Entertainment Movie Reviews 30 Jul 2016 Dishoom movie review ...

Dishoom movie review: Pizazz with worn-out punches

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ARNAB BANERJEE
Published Jul 30, 2016, 12:46 am IST
Updated Jul 30, 2016, 7:03 am IST
The film tries hard to deliver some hard punches that may prove to be shockers for some.
A still from the movie Dishoom
 A still from the movie Dishoom
Rating:

Cast: John Abraham, Varun Dhawan, Akshaye Khanna
Director: Rohit Dhawan

 

 

We Indians love the game of cricket to the point of worshipping our cricket stars. Don’t we? But then, we also love Bollywood films, and almost revere stars. To be a part of any of the two professions one needs to keep in mind that it entails scandals, hype, windfall, gains, losses and fixing. Therefore, if we combined the two “religions” that we so ardently follow, and wove a plot around the two, it could turn into a swift-moving, hard-charging thriller with tonnage of drama to elevate it to the level of a masterpiece. That bit also requires great storytelling skills that only an enormously gifted writer could do. In Dishoom, director Rohit Dhawan had a winner on his hands if he had masterfully blended the two. Or maybe, he thought he could, and set the tone for an impressive start. Imagine India’s top-notch cricketing living legend Viraj Sharma (Saqib Salim — no prizes for guessing whom the reference is to) getting abducted “somewhere in the Middle East” just before an India-Pakistan match by a conniving bookie Wagah (Akshaye Khanna), who obviously wants the celebrated batsman to take a dive and lose the game on purpose.

 

Everyone from the Cricket Board to the external affairs ministry presses the panic button. And thus, two cops from either side of the Arabian Sea team up for a 36- hour manhunt. Kabir (Abraham) and Junaid (Dhawan) form the Special Task Force to solve the mystery to save India’s image in the bargain. The two set out to do their job in the tradition of Tango and Cash as one would expect in any buddy cop film. But one of them (Kabir) is a no-nonsense cop, whose unforgiveable habit of smoking has many people, including his girlfriend, requesting him to stub it out. But his burly broad-shouldered body also has an equally steely unyielding resolve: to have his way. In contrast, Junaid has to be predictably the bumpkin with a heart of gold, and keeps his bumbling act ready for a few laughs. Together, they plan, chase, drive, beat up goons, allowing a pick-pocket Ishika, (Jacqueline Fernandes) to show up out of the blue, and quite forcibly, become a part of their investigating team.

 

Rohit Dhawan is credited with the story, screenplay (along with Tushar Hiranandani) and direction, and could have chosen to be innovative in his choice of locations. He plays it safe — chic locales to woo viewers with stereotypes like grungy kiosks that abound in the name of a marketplace, and mysterious-looking men carrying daggers, not to mention camels and even lions in the background.  The only way to approach Dishoom’s abduction-drama that would not result in a 124-minute déjà vu is to think of it as a comedy. Well, to a large extent. And here, I am not referring to Kumar’s gay act or actor Satish Kaushik’s recurring voice on the phone trying to woo Dhawan as a prospective damaad, as fillers.

 

The film tries hard to deliver some hard punches that may prove to be shockers for some. Unfortunately, Akshay Kumar’s cameo is not one of them. Having strategically revealed his appearance to the media a week before its release, the film leaves even less exciting moments for you to sit up and take note of. The opening scenes, followed by the step-by-step construction of the storyline, have a neat build-up with characters popping up to piece together the narrative. Sadly, the plot brings itself to a slow, sure boil. Hence, it’s impossible to fake faint enthusiasm for the film that bungles a lot of thievery from better movies. Dhawan had plenty of money to be spent on it, and managed an experienced cast too, but couldn’t rise above clichés to give us a swirl of original action-packed mystery thriller. As a result, the film ends up being devoid of tension.

 

The climax, too, instead of a taut finish to set our pulse racing, has deep-rooted silliness to it, which is punctuated by a glorious chase sequence. Both Abraham and Dhawan have more than six-pack abs to suit their characters. They mix their physicality well with their swagger to come up with a couple of scenes that make for enjoyable fare. But whoever told Abraham that a sculpted body alone could amount to great acting skills has only reduced Abraham’s number of years as an actor, for even when one is mouthing menacing lines, there needs to be some semblance of emotive strength than just a scowl on the face.

 

Dhawan, too, may fancy himself to be an able replacement for his father’s (David Dhawan) muse — Govinda; in reality, he looks and behaves like an overgrown kid desperately trying hard to verbalise an ambitious desire to be an actor. Saleem looks like a well-built cricketer, and Khanna makes a rather premeditated attempt at villainy — the kind that probably makes him choose style over histrionics. In all fairness, both get limited scope to perform. There’s not much to remember after it’s over, save, perhaps, all the stylish milieus.

 

The writer is a film critic and has been reviewing films for over 15 years. He also writes on music, art and culture, and other human interest stories.

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