead, we get forty-five minutes of flashbacks to Shaina’s romance with annoying lout Devi Lal (Khan).

It’s hard to believe that a woman intelligent enough to become a licensed psychiatrist would fall for a schmuck as irritating as Devi Lal, but Shaina does nonetheless. He dumps her after she suggests that — since he finds steady employment and conventional romance a kind of “hell” that interferes with his adrenaline addiction — they live with her dad after marriage. Devi Lal declares that he won’t be a live-in son-in-law and stalks off.

It takes nearly two hours before alleged genius cop Himanshu realizes that the master thief “Devil” he’s tracked to Warsaw is Shaina’s ex, Devi Lal, who’s managed to worm his way into Shaina’s care with a purported case of amnesia.

Things get increasingly stupid as politically connected healthcare tycoon Feroz is revealed to be Devil’s next target. Siddiqui plays Feroz as a cackling supervillain, but he doesn’t have a sinister agenda or plan for world domination. He’s just a rich guy who’s kind of a dick.

(Speaking of genitalia, did no one on the crew notice that Randeep’s nuts were practically busting out of his pants during Himanshu’s balcony drinking scene with Devi Lal?)

The explanation for Devi Lal’s transition from unemployed schmo to master thief hinges on writer-director Sajid Nadiadwala’s exploitation of disabled children to provoke audience sympathy. It’s tacky.

It also doesn’t hold up to scrutiny from a story perspective. No matter what Devil’s Robin Hood-like motivations are, he kills several Polish police officers who try to stop his destructive chase through downtown Warsaw (which may have actually been London, since Devil drives a red double-decker bus headed for King’s Cross).

But, this being a Salman Khan film, morality always tilts in Khan’s favor. No matter how many lives Devi Lal/Devil takes, he’s always the hero because his intentions were good. Like every Khan character, Devi Lal’s only flaw is that he doesn’t have a girlfriend when the movie begins.

There’s nothing good about this movie. The performances are terrible. Even the choreography sucks because it has to accommodate Khan’s stiffness.

Enough. We’ve seen this all before. Kick just takes the typical Khan movie to jaw-dropping new lows.

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