The 120-minute movie unfolds at some point in this era and somewhere in this part of the world, in a place and time that is halfway between Uttar Pradesh and a theme park dedicated to Hindi movie kitsch. Director Shaad Ali has doffed his hat to the innocent pleasures of popular Hindi cinema before in Bunty Aur Babli and the underrated meta-movie Jhoom Barabar Jhoom. He wants to create a fictional world like the one many of us grew up on – where people fall in love at first sight, characters don’t need surnames or back stories, evil is manufactured and doesn’t lie coiled within the breast, the rich hobnob with the not-so-rich without bothering about class differences, and villains magically disappear after obliging us with malevolence.
The cast sportingly goes along with this touching but poorly developed tribute to the triumph of evil over good, putting on their best grimaces even though they are too good-natured to scare anything other than a stuffed toy. Dev, in particular, is a sweetheart, his boyish voice and demeanour making him a most unconvincing thug but a most convincing virgin. Kill Dill lacks purpose, originality and zing, but not sincerity. Shaad Ali has tremendous faith in his creation. He directs his actors nicely and creates some unpretentious moments of wry comedy. But he works very hard for very little. The material is so flimsy that it evaporates on contact with anything resembling reality. It’s tonally off and puzzling throughout.
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