Salman Khan Movies have gained a weird status. People flock to them only to post on social media how bad the film is. The trailers inform you beforehand that what you will receive might be injurious to your health, and yet everybody submits to the torture. Why? To collectively bash it. You would have heard that ZEE5 servers crashed after Radhe was released on the platform. Now people will tell you how their heads crashed after watching the new Bhai Movie.
I was really not expecting anything from Radhe. But the one thing that shocked me was how little Salman cared for this project. He is not even trying. In earlier films, he used to show off his grandness, which is completely missing in Radhe. His performance can be described in just one word: nonchalant. His talking face, fighting face, romantic face, emotional face – they're all the same. When he shouts intermittently, it feels like he is trying to wake himself up from hibernation. But then he realises the worthlessness of this story and goes back to sleep. It's troubling because he is doing a disservice to his fans, who might have taken the subscription to watch their Bhai's larger-than-life, bigger-than-screen actions. It's possible that by now directors have recognised the sameness in Bhai's shirt-ripping scenes, and so Prabhu Deva puts a small spin on it. Instead of angrily tearing off the fabric in front of the villain, he meekly takes it off for a photo shoot. However, it's all done in a "ticking the box" manner, and it looks even less organic than the typical shirt-ripping scene.
Radhe could have been a fun B-movie, but Prabhu Deva has mixed ideas in his head. The hero-entry shot of Radhe breaking the glass, catching a piece of this glass with his mouth, and throwing it at a bodyguard, all executed like he is Flash, promises a "don't take me seriously" type of film. I would have been happy to see more such illogical stunts that know their purpose: being campy and ridiculous. But the director also wants to appeal to your heart, so he inserts a youth-infected-by-drug angle that is just downright shameless and vile in its attempt to exploit the emotions of the young people. The entire sequence in the Mumbai Rehabilitation Centre is iniquitous, insolent, and impudent in its milking of sentiments. The filmmakers should be ashamed of themselves.
Playing a love interest in a Salman Khan Movie means your role is shorter than your entire skimpy wardrobe. Disha Patani looks nice, dances well, and that is all she delivers here. Radhe never looks at her with a hint of romance. Instead, he gazes at her like a superstar who can take any actress to his farmhouse, that is, with no excitement. It's Randeep Hooda, then, who shows he cares for the role and fills Rana, a drug dealer, with an aura of darkly disturbing immorality. His eyes reflect no soul and his kills are mentally brutal. Khan and Hooda's characters don't just lie at opposite ends of the spectrum of good and evil, but they also stand at opposite ends of the spectrum of good and bad performances (you know who stands on which side). There is a nicely executed fight scene at a birthday party where the room is loaded with gas. It's so good that it sticks out like a sore thumb. Because what comes before and after this seems to belong in an entirely different universe, and that universe is not a pleasant place to live.
Radhe opens with a disclaimer that "No animals were harmed during the making of this film." Well, what about the harm it has done to the movies by existing? What about the harm it will do to your brain cells when you watch it? What about the harm it will do to Salman fans who will see that their idol is not even bothering himself to entertain his target audience? Who will rectify all these grievances?