Welcome what will probably be Salman Khan’s all-time highest (Eid or otherwise) blockbuster. The slick look will attract even overseas viewers who are not normally as charmed by “Bhai” as by some others. The promo resemblance to hi-tech films like “Krrish 3” and “Dhoom:3” will add to the youth eyeballs, and the hit music (two songs by Himesh and two gimmicks by the guest composers, I always say!) will do the sizable rest.

Why should we review this film at all? Rajnikanth and Salman Khan are India’s only stars whose presence in a film means everything — the rest is unimportant, and things like a water-tight screenplay (last seen in Salman’s “Wanted”), logic and other cinematic requisites are strictly optional — or to use a more apt term — strictly dispensable!

No one watching the film will be in the mood to ask what an Indian psychiatrist was doing in Poland, where another Indian is a neurosurgeon. No one will talk about how a doctor killed by the villain could give Salman a fake set of medical reports to get the right attention abroad. Why did the villains also choose Poland for whatever they wanted to do, so that Salman’s character of a thief would go to the very place and reconnect with his lost love. And much, much more ... does it all matter? You guessed it — NO!!!

The idea is to have a blast: an exotic Salman-spiced bhelpuri of entertainment, bigger, more exotic than all the films since he turned into THE Salman, and with a sweet social core to bring in the emotional connection, alongside a doting father (Mithun Chakraborty). Caught in this rollercoaster, after the loose and very clumsy 20-odd minutes in the beginning, who will bother to think about nitpicking?

As we watch buses falling into the sea (or is it river?), a copter exploding and cars being tossed like roomali rotis by a master-chef, we just sit back and enjoy the cool (and hot) stuff, like the real time shot of Salman sauntering in front of an approaching train. Salman seems hell-bent on erasing the sordid memory of “Jai Ho.” For since “Jai Ho,” his fans been craving so intensely for a classic Salman-athon as redemption!

The plus-es are very strong — the superb production values, Digital Intermediate and VFX and the Himesh Reshammiya songs (though the best one opens the credit titles) besides Sajid Nadiadwala’s smash-successful debut. The highlight is of course Anal Arasu’s and Stefan Richter’s mesmerizing action, and the way it is lensed by Ayananka Bose. The sharp editing by “Dhoom” fame Rameshwar S. Bhagat is another ace, as is the production design and art direction (Rajnish Hedao     and Lukasz Trzcinski respectively), though Julius Packiam’s background score is bland and repetitious.

From the actors, Salman Khan is … well, Salman Khan, this time in a really positive sense of the term. Randeep is competent, and Nawazuddin, unfettered by his customary real characters, has an orgy of fun, complete with his manic laughter. The rest are all right.

But the scene-stealer is Jacqueline, hot, happening and histrionically way above all past performances. She looks like a dream, her eyes are super-expressive, her dancing ethereal and her acting intense and evocative — she graduates from also-ran to a frontline status with this film, gaining it an extra half-star.

And yes, this time the rating is strictly for how well this film meets expectations about what it aims to be: a respite from daily drudgery with Salman Khan to get a high, a kick!

300 crore in India — and more worldwide — here we come!

Rating: ****

UTV Motion Pictures & Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment present

“Kick”: Thrill-Packed Blockbuster Has a Sweet Side

Produced by: SIDDHARTH ROY KAPUR & SAJID NADIADWALA

Directed by: SAJID NADIADWALA

Written by: VAKATTHAM VAMSI, SAJID NADIADWALA, CHETAN BHAGAT, KEITH GOMES & RAJAT ARORAA

Music: HIMESH RESHAMMIYA with guest composers YO YO HONEY SINGH & MEET BROS. ANJJAN

Starring: SALMAN KHAN, JACQUELINE FERNANDEZ, RANDEEP HOODA, NAWAZUDDIN SIDDIQUI. MITHUN CHAKRABORTY, SAURABH SHUKLA, VIPIN SHARMA, ARCHANA PURAN SINGH, SUMONA CHAKRAVORTI, SANJAY MISHRA, RIYA VIJ & others. Sp. app: NARGIS FAKHRI

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