• Platform: Zee5
  • Release Date: 13/05/2021
  • Cast: Salman Khan, Disha Patani, Jackie Shroff, Randeep Hooda
  • Director: Prabhudeva

Rating: 1/5 (1 out of 5 Stars)

This is less of a review of Radhe and more of a statutory warning for all those who are dumb enough to jump into this cesspool that I wouldn’t even want to refer to as a feature film. I know, this warning would mean nothing to the Salman Khan fans who will definitely watch this film and lose a good portion of their already deficient cerebral grey cells. This review is aimed at those few who are in two minds about whether or not to watch this film after the ominous warning that was its trailer.

Radhe, a sorry excuse of a story that makes a mockery of itself:

Radhe (Salman Khan) is a cop who has super speed like the Flash (DC comics Universe character) as is depicted in his introductory sequence. This superpower is never referenced again in the film. He shoots down a businessman for raping a girl and also kills all the people in his building who so much as try to get in the way. What happened to the concept of court and the standard operating procedure of a cop? I could somewhat accept this owing to the message of non-tolerance to women abuse but this opening sequence actually tells the audience that — “Don’t take this film seriously”

He is quickly brought out of suspension by the top cops of the city to take care of the drug lord, Rana (Randeep Hooda) who is putting smack in the hands of school kids and forcing them to commit suicide. Isn’t it counterproductive to your business if you kill off all your customers?

During this time Radhe also meets, Diya (Disha Patani), the sister of his superior, Avinash (Jackie Shroff), and a model. He tells her that he is an aspiring model and she believes him. She then goes on to name him Bhole and also calls him a sweet boy on numerous occasions. Really?

The rest of the film is about Radhe going after Rana and running into Diya again and again until he gets to say “I love you” to Diya and kill off Rana in a manner similar to how Akshay Kumar packed of Undertaker in Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi.

Radhe: Complete absence of logic, reason, and realism

For a film like this to work, one has to ensure that the audiences are hooked to the story and the characters and they understand the stakes of the characters involved in the narrative. This is a film about a cop gunning for a drug lord who is contributing to the death of kids. The last thing a film like this needed was its own characters not being serious about their actions and the stakes involved. There isn’t a single scene in the film that would make you stand up and take notice of what was unfolding. The plot never gets serious. We never care for any of the characters or for their predicament that if dealt with realism and grit should have been horrifying.

The film makes a mockery of itself and its characters and that is one of its worst aspects. The Hero is in fact a superhero and is never threatened. The villain is a moron who walks about in deserted lanes and talks rubbish for no rhyme or reason. His actions are comical and the kind of things that he is shown doing begs the question – why? how?

Radhe: trocious performances from the ensemble cast

Even the most ardent Salman Khan fan will find it difficult to defend his lackluster performance this time around. He doesn’t so much act as he mouths his lines from the script. He maintains the same facial expression throughout his performance and carries an irritating, annoying and arrogant attitude throughout the essay that screams — “I know you will watch this garbage and cheer even if I stand in front of the screen with my hands in my pockets for two hours”. His sequences with Disha Patani violently oscillate between offensive and oxymoronic. The bits that are designed to be romantic or cute end up being cringe-worthy. To cut a long story short, it would be apt to call out Salman Khan for taking his ardent fans for granted and serving them films and performances that one day will lead to his viewership losing faith in his persona and star power.

Disha Patani is stuck playing a girlfriend and a sister to two men who are as old as her father. She looks uncomfortable throughout her essay. Her dance moves are slowed down to match up the elderly paces of Salman. She knows that she is unable to work up any chemistry whatsoever with Salman and that acceptance shows in her essay. It also doesn’t help that her character is written to be nothing more than a filler and has absolutely no bearing on the narrative. It is roles like this that can destroy a career.

I fail to understand what makes a stupendous and method actor like Randeep Hooda do these roles that belittle his potential and respect as an actor. Here too he is nothing more than a punching bag for Salman Khan’s Radhe and he seems to have submitted to his hopeless predicament. He mouths his lines with the most inane attitude and literally sleepwalks through his role. He also seems to be aware of the futility to act any sense into the character as it is written with such a vituperative air to it that it is doomed to fail. Hence he doesn’t even try. He just takes the money, makes bhai happy, and skids off to a CGI death.

In a film where everything else fails, even technicalities go for a toss:

I was surprised to note how cheap and flimsy Radhe appeared to be. It felt as if the entire film was shot on Salman Khan’s Panvel farmhouse and whatever little they couldn’t shoot there, they substituted with green screen footage. The color palate looked atrocious and the way the film is shot gives a notion of everything being a setup with absolutely no organic or physical feel to either the action or exchanges between the characters.

The editing is equally lackluster. The action sequences suffer from the fact that Salman Khan cannot do his own stunts. We know that two different people are doing the action sequences by the difference in the speed Salman and his body double in the same action sequence. The editor tries to cover up the body double using fast cuts and hyper editing but it only makes the action look ugly and sometimes utterly incomprehensible.

The visual effects cut a sorry picture. The climactic battle and the way Salman walks into a flying helicopter is as laughable as it is ugly. Apart from that, not a single song and dance routine makes any impact. It was the least that the film could do.

Radhe review, final thoughts:

The only thing good about Radhe is its short runtime of 1 hour 49 minutes. This is the kind of film that can give a person brain damage in these already torrid times. If you want to save yourself from this atrocious torture that not even the most ardent Salman Khan fan deserves, you should steer clear of this film. Instead, go and watch Tanmay Bhatt’s commentary on Pakistani Uber drivers and their exchanges with their customers on YouTube. It will be a much better investment of your time.

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