By Shreehari H
The characters in Race 3 have an implicit code of conduct: they refer to each other only as “bro”. At one point in this insufferably moronic film—one that makes about as much sense as Virat Kohli does when lip-syncing in Telugu in a Manyavar commercial—Sanjana (played by Daisy Shah) tells her twin brother, “Bro, ise dil nahi, Dell kholke dikhao.” This is a woman whose passion is extreme sports, is highly trained in three forms of martial arts and is “bold, smart and very ambitious” (her stilettos have more personality than her, as it turns out), and the twin brother in question is Suraj (played by Saqib Saleem), a reckless man who believes in acting first and thinking later. He likes fast cars and even racier chicks. “Girlfriend ke saath ex-boyfriend jo mila hai—package deal bro!” is just one of the many Hallmark homilies that he utters over the course of this remarkably braindead story about arms dealers where millions of dollars (Ramesh Taurani’s, by the looks of it) are apparently at stake.
The first time we see Salman Khan in the film, he plays a pterodactyl. There is a dizzying aerial shot of him surveying the skyscrapers of Al-Shifa from a vantage point on a helipad, helmet in hand, which immediately segues into a closeup of his eyes. His eyes are ostensibly designed to make audiences hoot with each blink of that ever-so-recognisable iris. What follows next is so ridiculous that I will not spoil it for you here, but suffice it to say that an airborne superstar puts many a winged dinosaur to shame.
Anil Kapoor puts the sher in Shamsher Singh—this is, after all, a lethal double-crosser who hunts his enemies “the way a tiger hunts his prey”. “And now I’m getting angry, very angry,” he mumbles from behind those sunglasses of his, and a melee ensues in which bullets fly thick and fast (causing two henchmen to catch fire, in the process).
You should also know that, unlike Remo D’Souza (the director), Shamsher’s never misses the mark.
As that wonderful Black Mirror episode by Charlie Brooker showed us, sometimes it is better to just shut up and dance. And I recommend that if you want to relate to anything in this movie, you do just that to its peppy numbers.
The cast is strictly cringeworthy, and the dialogues even more trite. “It’s a done deal. Signed, sealed and delivered with a kiss,” Bobby Deol tells us about the lady love in his life. On the other hand, Khan’s own love-story-gone-awry tale is precluded with Saleem saying “background music ki bhi bahut zaroori hai na.” “Toh ab tum mujhpe line maaroge? Officially?” Jacqueline Fernandez asks of her would-be paramour. “You’re such a jerk!” she later berates him, to which he replies, ever so subtly, “You’re right. I was a jerk.”
For the most part, this half-baked romance feels like an uncle romancing his niece. There is a song set in a snowy mountain range where Khan serenades his beloved, clad in a banyan of all things (one can only presume he’s taking his brand ambassadorship responsibilities for Dixcy Scott a little too seriously), and the lyrics go something like this: “Nobody knows what the future hold (sic) for us, let’s give it our best, oh jaana jaana jaana, oh baby!” Clearly, pronouncing bullshit as bulsit is what passes off for authenticity in D’Souza’s world.
“It’s sad, very sad. Bewakoofi ka koi ilaaj hi nahi hai,” Khan bemoans Kapoor in a supposedly pivotal scene towards the end of this film where Benadryl doubles up as Scotch whiskey. That is a rather ironic thing to say, coming from a man who pauses to deliver a sermon – this after having ripped his shirt of course—in the midst of a climactic fight scene so as to set his opponent’s priorities right.
There’s even a doubt-clearing session—a Koffee With Morons, if you will—where, after having helpfully elaborated on the contrived mechanics of the plot, D’souza goes to the extent of informing his own cast that a sequel is in the offing. Both Shah and the American hip-hop band Salt-n-Pepa may concur on the fact that it is none of my business. Nevertheless, I shall stick my neck out and offer a suggestion: how about naming it Fast and Spurious?
Shreehari H is a lover of films and an even greater lover of writing.