Friday, December 20, 2013

Movie Review: Dhoom 3

In 1987 a masterpiece called Hard Ticket to Hawaii arrived in theaters. Its story chronicled two Playboy models sent undercover to Hawaii to bust a diamond racket and battle a mutant snake. In one scene the villainous smugglers send a hitman who overtakes the hero’s jeep on a skateboard while standing on his hands. “That guy must have smoked some Heavy Doobies”, the hero remarks. Then the Skateboard Man pulls out a shotgun and an inflated blow-up bikini doll appears suddenly in front of the hero’s jeep, adjusts his ponytail and takes aim. The hero rams the jeep onto the Skateboard Man who flies into the air along with his doll, and the hero reaches out into the dashboard, pulls out a rocket launcher and shoots the Skateboard Man in mid-air. And then he shoots his doll too.

I had to enlighten you with this information, because the entirety of Dhoom 3 is a three hour long version of this scene. And like Hard Ticket to Hawaii, Dhoom 3 is legendarily stupid, ridiculously over the top, unbelievably hammy and so hilariously terrible, cheesy and contrived it's non-stop fun. Director Vijay Krishna Acharya’s Tashan flopped back in 2008 because, believe it or not, it was way ahead of its time. Had it released today, in the post Rohit Shetty-Prabhudheva 100 crore era, it’d easily have made a few hundred crores. Acharya has been given a second chance, a humongous budget and he really lets his imagination go berserk with some Heavy Doobies:

Aamir Khan makes his entry by running vertically down a building, with currency notes flying everywhere and BGM that sounds like ‘We want chocolate we want chocolate’. 

Abhishek Bachchan makes his entry by breaking through a concrete wall in an auto rickshaw, then jumps over rooftops in the auto and then does Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible 2 bike stunts with the auto.

Katrina Kaif makes her entry by doing a Marky Mark Good Vibrations style five minute long aerobics striptease workout as an impromptu audition for an Indian circus act in Chicago.

Really, Dhoom 3 is Dhoom to the power of 3. It’s 27 times as ridonkulous as Dhoom in every department. The longer it runs the more preposterous it gets, and you can’t help but admire it for what it is. The action sequences were most certainly conceived during a drunk chor-police game that Acharya played with his toys one night. You get Aamir Khan driving a bike that turns into a boat that turns into a submarine that turns into a bike. You get Bachchan Jr tailing Aamir’s bikeboatmarine while clinging on to the rope ladder of a helicopter. You get Uday Chopra wearing a Captain Jack Sparrow costume and chasing Aamir on a BMW in random corridors and ripping through product placement posters.

And don’t you dare think there is no ‘substance’ in the movie. Prepare to have your mind blown – the villain in the film is not Aamir Khan, but banks. Yes, Dhoom 3 is a social commentary on the postmodern world being afflicted by the tyranny of bankers. It’s deep stuff. In one scene a wicked man looks at the camera grimly and tells a destitute common man 'We are bankers. We understand the world of money'.

And since this is a Dhoom movie you get a ginormous buffet of bad acting, cheesy romance, dreadful songs and plot holes so big you could drive Van Damme’s Volvo trucks through them. It’s not fair to take pot shots at Uday Chopra because he’s the only genuine element in the film – all of his jokes are self-referential. Bachchan Jr doesn’t do much more than grimace a couple of times and walk around extremely determined. With her back perpetually arched, midriff perpetually bare and dialogue perpetually corny, Katrina comes off like a parody of an action movie heroine.

But Dhoom 3 will be remembered for being the point where Aamir Khan gleefully took a piss on all of the accolades he’s ever received for being a good actor. He clearly worked extremely hard on his muscles but every dialogue he utters magically produces ham hocks around the screen. In the film he’s either a) Too serious, and hence unintentionally funny or b) Completely barmy, and hence unintentionally funny. Aamir is a good dramatic actor, and a great comedic actor, but is not a commercial action hero. Someone needed to tell him to lighten up a bit, this is a Dhoom movie after all.

You may have predicted all of the above things, but nothing will prepare you for the barn burning ‘twist’ just before the interval. You can see it coming, but you desperately wish and pray for that to not be the case. But it does come, and you’re left groaning in defeat, wrapping your face with as many palms as you can find. It’s the kind of stuff you’d see in Hard Ticket to Hawaii and the twelve other films by the director Andy Sidaris, all twelve of which are available in a single DVD pack for $4. 

(First published in Firstpost)

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