Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Dhoom 2 Report Card

I finally watched Dhoom 2 and while the movie is being widely panned by the Indian public, I found it to be fairly interesting and mildly entertaining. A report card:

The Movie
D:2 plays to the same formula of its predecessors so I won’t repeat it here. The first thing that strikes you about the movie is driven by set pieces. The time devoted to advancing the plot in between set pieces is minimal. Even beats within scenes are set pieces, heck even the dialogues are sound bites. It’s not about actors starring in a movie as much as it is about stars acting in one. Plot holes, as usual, abound. The heists, the centerpiece of the action, are convoluted beyond belief to make them look clever. And characters do complicated things when more straightforward and believable options are readily available. B

Hrithik Roshan
D:2 has Hrithik front, center and on the sides. It’s his movie and most of the juicier masala bits in the movie exploit his best abilities – in other words he’s given a lot of running, skating, jumping and dancing to do with his clothes off. When he falls in love, he makes you believe it could happen. When his betrayal is at hand, he makes you feel for him. When he faces off in the climactic scene with the cops, he makes you root for him. And given that there is little time for fully rounded characters that is quite a feat. B+

Abhisekh Bachchan
Since he’s had a good chunk of time to develop his character in Dhoom, he manages a more rounded character than others. Abhisekh isn’t afraid to make his character a bit of an anti-hero: he’s surly, short tempered, flirts with other women with a pregnant wife at home and even makes mistakes. Other than one song where he threatens to become this generation’s whacky Jeetendra, he goes through the movie unscathed. B

Aishwarya Rai
She’s taking a bit of a hiding from audiences in this film and much of it is, I’m afraid, justified. Her character is given throwaway sound bites like “Funny Guy” and “like” – a muddle of Mumbaiya and stereotypical bindaas babe – to convey to us what she is all about. Her makeup is off too, culminating in a tan gone wrong in a crucial Russian roulette scene. There is one scene where she rips off her heist clothes to reveal, well barely anything underneath on a body so skinny it hurts to look at it. This plays to everyone’s funny bone unintentionally. She is clearly there to dance and strut, both of which she does enormously well. But, c’mon yaar! C

Bipasha Basu
Bipasha plays a sequential double role in this film, both roles clearly there to amp the babe value in the movie. She looks terrific in role 1, and barely manages to avoid audiences from throwing tomatoes at her in an ill-advised take on role 2. B

Uday Chopra
Uday revives the role of the comic buffoon in Bollywood films. He’s there purely for comic relief with no contribution at all to the story line. He has some good lines in the film which he delivers full tilt, but in general he had audiences shaking their heads (in a not so good way). C

The women in D:2
The women in the movie, I’m afraid take a beating. The old women are replaced by newer swankier ones. Esha Deol isn’t in the movie. Not that she set Dhoom on fire, but Rimi Sen has been impregnated and relegated to the role of the one-dimensional jealous wife a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it role. Bipasha plays a sharp, driven cop in one of her roles but manages to spend her time fumbling and running around aimlessly. Aishwarya has a critical role, but she acquiesces to be Hrithik’s “shadow” and takes all pretence out of her importance. One scene in the movie is emblematic of the role of women in this movie: Abhishek and Uday are driving down a highway somewhere in Rio in an open top jeep and Bipasha is preening on the backrest in the back in a bikini. She is there as eye candy, propped up in a ridiculous position and hardly saying a word. F

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