Dum Maaro Dum

Style bhi, thoda substance (abuse) bhi…

Pic: RSE, FOX Star; Source: Wikipedia

I like Rohan Sippy’s (director) style of filmmaking… whether it’s Bluffmaster or Dum Maaro Dum (I am going to ignore Kuch Na Kaho as a debutante’s mistake); he brings that effortless style to his cinema, which is the USP of Dum Maaro Dum. With an impressive ensemble cast, uber stylish look and no other decent Bollywood flick for over two months, Dum Maaro Dum had everything going for it. The film obviously opened well and thankfully is not a damp squib. It has what it takes to be a decent entertainer but that’s about it; it does not wow or blow your mind, it is a good time-pass affair at the most.

I will come to the story and acting later but will talk about the film’s style that makes it what it is. Starting from the teaser poster with Deepika Padukone’s tattooed waist to the well cut first promo; the film looked stunning (only Dabangg promos looked as exciting before this one). Well done the production design team (CROP) and the art director, Shazia Zahid Iqbal; you nailed it! There were some cool lines in the film that were funny and extremely smart (dialogue, Charudutt Acharya)… Styling by Falguni Thakore was a little over the top at places, especially with the women but nothing really to complain about; they all looked good (with the exception of Aditya Pancholi who is so 90s and didn’t fit in this stylish flick). The camera work by Amit Roy was great and he managed to give the film a feel that suits the title.

All good, except a few places where they over did it… like in the song ‘Thayn Thayn’, which may have appeared cool to the makers but could have been done away with. Similarly, the much talked about title track with Deepika (she never looked better) had some stunning moments that were ruined by tacky lyrics (Jaideep Sahni you are way too good to dole out such stuff). The background score was quite nice and the original Dum Maaro Dum (from Hare Rama Hare Krishna, 1971) guitar riff was incorporated well; kudos to Midival Punditz and Karsh Kale. Otherwise, the original music by Pritam was below average and most songs could’ve been done away with.

Coming to the screenplay, it is the strength as well as the weakness of the film. Shridhar Raghavan mounts a great plot that reminds you of Nat Geo’s Jailed Abroad as well as Bolly-thrillers of the 70s. Till the interval, the film moves at a breakneck pace and then falters, only to come back with a killer twist (in true Raghavan style, remember Khakee), which I really believe could have been handled better by the director and the editor (Aarif Shaikh).

Performance wise, it is the return vehicle for Abhishek Bachchan who is very convincing as Kamath, a fearless cop on a mission to get Goa rid of the drug mafia. Bipasha Basu as Zoe fits the bill but doesn’t shine; how I wish Zeenat Aman was younger enough to do this role. Aditya Pancholi as Biscuita (yes, you read it right) is ok but we could have done with a much smarter and meaner baddie here (think Ajay Devgn in a meatier role). Prateik Babbar aka Lorry is brilliant as a young, innocent guy stuck in the drug trafficking mess. He is an actor to watch out for as he is able to comfortably change basis the character. Finally, Rana Daggubati, the Telegu film-star who made his Bolly-debut with this film… he is good and the girls seem to love him; guess a star is born.

Overall, Dum Maaro Dum is worth a watch but don’t expect too much… Aapki Sewa Mein Janhit Mein Jaari…

My rating: * * * Three stars on five

 

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Dhobi Ghat


Well Done Prateik…

Dhobi Ghat; Aamir Khan Productions

Kiran Rao’s directorial debut, Dhobi Ghat is an interesting film that doesn’t quite fit into any Bollywood genre. It is shot beautifully and is all about the mood it creates. It doesn’t have a concrete story to tell and doesn’t have a point to make… that’s the USP of the film as it invites you to relax and just soak in the atmosphere on-screen. Having said that, you need patience with the film as it moves at a leisurely pace, despite its short run-time (95 minutes).

Dhobi Ghat is about Mumbai and people from different walks of life who make up the city. Through an interesting narrative, the writer-director connects the four principal characters and their lives. Arun (Aamir Khan) is a reclusive artist who discovers an unlikely muse in Yasmin (Kriti Malhotra), a newly married girl who is adjusting to the city and misses her previous life. Shai (Monica Dogra) is an Indian-American banker on sabbatical who wants to explore the city and its people through her camera; she finds Munna (Prateik Babbar), a dhobi (washer-man) by the day, a rat exterminator by the night and an aspiring actor, to be her guide.

While Aamir is good as usual, the other young actors get more prominence in the film and deliver fine performances. Prateik as Munna is the highlight of the film as you instantly connect with him and his sincerity. A well written character, enacted with ease by Prateik, you relate to Munna’s hopes, dreams and disappointments. The other heroes of the film are its background score and camerawork. Oscar winner, Gustavo Alfredo Santaolalla (Babel, Brokeback Mountain) has created a beautiful soundtrack that helps create the film’s mood with Tushar Kanti Ray’s visuals of rain-drenched Mumbai.

Dhobi Ghat is a nice experiment and thanks to the aggressive promotion is getting in the audiences too. Success of a film like this will certainly encourage other filmmakers to try different genres. However, is it a film that blows your mind? I’d say no; not because it’s not well-made but because it doesn’t seem that it intends to do that. The film sets the mood, there are some sequences that go straight for your heart but overall it stays a bit cold. It is a nice film that is worth watching for its treatment and Prateik Babbar but do not expect something extraordinary.

My rating: * * * Three stars on five