Kick: Desire it? Deserve it

A still from the movie Kick  

“M ain dil main aata hoon, samajh main nahin,” goes the sparkling quip (we can bet Rajat Arora wrote that line) that explains not just the character or the film but the entire Bhai phenomenon… Since no translation can do that line justice, suffice to say Bhai is not someone the mind will accept but someone the heart will embrace.

Producer-turned-director Sajid Nadiadwala’s debut Kick is a deep post-post-modern metaphorical manifestation of the dichotomous paradoxes of modern-day business models that have shaped and defined the state-of-the-art, mind and pop culture. This parable of our ever-changing morality is a study of iconography that debunks and deconstructs every myth associated with heroes and villains.

Does a hero remain a hero if he has a woman’s name? A goddess’s name, at that. Does he become evil if he changes his name to the devil’s? Does the villain become a hero if his company is called Angel?


Genre: Action/ Romance

Director: Sajid Nadiadwala

Cast: Salman Khan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Randeep Hooda, Mithun Chakraborty, Archana Puran Singh

Storyline: A guy who does things just for kicks decides to become a Dhoom villain

Bottomline: Bhaisexuals can watch it for kicks, the rest of us are going to come out feeling the pain

Now, consider that Salman Khan is Devi, the anti-protagonist who the psychiatrist heroine finds impossible to understand. He is the epitome of badassery. He readily goes to jail (everyone in the lock-up is, of course, a huge Bhai fan — he’s a role model). He gets hammered with his dad, the baap of B-movies (Mithun, of course) so much so that the girl needs to carry both home and the mother needs to shake him awake with the smell of alcohol. He relentlessly stalks the girl and, after being told off, goes on to lecture onlookers of an harassment in progress for not fighting eve-teasers (these delicious moments where irony kicks you in the face are what makes Kick a gobsmack of a film… nay, festival). And to help the poor, the anti-protagonist becomes Devil, the anti-antagonist.

Kick is a single independent filmmaker’s visionary attempt to infiltrate and subvert the system that requires the amoral star’s persona to draw in the masses and to smuggle art in the guise of entertainment, a means to provide big fat pay cheques to everyone from skinny foreign import starlets Jacqueline Fernandez and Nargis Fakhri to versatile homegrown arthouse actors Sanjay Mishra and Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

It’s a critic’s delight to note and applaud the cheeky roles assigned to these terrific actors. If Sanjay Mishra plays an unkempt policeman, a watchdog of the system (pop culture police, get it?) Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who has struggled to keep his family afloat for nearly two decades in showbiz, plays one of the richest men in the world and the hammy villain of the piece. If you want to be rich, you need to do this necessary evil.

It’s certainly not the kind of space where an actor of his calibre can breathe. Hence, the director gives the character an asthmatic laugh (it is a built-in joke that laughs at the system from within, a point further substantiated when the villain listens to the hero’s ridiculous motivations to turn into a thief and gives up on his punch-line halfway and asks his men to just kill him). And before you know it, everyone in the hall is applauding Nawaz and not Salman.

So while the paradox is of the highest paid star playing a thief called Devil robbing the arthouse actor who runs the Angel group, the critics are represented by Randeep Hooda (sly smiling throughout), who wants to kill the star during a robbing spree (in other words, box-office hit spree).

Yes, it is a very loyal remake of the equally mind-numbing Telugu flick of the same name. Anyone could have remade it by hiring the best technicians in the business, but full credit to the producer Sajid Nadiadwala for assembling this cast and crew (Even Chetan Bhagat got paid) to tell us the story of Indian mainstream cinema on this scale.

Kick is thus at once esoterically emblematic of our times and succinctly sensible cinema that will enthral your… Hahahaha! Gotcha! You almost bought it, didn’t you?

The film’s downright stupid, a guilty pleasure at best — that once again has Salman do his thing that you’ve seen before. No matter what the reviews say, you’re going to go watch it.

So why all the analysis? They pretended to make a film. This critic pretended to review it. For kicks.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 1:36:09 AM |

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