Starring Salman Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez. Rated PG. In Hindi with English subtitles. Now playing
Salman Khan has long staked his claim on the Eid weekend box office. This year brings another film in which he, yet again, plays a variation on the character we have come to conflate with the man himself—the good-hearted hero who fights for the underdog with his brawn and his simple philosophies of social uplift. The narrative of this film is far more predictable than the sighting of the Eid moon.
In Poland, Shaina (Jacqueline Fernandez) is an ex-pat psychiatrist who is pining away for her ex-boyfriend whom she left in India. He is Devi (Salman Khan) an adrenaline junkie who preferred the perpetual pursuit of a “kick” to holding down a job. Inexplicably, it is he who dumps her.
We hear about their love story in a flashback as Shaina opens up to Himanshu (Randeep Hooda). He is an Indian police officer who’s in Warsaw to chase down an expert thief who calls himself “Devil”. I wonder who that could be?
We soon meet the real villain of the film, Shiv Gazra (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), a corrupt politician and pseudo-philanthropist. As the film progresses the motives of Khan’s character and the intended message of the film are revealed, interspersed with the fight scenes, stunts, car chases (including one in which the thief outpaces the police on a bicycle while they chase him on motorbikes) and large choreographed dance numbers in which all the back-up dancers are far more agile than the overly muscle-bound Khan.
In a particularly insightful line of dialogue Khan says, “I don’t enter your mind, I enter your heart.” Indeed. This is true of the whole film and possibly Khan’s entire oeuvre. It is what it is. And legions will love it not despite its formulaic limitations, but because of them.