Salman Khan Films and Tips Industries Ltd.’s Race 3 (UA) is the third film in the Race franchise. This time, however, it is a suspense thriller about one family.
Shamsher Singh (Anil Kapoor) lives life king size in Al Shifah and has a yearning desire to return to Handiya in India some day, the town he grew up in and from where he had to flee once he and brother Ranchod Singh (Milind Gunaji) were framed as traitors. His brother had been murdered, so Shamsher had escaped with Ranchod’s widow and, therefore, his own sister-in-law, Sumitra (Nishigandha Wad), and little nephew, Sikander Singh (master Mannan Handa). Shamsher had packed off Sikander to Beijing. In keeping with the custom, he had married Sumitra who had then delivered his twins, Sanjana and Suraj. Shamsher’s bodyguard and Man Friday is Raghuvendra Singh (Sharat Saxena).
Years have passed. Shamsher’s biggest enemy is Rana (Freddy Daruwala). Shamsher Singh dotes on Sikander (Salman Khan), which, obviously, doesn’t go down well with Shamsher’s biological children, Sanjana (Daisy Shah) and Suraj (Saqib Saleem). Sikander has a bodyguard, Yash (Bobby Deol), who shares an unbreakable bond with Sikander. The two, in fact, are like brothers.
Sikander meets Jessica (Jacqueline Fernandez) in Beijing, has a brief romantic fling with her before she simply disappears after a night of passion. Jessica reappears in Al Shifah as the girlfriend, Yash has been talking about. Sikander is perplexed and confronts Jessica. What happens thereafter? Does Jessica return to Sikander or does she continue her affair with Yash?
One day, Brijesh (Rajesh Sharma), an old friend of Shamsher, comes to Al Shifah from India and gives him proof of incriminating evidence against many ministers in compromising positions with call girls. According to Brijesh, the evidence is on a hard drive which is lying in a bank locker in Cambodia. He asks Shamsher to lay his hands on the hard drive and promises to open the hard drive with the code known exclusively to him – for a hefty sum of money, of course! Using this evidence to blackmail the ministers involved, Shamsher Singh could call them all to Al Shifah and enter into a deal whereby he would destroy the evidence if they cleared his and his family’s name so that he could return to Handiya.
Shamsher Singh agrees. He appoints Sikander to get hold of the hard drive. On his part, Sikander takes Yash, Suraj and Sanjana with him to accomplish the mission. What happens thereafter? Do they get the hard drive? Does Shamsher Singh get a clean chit?
Shiraz Ahmed has written a story which belongs in the implausible space because everything in it is so larger than life and, if one might say so, so unreal that many things don’t ring true. Of course, since Shamsher Singh leads an ostentatious lifestyle, everything is bound to be larger than life but since a lot many things don’t ring true, the story itself seems contrived. The first half, especially, is also terribly boring after the introduction of the main characters. It seems to be going nowhere in particular, simply meandering here and there. However, the second half is interesting and also more fast-paced. The last around 30 to 45 minutes have so many turns and twists that they keep the viewers engaged and engrossed. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the last part of the drama quite saves the film because of the interesting turns and twists and the abundant and fast-paced action. The suspense keeps unfolding in this part of the drama and that is quite interesting even though it is contrived at times.
Dialogues, penned by Shiraz Ahmed and Kiran Kotrial, do not suit the scale of the film. A few dialogues are punch-packed but several of them lack fire. The idea of making every young character refer to the other young ones as ‘bro’ gives the impression of the characters trying to be extra cool and that makes them look too wannabe!
Anil Kapoor gives a dignified performance as Shamsher Singh. He acts with the maturity that was needed in the character of Shamsher Singh. His long intermittent absence in the first half makes the drama a bit lopsided. Salman Khan looks charming and charismatic and plays to the gallery. He performs well but is not in his element. Jacqueline Fernandez looks sexy and glamorous; her acting is nice. Bobby Deol does a fine job in the role of Yash. His chiselled body in the climax comes as a revelation. The scene in which Salman and Bobby take off their shirts will be met with applause by the masses. Daisy Shah looks stylish and lends fair support as Sanjana. Saqib Saleem is quite nice as Suraj. Freddy Daruwala gets almost no scope in the role of Rana. Sharat Saxena doesn’t have much scope to perform but he does make his presence felt as Raghuvendra Singh. Rajesh Sharma makes his mark as Brijesh (Birju). Narendra Jha also gets very limited scope in the role of Khanna. He is alright. Milind Gunaji is alright in a tiny role as Ranchod Singh. Nishigandha Wad is natural as Sumitra. Master Mannan Handa (as young Sikander), Peter (as the Cambodian banker), Behram Rana (as Johnny Shrivastava), Chaitanya Kanhai (as Gajendra’s son), Divya Bhatia (as the family lawyer) and the others lend fair support.
Remo D’Souza’s direction is found lacking in the first half but he gets hold of things after interval when the drama becomes intriguing. However, he has not been able to make a sleek and high-on-style film like the first two Race films. That is a major minus point. Music is good but there’s not a single super-hit song which a thriller of this canvas should’ve had – and that’s another minus point. The ‘Selfish’, ‘I found love’, ‘Heeriye’ and ‘Party chale on’ are quite well-tuned; the ‘Allah duhai hai’ number, which has been part of earlier Race films too, is the best song. The songs appeal more in the mashup during the end rolling titles. The songs have been composed by Meet Bros., JAM8, Vishal Mishra, Vicky-Hardik, Shivai Vyas, Ali Jacko, Jayanta Pathak and Gurinder Seagal. Lyrics (by Kumaar, Salman Khan, Shabbir Ahmed, Shloke Lal, Hardik Acharya, Shanky, Shivai Vyas, Kunaal Verma and Rimi Nique) are routine. Song picturisations (by Remo D’Souza, Rahul Shetty and Kruti Mahesh) are eye-filling and lavish but the look and feel of all the songs is similar. Salim-Sulaiman’s background music is impactful. Ayananka Bose’s cinematography is grand. Action scenes and stunts, choreographed by Anl Arasu and Thomas Struthers, are exciting and often breathtaking. Rajnish Hedao’s production designing is grand. Steven Bernard’s editing is slick. Conversion in 3D is nice.
On the whole, Race 3 is saved because of an engaging post-interval portion. Despite the terribly dull first half, it will do decent business. Since its cost of production has already been recovered from sale of non-theatrical rights, shares from India and Overseas theatrical revenues will be good enough to generate handsome profits to the producers. But those distributors, who have acquired the rights at very high prices, would lose a small part of their investments. It will definitely not qualify as a box-office hit because of the poor pre-interval portion. Collections on second day (Eid) and third day (post-Eid; Sunday) will be phenomenal.