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Race 3: Racing in, racing out - going nowhere

Direction: Remo D’Souza Produced by: Salman Khan Films, TIPS Industries Cast: Anil Kapoor, Salman Khan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Bobby Deol, Daisy Shah, Saqib Saleem, Rajesh Sharma Cinematography: Ayananka Bose Music: Salim & Sulaiman Merchant Hindi / Action / 160 mins / India / 2018

Rating: 1 (only for the car show) / 5 Ek Chatur naar, Aiyo ghode teri ek chatur naar…

aiyo ghode teri

O aiyo ghode teri,

O aiyo chatur naar yeh ghodaa

yeh chatura

yeh ghodaa

yeh chatura …

Yeh kya ra ghodaa chatura, ghodaa chatura

ek pe rehna, ya ghoda bolna, ya chatura bolna GAO….

For those not tuned in, these are only some of the chaotic lyrics from the immortal Kishore Kumar-Manna Dey-Mehmood song Ek Chatur Naar set to music by R D Burman, for the 1968 classic Padosan. Believe you me, they describe exactly what’s happening in Race 3. And try as I might, I am unable to find another, more apt analogy.

I sincerely suspect even the director Remo D’Souza lost track of what the screenwriter Shiraz Ahmed was trying to say – there were so many twists in the so called family tale. Someone starts out being a hero, turns a villain, then another one who we (the unsuspecting audience) are led to believe maybe the bad guy is actually the hero and then things change again. In the meanwhile dad may or not be dad, mom may or not be mom, siblings aren’t who they are and cousins are family and foes rolled into one. The men think they are studs, women think they are smart and well – life is one big Race going nowhere - which only confuses things further! Trust me, it exactly boils down to Yeh kya ra ghodaa chatura, ghodaa chatura / ek pe rehna / ya ghoda bolna, ya chatura bolna...

And somewhere midway through the film (if you can call it that) after some of the twists in Race 3 have been and gone, I am beginning to feel a lot like the confused Sunil Dutt urf Bhole in the same song, who has no clue about singing, sur, taal or even the so called lyrics and ever so often ends ups writhing on the bed and singing gibberish led by the inimitable Kishore Kumar in a bid to defeat Mehmood in a singing competition. Believe me, the song makes far more sense and I laughed hard watching it yet again.

Race 3 on the other hand, just leaves me befuddled. I don’t know whose idea it was to bring in Salman Khan but it’s a very bad one. He is an average actor at the best of times and has little to show for his abilities except the beefy body. Race 3 proves that yet again. Anil Kapoor as Shamsher Singh plays dad to Salman (Sikander Singh), Daisy Shah (as Sanjana) and Suraj (Saqib Saleem somebody). Bobby Deol (as Yash) is supposedly Sikander’s bodyguard and confidante! Into the happy family walks in Jessica (Jacqueline Fernandez) who plays Sikander and Yash’s girlfriend simultaneously – till they amicably figure out who she wants to be with.

Add to that, with the franchise’s original directors Abbas-Mustan gone, Race 3 just doesn’t have that zing and pizzazz. There is a lot of noise - heightened and enhanced by Dolby Atmos but it is only lots of noise at the end of the day. D’Souza a fine choreographer otherwise, loses his moves as a director here. Then there is the strained dialogue by Kiran Kotrial (should be behind bars, this Ko-trial) and below average, labored acting from one and all which only serves to make matters worse. Speaking of language, ever so often the lead characters suddenly start speaking Allahabadi Hindi, which is completely out of sync with the overall look, feel and tenor of the film. Is that Sallu Bhai’s way of reaching out to his fans in the last mile villages of UP and Bihar? Ek thoh baat batao humka… kiya jarur hai matter confuse kare ka? Yes, it appears just as odd as this in the film too.

I can’t bring myself to tell you the story – it is wafer thin (read non-existent). You really will have to suffer it by yourself, if you must. All that registered in the end was cars, cars and more cars – of all hues. For those of you who missed the Auto Expo at Pragati Maidan, go watch Race 3. You will get glimpses over 15 models of brands like Rolls Royce, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Aston Martins – in 3D too. Cars are everywhere - standing or zipping around in godowns and airport hangers, parking lots, desert stretches, even stationed in odd places where meetings are being held in closed spaces and racing around aimlessly on long, winding roads and dusty deserts. They are being blown up into smithereens every minute or so! I think that is where most of Rs 102 crores budget went. D’Souza in an interview mentioned that he was in love with all these fancy, sports cars as a child and has ended up using and blowing up each one of them in the film! What a wasteful way to live your dream.

Salman Khan should stick to being a superstar - where not much is expected of him. He certainly shouldn't be trying his hand at being a lyricist! He is, to put it very politely, atrocious - having penned 'somethings' in Hinglish!! Adding insult to injury is Salim and Sulaiman Merchant's music which is deplorable. Together, they should be paying us for even lending it an ear. Forget listening.

Race 1 and Race 2, while not exceptional fare were definitely watchable at least once. Race 3, I am still wondering what hit me. Ye kya ra ghoda chatura, ghoda chatura… and therein lies a tale!

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