Race 3: Iss Bewakoofi Ka Koi Ilaaj Nahin Hai

Bollywood

Race 3: Iss Bewakoofi Ka Koi Ilaaj Nahin Hai

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

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n one of the multiple climaxes of Race 2 — widely hailed as Abbas Mastan’s trashiest creation yet — Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone conspire to gift a royal middle finger to science. In the scene, they escape a burning plane that is mid-air in a flamboyant sports car. The plane explodes seconds after they zoom their way out, and crashes. Our gravity-defying leads on the other hand, sail mid-air for a while, before four parachutes pop out of their car’s four sides to help them find their way to the ground.

This scene’s casual dismissal of aerodynamics neatly summarises the ironic cult appeal of the Race franchise. It’s so illogical and trashy, but also so sleek, that you hate yourself for enjoying it. In fact, over the last 10 years, Bollywood has hardly come close to producing a guilty pleasure as consistently satisfying and incessantly dramatic as the Race franchise. Irrespective of how much torture it caused to the very concept of filmmaking, one thing was for sure: It guaranteed endless fun, and astounding twists and turns. The third installment of the franchise, Remo D’Souza’s Race 3 (or as a wise person aptly put it, “Salman Rojgar Yojana”), mercilessly undoes this in one second.  

Instead of an airplane-sports car foreplay, we get Batman Bhai. One of the biggest draws of this unpardonable film is that the director of A Flying Jatt tries making Salman Khan fly. Khan distrusts public transport so much (for obvious reasons) that in one of the film’s multiple climaxes, its leads, Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez, comfortably fly over the blue waters of Cambodia after leaping off a cliff, as if it’s their morning cardio. It’s another thing that Khan looks like an overripe pumpkin while doing so. He also doesn’t dance in Race 3  —  he writhes in pain.

Naturally, the makers of Race 3 exploit some fascinating techniques to ensure they don’t have to worry about the plot: They make Salman shoot people as if they’re blackbucks. They make Saqib address everyone as “Bro” (yes, even the air). They have Daisy slit her bodycon dress to ensure mobility amid a violent action scene. They make Jacqueline a government agent (This joke writes itself). They milk the film’s autotuned soundtrack which is a surgical strike on sensible lyrics (Even though the music is composed by eight people and at least nine are credited for lyrics. A sample: “Ik baar baby selfish hoke apne liye jeeyo na”) after every five minutes. They also get Bobby to take his shirt off (Though this kinda works).

The Race franchise is so illogical and trashy, but also so sleek, that you hate yourself for enjoying it. Except Salman Khan’s Race 3 undoes all of that.

Race 3 swaps Nawab Khan for Blackbuck Khan and makes the grave mistake of thinking it is a film.  It’s not. It’s a collection of cringe-inducing and needlessly stretched music videos. As a result, the leads of the film don’t act; they dutifully execute their duties as talking bots. Anil Kapoor exists in the film to prove that he can do an inappropriate Ravi Kishan better than Ravi Kishan. Bobby Deol is introduced as “loyal and lovable but extremely lethal”, which is how one should describe a mad cow, not a person. Jacqueline is the film’s token misogyny baiter, which she promptly laughs off as emotional foreplay. Daisy Shah’s introduction scene comes with an apt disclaimer, “Iska passion hai extreme sports”, which evidently include acting in a film without knowing how to act. And, Saqib Saleem overacts like someone who has been disowned even by the Lokhandwala Strugglers Association.

Salman Khan (with the most inexpressive face even among this cast) is however the only one who uses Race 3’s 160 minutes wisely. The movie proves one all-important point to the Indian courts: Bhai is indestructible. And to be fair, Race 3 does succeed in emphasising on noble Bhai’s immortality. Khan survives umpteen attempts at his life, that include a blast, a car crash, imprisonment, Daisy Shah’s accent, and a shirtless wrestling match with Dhai kilo ka Deol. (Making you miss the other suave and amoral Saif Ali Khan). It’s impossible to not see this as Salman trying to prove a point to the Indian judiciary: Just like in the film, no matter how many times they try to convict him, he will end up getting away scot-free. Infact, they’re wasting their luck trying to hold him accountable for he is beyond plebeian judgement. His business is his business, none of our business.

In the end, Race 3 is so excruciatingly brainless that it makes Baaghi 2 look like a cinematic accomplishment. If you look closely, you can even see Khan’s biceps and CGI-abs look away disinterested in the bore-fest. The only way one can describe Race 3 is with this line echoed by Salman in the film, “Bewakoofi ka koi ilaaj nahi”.

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