Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai **
Dir: Prabhudeva. With: Salman Khan, Disha
Patani, Randeep Hooda, Jackie Shroff. 113 mins. Cert: 15
Circumstance means what was originally
scheduled as India’s big Eid blockbuster for May 2020 is opening a year later
in cinemas everywhere but India. (It launched on streaming platforms there this
past weekend.) In his guise as producer-megastar, musclebound Salman Khan has
dispatched his minions to hollow out the taut narrative chicanery of 2017’s
Korean thriller The Outlaws and reconfigure its carcass into the kind of
flattering vehicle only a powerful Bollywood leading man can command. Despite
some early, welcome flickers of the self-awareness that’s crept into Khan’s
projects over the past half-decade, the result is very much back-to-basic-business.
The more knowing nonsense really just serves to make the eventual slump into
third-rate pummelling more dispiriting yet.
Most of that nonsense, which does prompt
fitful back-row giggles, concerns Khan’s indomitable hero cop Radhe. “He has
his own methods of working,” insists one of the Mumbai Police chiefs recruiting
him to protect the city’s youth from straggle-haired druglord Randeep Hooda.
These include: never entering via the door when he can leap face-first through
glass windows, manifesting in multiple locations simultaneously so as to better
box his quarries’ ears, and – less amusing – casually torturing suspects. A
chance encounter with postergirl Diya (Disha Patani) encourages our man to try
male modelling; this love interest, naturally, turns out to be the sister of
Radhe’s ever more exasperated CO (Jackie Shroff). Don’t ask about the 35-year
age gap between these siblings; no-one behind the camera bothered.