Readers Write In #364: Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai is better than Race 3 and, that’s all I need this Eid

Posted on May 15, 2021


(by Aman Basha)

Amidst the hurricane of events completely out of the blue, with unexpected turns and twists seemingly designed to torture the mind (quite surprising how our collective state is so similar to the first day, first show audience of Race 3), it was quite the relief that on Eid, at least something was back to normal. Bhai had kept his commitment, releasing a film on Eid and after the critics pummeling, the main debate online among the fans was whether Radhe was the most watched movie on PPV or not? Ah, some things haven’t changed. For better or worse, is another online debate.

Confused? Don’t be, for I’m only following the template for this film, where anything and everything random happen for a long while and there are more random tangents yet to come. At least one ought to be thankful that this viewer is not as unmindful of time and space. People move randomly from place to place, from day to night and in such a hurried phase that one is often left confused how and why things are happening. The breakneck pace barely allows one to even register characters. For a film that tries to be a pure action film, such mistakes are a killer. And even the action set pieces are quite often laden with bad Vfx or far too unbelievable.


All said and done, this is one of Salman’s better films post Sultan, even after forgetting to mention the worst part of the film, that is the wretched romance track between Radhe and Diya, played by Disha Patani. A romance track so dull, so perfunctory, so devoid of meaning that the dialogue writer of Gully Boy could only come up with a “Diya, Nadiya” joke and this viewer only remembers the number of times Disha was wearing clothing covering her sleeves or her leg. Answer: 2. Disha Patani is supposed to play a ditzy model, and all I could see (amidst a lot that I did see.. of her) was the Calvin Klein ambassador alongside the ambassador of Dixcy Scott, in a shirtless scene with digitized abs that seemed straight out of a Calvin Klein-Dixcy Scott crossover commercial. 25 years after Bandhan, Salman still romances the Jackie Shroff character’s sister, only this actress was probably born when Badhan released.

My mind was constantly distracted looking at Radhe pretend to be a struggling model to woo his heroine, wondering where I’d seen this before. Oh yes, Ghajini! A south remake where the hero loses his hair, goes nuts after being bashed in the head and the heroine is dead. Which was another Hindi movie like this, with another iconic haircut? Tere Naam. Who was the hero there? Salman Khan. What was his character’s name? Radhe!! (I’m putting more thought in this than Prabhu Deva did, but then he got his paycheck, and I need to justify my choices).

Otherwise, this is a better film than some of Salman’s recent work, perhaps except Bharat, only here it’s more about Swachh Bharat and also has a Jai Hind. However, even the most mediocre film can, in comparison with two Salman Khan scripted films, seem like a Salim Khan scripted film. In fact, the similarities between this film and Akayla are quite fascinating. A lead actor who’s no longer able to pull off what he used to, said lead actor’s past co-star playing a much older senior as the lead is paired with an actress with whom he looks too old, the hero not being the all powerful savior he once was, quite brutal and violent fights, psychotic villains, almost the same climax. In fact, the potential in this film (ripped off from a terrific South Korean thriller) is quite frankly greater than the potential that was in Akayla, yet it is just as wasted.

The comparison with Akayla ends with the villain, as Randeep Hooda nearly steals whatever is of the show with his braids, moonwalk and style. After Nawazuddin in Kick and the late great Irrfan in Jazbaa, one is left to wonder how our arthouse actors in today’s masala seem more a throwback to the golden days of yore than stars in the mainstream. The songs are thankfully acceptable, but Prabhu Deva ought to take a break from torturing actresses with bizarre and painful steps in the name of choreographing item songs.

That leaves us with the star of whatever solar system Radhe is set in, Salman. Although delayed from a Eid 2020 release, one cannot help but feel looking at scenes shot in empty Mumbai streets, with Being Human cycles and in front of Galaxy Apartments, that Bhai simply got bored of staying in the farmhouse and called up everyone on his phone, from Bigg Boss contestants to old friends, and quickly shot his movie during the lockdown (The music is by Sajid-Wajid and Himesh, while sung mostly by Kamaal Khan and Iulia Vantur. Go figure). This kunwara-bada dilwala is too bulky and no longer sprightly enough to pull off a Chulbul Pandey as he once did. Does it matter though, as the film already breaks through the 100 crore barrier? At a scene where he parks a car next to an empty footpath, I could only envy the luck, following, devotion and goodwill the man enjoys. In a year where the world seems to have turned upside down, some things haven’t changed, and I feel thankful. And all I could say in return was, Eid Mubarak Bhai!!