Okay, let's get one thing straight: Salman Khan's movies are critic-proof. The naysayers or those baying for his blood may frown on the slipups and blemishes in his movies, point out gaping plot holes, accuse him of opting for remakes rather than original concepts, slam him for using his superstardom for masala entertainers... but you cannot overlook the fact that when Salman saunters on screen, he sets it ablaze with his charm and magnetism.
The star-performer carries the weight of the entire film comfortably on his broad shoulders. Everything he does on screen is emulated by his fans pronto: styling, hair style, killer dialogue, dance steps et al. Referred to as 'Bhai' by those close to him, he is now the 'Bhai' or the iconic on-screen characters he has portrayed over the years -- Prem, Radhe, Chulbul Pandey, Lovely Singh, Tiger -- for zillions of fans across the globe.
Salman, the star machine, is the Pied Piper of Hindi cinema. He *doesn't* promise path-breaking or art house cinema. The focus is on those three magical words: Entertainment, entertainment and entertainment. And that's what matters to a wide majority of movie-going audience.
Sure, the charismatic star's newest outing KICK is a remake of the super-successful Telugu film KICK [2009; directed by Surender Reddy and starring Ravi Teja, Ileana D'Cruz and Shaam]. But there's a world of a difference between KICK, directed by Sajid Nadiadwala, and Salman's last few entertainers. This one's more stylized, has opulence and gloss reeking in every frame and is very international in terms of execution.
However, the prime question remains the same: Is KICK Blockbuster material? Yes, of course!
The premise of KICK, first! On a train journey in Warsaw, a pretty psychiatrist, Shaina [Jacqueline Fernandez], meets Himanshu [Randeep Hooda], a police officer from India, for an arranged match. They share their pasts with each other.
Shaina shares the story of her ex-boyfriend Devi Lal Singh [Salman Khan], a guy who lived only for 'Kick'. She talks about his madness and their whirlwind romance, until one day he breaks up with her for a new kick and walks away, never to return. Himanshu tells her about his glorious escapades and that he has finally met his match -- an intelligent thief.
What they don't know is that their stories have one thing in common -- Devil. He returns back into their lives under a new guise of having lost his memory. Behind it all is a deeper mystery and an uncompromising missionâ€¦
KICK marks Sajid Nadiadwala's rendezvous with direction and though the debutant director may have looked Southwards to choose the story, when it comes to executing the written material, the inspiration is clearly the West: the larger-than-life Hollywood fares. Having produced over a dozen movies till date, Sajid has abundant experience and expertise and knows precisely how to use the familiar tropes to his advantage.
Sajid conjures up a world that combines visual brilliance with several knockout episodes. Like Salman, Sajid too has a one-point agenda: Entertainment. No wonder, Sajid and his team of writers ensure that they need to offer more to the astute viewer than what has been witnessed thus far, since the promos have raised the bar and multiplied their expectations. That explains why the cat and mouse game [played between Randeep and Salman] doesn't follow the tried and tested rules, while the conflict between the Samaritan and the antagonist [Salman and Nawazuddin Siddiqui] steers clear of the conventional configuration. As a matter of fact, the frantic twists and turns in the storyline are proof that Sajid and his writing team are keen to offer the audience that extra dose of entertainment which would make KICK a kickass entertainer.
KICK has the magnificence [in terms of production values] that was lacking in Salman's previous movies. This is a big ticket movie and Sajid, who has produced larger-than-life extravaganzas in the past, makes sure every frame appears luminous, tasteful and eye-catching. Be it the spectacular locales of Warsaw or the classy sets, the DoP [Ayananka Bose] acts as an aide and encapsulates the plush, up market look with competence. The spectator also gets an international feel during the high-octane stunts, action and chases, which garnish the goings-on magnificently. The train stunt is already the talk of town. Also, the chase in Warsaw, with Salman driving a bus, makes you gasp in disbelief.
I'd like to make a special mention of Rajat Aroraa's dialogue. The wordsmith gives the film several clapworthy lines, which are sure to become legendary. The best line is, of course, 'Mere baare mein itna mat sochna, dil mein aata hoon, samajh mein nahin', which comes at a crucial point in the story. The lines delivered by Nawazuddin are super too and the sequence with Salman towards the climax will be greeted with whistles and claps. Take a bow, Rajat!
Any hiccups? Yes, of course! The first half could've been tighter. A few sequences have been stretched at times [Salman and Mithun in the bar]. The songs deserved better situations. The romantic track, in the second hour specifically, could've been more persuasive.
The soundtrack remains true to the genre of the film and the popularity of 'Jumme Ki Raat' and 'Yaar Na Miley', which appears twice in the film, enhances the overall impact.
To state that Salman is the soul of KICK wouldn't be an exaggeration. He's committed, charming and competent, so much so that it's difficult to take your eyes off him. Post DABANGG, those who felt that the actor's movies lacked a cohesive script to match his superstardom, are sure to feel satiated with KICK, since the film has it all and does utmost justice to Salman's aura. In fact, the film gives him the platform to exhibit his range as an actor/star and his real-life role of a good Samaritan/humanitarian further. Rest assured, the fans and the fanatics -- even those who aren't -- are in for a treat!
Randeep Hooda is supremely efficient, delivering a performance that stays with you. And this is a huge compliment, since the film is a Salman show from commencement to conclusion. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is a powerhouse of talent and KICK gives him the opportunity to cross over to the commercial league. Nawazuddin is simply outstanding, essaying his part with gusto [don't miss his typical laugh, it will definitely catch on big time]. In fact, it won't be erroneous to state that along with Salman, Nawazuddin will walk away with plaudits after KICK.
Jacqueline Fernandez does very well, although her diction needs to be worked upon. She looks great and her dance in 'Jumme Ki Raat' is sure to stun you. Mithun Chakraborty is in top form yet again. The sequence with Salman towards the concluding moments stay with you.
The supporting cast -- Saurabh Shukla [good], Sanjay Mishra [awesome], Vipin Sharma [super], Archana Puransingh [alright], Kavin Dave [first-rate], Sumona Chakravarti [perfect] -- each of them contribute well to the proceedings.
On the whole, KICK is a paisa vasool, seeti-maar entertainer. Get ready for a Tsunami called KICK at the ticket window. It is sure to rewrite box-office records. Salman fans, rejoice. KICK is a sure-shot B-L-O-C-K-B-U-S-T-E-R. To quote a dialogue from the film: 'Woh apni Eidi lene zaroor aayega'.