Thursday, January 16, 2014

It's Dhoom Time!

And showing at my local theater here in Bangkok.

Dhoom 3
Director: Vijay Krishna Acharya
Year: 2013
Duration: 172 minutes


One could perhaps make an argument that the Dhoom series (Dhoom, 2004; Dhoom 2, 2006, Dhoom 3, 2013) has gingerly escorted Bollywood films into the 21st century with their high production values, big budgets, impressive action and stunt sequences, pounding dance numbers and an attitude that defies logic and gravity. It could be called catching up to Hollywood. Now whether one thinks that is necessarily a good thing or an evil thing is up to each individual, but there is no escaping the fact that Dhoom 3 is more frantic and fun than a basket full of kittens high on cocaine. Then go ahead and throw a plate of sardines into the mix and look at the result. That would be Dhoom 3.

Dhoom 3 has a fairly nifty plot with an after Intermission twist (that won’t be revealed in this review), some good acting by everyone, a few rollicking musical numbers and for Bollywood a very different location (Chicago), but the life blood of the film is the exceptional technical skills shown in the action/stunt scenes and the seamless editing that takes place in the second half (that involves the twist so again I can’t say anymore).  There are four lengthy and complicated action sequences, three of which must have brought much of Chicago to a standstill. Two of them are back to back to start the film off with a bang that echoes throughout the movie like a starting gun.  I read some reviews and reader comments that sort of trashed the film for its absurdities which it no doubt has like a case of the chicken pox, but who would go into a Dhoom film and expect anything else. This isn’t Mother India. Or even Dil Chatha Hai. This is Dhoom 3 and it embraces its over the top insanity and irrationality like a proud mother hen ready to peck out your eyes.

As in the first two Dhoom films, this one pits two cops, Jai Dixit (Abhishek Bachchan) and his comic relief partner, Ali (Uday Chopra) against a master thief. In the first film they chased after John Abraham and in the second they battled wits against Hrithik Roshan. Those are two pretty big names in the business but in this one it goes for even more juice by having the master criminal played by super star Aamir Khan all buffed up and buffed out like a Stone Age idol on Easter Island. It might seem an odd choice by Aamir who relishes making thought provoking commercial films in which he has total control for showing up in such a ludicrous pulp film – it would almost be the equivalent of having Meryl Streep jumping head first into the Fast and Furious franchise – but by the end you can see what attracted him to the role as it is an enormously physically demanding one and in that mysterious second half he gets to show some perverse acting chops. And of course he got to go to Chicago and maybe catch a Cub's game.

Aamir’s character Sahir is out to destroy a bank in revenge for it having destroyed his father (Jackie Shroff) many years previously. As usual bankers are portrayed as greedy, heartless and basically bastards on every level (as an ex-banker of many years I would only under severe torture admit that this is generally true). And Sahir is out to bring The Western Bank of Chicago to its knees by robbing it of all its money. The fact that banks actually have insurance and a very small portion of its assets are held in cash is kind of scrubbed over. Interestingly (or not) the film skips over the robberies themselves and focuses on the escapes which turn into city wide chases on motorcycles, boats, helicopters and lots of crashed police cars. The Chicago police find it necessary to bring in two Mumbai cops, Jai and Ali, to sort this all out and to catch the crook. It turns into a bit of a cat and mouse game in which in all truth the mouse is much cleverer and more interesting than the cat. Throw into this all ready fun mix an Indian Circus de Soleil that I would pay to see and I hate circuses and the astonishingly lovely Katrina Kaif, who wows in her few scenes and especially in a dance number that must have tested her physical ability to the max (ok, so maybe she was doubled for some of that. I don’t know). The film is great fun but again for the hard of reading, this is not Mother India, it is Dhoom 3 so tread carefully.

My rating: 8.0

Musical Numbers:

Here is Katrina’s Flashdance inspired number as she auditions for a job in the circus. She got the job. Aamir just sits there in his creepy head gear watching with an expression on his face as to say "this is fine but when do I get my lap dance".

And here is the number that runs over the closing credits interspersed with some scenes from the film. It is mainly another excuse to watch Katrina dance.