Director: Shaad Ali
Cast: Govinda, Ranveer Singh, Ali Zafar, Parineeti Chopra
Honestly, I was a little wary of Kill Dil. After all, Bollywood has been ripping off the Tarantino oeuvre since Sanjay Gupta reworked Reservoir Dogs as Kaante. The dark, sly humor, the gleeful violence, the posturing in slow motion – it’s all been done, and not very well.
But I’m happy to report that despite the title, Kill Dil is more than another wannabe homage to the master. Shaad Ali’s film is its own thing – basically a pulpy, retro-cool, Bollywood Western set in Delhi, with dollops of romance, comedy, and the one and only Govinda.
The story is a cliché: a criminal falls in love and tries to go straight. But Shaad and his writers – Nitesh Tiwari, Shreyas Jain and Nikhil Mehrotra – tell it with freshness and vigour. Ranveer Singh and Ali Zafar are Dev and Tutu, self-described ‘haramis’ who were found in a garbage heap by the ruthless don Bhaiyaji, played by Govinda. These ‘andhere ki najayaz aulad’ are raised by Bhaiyaji to be deadly assassins. Armed with cool dialogue and spiffy leather jackets, these are of course the most charming killers on the planet.
Life is good until Dev falls in love with Disha, played by Parineeti Chopra. Disha comes from the other side of the tracks; she drives a red convertible and lives in a mansion. But in a Yash Raj film, class has rarely been an impediment in love. She rehabilitates criminals for a living. He is a fifth-grade drop out. When she sends a text message saying LOL, he doesn’t get it. But they become soul mates anyway.
Their love story, which includes a bizarrely affluent fantasy song sequence, is the least interesting part of the film. Parineeti is also saddled with the most under-written part and some rather unfortunate styling. But the men are having a ball. Freed from the burden of being the romantic lead, Ali gives solid support to Ranveer, who is effortlessly likeable. His Dev has been murdering people since he was 18 and yet has a genuine sweetness and vulnerability.
And then, of course, there’s Govinda, in his first all-out negative role. He’s fabulous.
Kil Dil doesn’t have weight or enduring value. But while it lasts, Shaad makes sure you’re having a good time. The film deflates considerably in the second half but the masaledaar dialogue kept me going. When a man points a gun at Bhaiyaji, he looks unfazed and says: “Maarna hai toh maaro. Ghoor ke mera time waste mat karo.”
Now that’s a killer I can get behind.