Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dum Maaro Dum Review

Dolce: You know after seeing Paa when we begged the Gods of Bollywood to cast Abhishek and Vidya again in a movie as a couple? Surely this is not their idea of delivering, is it?
Namak: You mean the split seconds of Vidya that add up from all parts of the film to give us a full minute by the end of it? I sure hope that's not the last we see of them! If it weren't for SRK and Tabu's useless guest appearance in Saathya, then Vidya would take away the Most Useless Guest Appearance by a Big Star award.
Dolce: I still enjoyed it though. It was such a pleasant surprise.
Namak: I felt it was a waste of her time and pretty face. And her status as a class A actress. Not to mention a waste of her acting skills... of which there were none here. Strange casting decision...

Unfortunately the odd casting decisions don't stop here... Mit Jaaye Gham also turned out to be terribly cast, on top of being a really bad song: you take a decent dancer and give her no choreography? If they wanted a photo shoot, why bother to pay Bosco Caesar? Surely plenty of amateur photographers from Bombay would have lined up to do this. For free!!

Namak: And why would they go through all that trouble to make Deepika Padukone look like Priyanka Chopra with the make-up and the clothes? Was Piggy Chops unavailable for this item?
Dolce: Maybe she turned it down. After all, how many more photoshoots of your midriff can you do before it gets old. Priyanka has paid her dues with Fashion and Anjaana Anjaani, no?
Namak: Oh, you give her too much credit. I'm sure we're not done seeing skin from Priyanka, but I do still find it very odd what they did with Deepika's make-up.

While on the topic of the item number and the scenes depicting the rave scene in Goa / Karnataka, I must say it sure seemed like a cool place to be in. Made me think of Miami during the Winter Music Conference, except the blondes are hotter and even less dressed in South Beach. Still, quite a treat to see an alternative to the obligatory club scene. I'm always happy to see sand and trees in a "club" number. Perhaps why I cherish the title song from I Hate Luv Storys as well, despite the terrible dancing. Ah.. to dance on the beach... nothing quite like it!
Of course the coolness factor is reduced to zero when a gunshot paralyses everything and everyone. Last time I was at such a party, I am sure a person could have been shot right next to me and no one would have heard it. Oh well... such poetic licences are to be glossed over else I'd never enjoy another action movie again.

But now back to what was great about Dum Maaro Dum, a thriller about the drug mafia in Goa, the South Beach of India.

Dolce: By the way I always appreciate movies that give other nationalities some space, even if they're all druglords, rowdies and villains. I liked it in Kaminey and I liked it in Dum Maaro Dum. 
Namak: You don't mind the fact that it gives the impression that virtue is all Indian while sin is international?
Dolce: Sure I do, but it also takes India out of its bubble and gives film makers a chance to experiment with accents, non-Indian actors and writing for other cultures. If they keep practicing, eventually they'll even get it right!

The best thing about Dum Maaro Dum is that it works as a thriller. I can count on one hand the Bollywood thrillers that kept me on the edge of my seat until the end, whether they were good movies or not: Kaminey, Ghajini and Dhoom2. All the other ones either lose steam, or they give away too much thus making the "twist" predictable, or they're just boring. So adding DMD to this short list is a great compliment to Rohan Sippy and the gang.

Add to that some great one-liners, usually from badass ACP Kamath (Abhishek Bachchan in my favourite avatar: the too-cool-for-school cop), and you've got yourself a pretty good movie for any audience.

Sure you may have to subtract points for a couple of angelic interventions: one from a dead person and one from St Anthony himself, but hey, it is Bollywood after all!

As much as I enjoyed the other characters, played by Bipasha Basu, Prateik Babbar and Rana Daggubati, for me this movie was all about Abhishek Bachchan and his skinny Southie stache!

No one does this kind of cool as well as Abhishek, except maybe Lorenzo Lamas in the Renegade series. The only two heroes that can sell me the riding off into the sunset scenario while keeping me completely unaware of plot holes, male chauvinism, and other such issues that would bother me in, say, a love story.

But that doesn't go to say the film is not also worth watching for the side stories. I could never understand Joki's involvement right in the thick of things (Rana Daggubati) and why he would put his own life at risk to clear someone's name, but I went with it, and apart from his half baked motivations, I found him to be a charming character. The weakest of them all in terms of writing, as he is not given too much depth, but hey, it's all about Abhishek, remember?

I can't fault the writers too much for the lack of character development in the movie overall because I never expect much of it in an action thriller. So whatever little we are given to work with is all right by me. That goes for Bipasha's fallen angel character, and also for Prateik's squealing teenager who strays from the right path. To be fair, we are given some flashbacks to establish everyone's motivations, so whether these are enough or not is everyone's personal choice. They were not enough for me, but I didn't care.

The other great thing about Dum Maaro Dum is the resolution. They play a little bit with old cliches, but they manage to keep it fresh enough and not wander into "same old" territory. In addition, the fact that there is plenty of irony used in the last half hour of the film, starting with a certain death and ending with a certain burial, wins the film a ton of points from me. I love me some good "Hah!" moments!

As a side note the meandering timeline was exquisitely handled by the editors and there is never a moment when you feel lost or confused.Though you may feel sick to your stomach during some of the prison scenes, or watching some of Kamath's unorthodox interrogation methods. Honestly I looked away during those and chose to erase them from my memory for ever, which is why I will not linger on the topic.

Now would be a good time to talk about the political message of the movie, about the social aspects that it delves into and to start a realism vs filmi discussion, but Dum Maaro Dum is just not that type of film for me: I'd be lying if I said any of these points crossed my mind while I was watching. Call me shallow if you will, but I rather think *not* worrying about such things is the way to go to fully enjoy the film. I'd rather dwell in the meta layer of dialogues and songs borrowed from old Amitabh films and how they come into play brilliantly at different key moments. That's more my kind of kick for this type of film.

Dum Maaro Dum is like Emmenthal cheese: the holes are there but the chewy texture and the slightly bitter taste make you feel almost grateful for them, otherwise it would be too intense. It may not be the best cheese for a Sunday night fancy dinner party, but it will do great in a sandwich at the end of a long day at work. It's complex enough to satisfy and yet thin enough to not weigh you down.


Temple said...

The thought popped into my head during the 'item' that Bosco-Caesar are no Vijay-Oscar!

I don't share your Abhishek love but I liked him in this and if he only knew, that should make him slightly proud.

Dolce and Namak said...

Temple, I must confess that with my pathetic knowledge of oldies, I can't think of a single Vijay Oscar choreography in order to get the joke :( But no matter, Bosco Caesar have been consistently disappointing me, so I won't jump in their defence for sure.

Awww... you don't like the Baby B? I kind of adore him in a "he should be a Southie hero" kind of way. He's great in this type of role (he made the 2 Dhoom movies for me, and saved Game from public opprobrium). He should stop trying to do those serious roles and just focus on replacing Salman as the Southie hero wannabe. :P
Plus, he's so taaaaall, and soooooo yummy in jeans :D

dustdevil liz said...

I'm looking forward to seeing this on dvd since they seem to have stopped showing Hindi movies here. I like Abhishek and Rohan Sippy, so I'm glad to hear positive things about it.

Also, the idea of Abhishek doing Southie roles is intriguing. Perhaps he and Sonu Sood could switch places.

Jyothi said...

You know, your review actually made me go watch a movie that i'd never go to the theatre for otherwise! :)

True, the casting decisions might have been weird for the guest appearances, but i thought ACP Kamath's assistants were spot on... So was Daggubatti - really enjoyed his unfussy acting!

The script manages to be witty without being wannabe, and th editing is really slick- The first half gets your attention completely and its only at end of the second half that that the storyline goes crazy with all the loose ends tied up haphazardly in a hurry.. :)

Mette said...

Sounds like DMD didn't turn out as bad as I'd thought. I'm happy about that. Now only two questions remain: 1) Will the film do well at the box-office? and 2) When will I be able to watch it?

Dolce and Namak said...

@ Liz - that cracked me up!! Abhishek and Sonu switching places :D God knows no one would know the difference :P But then the problem with that is Abhi would have to start working on the one-pack, you know, I don't think he could get away in the South without some proper body building. The pot belly seems to be a privilege reserved for the more... "mature" heroes :P

And I'm so sorry to hear they don't show Hindi movies there anymore :( I was actually surprised to see DMD playing in more theatres than usual, probably because of Fox, so if anything this would have been the movie to make it there... :( :(

@ Jyothi - it cleaned up nicely, no? :) I'm glad you went to see it in the theatres, I think the cinematography deserves the big screen. Of course, I totally agree with you on Mercy and Rane, they were pretty damn perfect. As was, in my humble opinion, ACP Kamath :D I have yet to see Daggubati in Leader, his Telugu debut, but I too did not mind him one bit. His looks really fit the part as well, bless him. :D

@ Lime(tte) - Haha! I usually expect the worst from Hindi thrillers, so I can see why you would not be too confident, but something about this one works. Like everyone said, it's not the greatest movie, it has its (significant) shortcomings, but it's better made than most others and that shows. I hope it comes out on DVD soon for you.

The Bolly Hood said...

I do want to watch this film but will wait for it to come out on DVD. Abhishek is choosing good roles nowadays I must say.

Guys check out my blog where I have come up with a Rating Aur Hating system to review films (with added funny pictures).

Swati Sapna said...

A lot of people here seem to have hated DMD! But i totally liked it :) AB rocks it as a brooding cop. He does this so much better than his attempts at serious acting. really. i believe he is good at only 2 things - playing a cop, and self-deprecating humour. I loved his gay act in Dostana whatever anyone says! And I think he is truly funny in his new Idea 3G ads :)
So anyway... and Rana! How hot is he??! Recently there was an interview of his where he said he would go for a girl who speaks Telugu, Tamil and Hindi!!! :) :) :) Am just figuring out a way now to get introduced to him and stun him with my multi-lingual skills! :D
As they say, this film was total 'paisa vasool'!

Dolce and Namak said...

I know, right? Abhi as the tough cop, what's not to like? And yes, I am totally aligned with the two sides of Abhishek that work best. I was so charmed by him in Dostana, don't know why he doesn't do more such roles!

Oh, well, and good luck with Rana! :) I am sure you would dazzle him with your language skills AND your cooking skills. Imagine! Your hubby would have to guard you with a machete afterwards! :P

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