Dhoom 3—The Review

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In 2004, two initiatives were launched to pass off mediocre blue-blood Babalog as superstars, while making a shitload of cash for their stakeholders.

One was the UPA government. The other was the Dhoom franchise.

In both these, the trick was essentially same. Smoke. Mirrors. Hype. And for smarter people to hold up the halo for the mediocres.

By 2004, the powers-that-be had tried, with no success, to pass Uday Chopra, the scion of one of Bollywood’s richest and most powerful families, off as a romantic hero. But after the spectacular tanking of his solo “Mere Yaar ki Shaadi Hai”, the writing was on the wall.

It was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it was to make Uday Chopra’s fantasy of being an A-list hero comes to fruition.

But they didn’t give up.

Dhoom was born, in an attempt to package Uday Chopra as an action-comic hero, but this time with solid support. Or what was known as the donut principle, surround the hole in the middle with sugary goodness. They got Abhishek Bachchan, another blue-blood of similar talent but with slightly better career prospects than Uday Chopra, to be his cohort and rising stud-muffin John Abraham to be the villain. To which was added Pritam’s inspirational music, Rimii (that’s how I think she spelt it then) Sen’s double alphabets, some bike chases, some scenes that looked suspiciously similar to Ocean’s Eleven, another hero whose name I have forgotten (oh wait…it was Eesha Deol) and a lot of Chopraian marketing and media muscle.

It worked. Kind of. Dhoom was a hit. But Uday Chopra, despite having cinema in his shirts and pants (Rahul Gandhi speak for “in his genes”), was not going to be able to go to solo outside the family’s productions.

Two years later when Dhoom 2 was made, the challenge was even greater. Now there were two underperfoming Babalog that had to be passed off as stars, with Abhishek Bachchan adding folds below his chin more rapidly than hits to his belt. With great responsibility, comes greater casting. The powers-that-be brought in even more serious talent to hide the limitations of the lead pair, making the so-called villains the marquee names. They got Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai to headline, though the heroes were still, on paper, Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra. Dhoom 2 piled it on thick and fast, Roshan playing a Hispanicy basketball-player who rollerblades and dresses up as the Queen,  Aishwarya Rai playing  a faux “Are you like checking me out” accent, lifts from “Mission Impossible” and periodic appearances of Bipasa Basu’s sandbags. And then there was  Aishwarya Rai’s first on-screen kiss (She had refused to kiss Chandrachud Singh in Josh, but then who would want to kiss Chandrachud Singh or “Bhabiji” as we used to refer to him) with Roshan, which while being as cold as Aishwarya Rai, was hyped to be controversial and bold. Ho-hum.

And now 2013. Tata Young, of the original Dhoom Dhoom song, has become Tata Old. Abhishek Bachchan is as relevant today as a dial-up modem. Uday Chopra is still Uday Chopra. With the latter having ostensibly announced his retirement, (i.e. given up hope), the powers-that-be decided to give him a farewell mega-hit. Since they could not fly down Sammy and his team to Wankede, they did the next best thing.

Another Dhoom.

Chicago. 1990. People wear either Prohibition-era clothes or look like they stepped off from the sets of Duck Dynasty. A talented magician, played by Jackie Shroff, runs the Great Indian Circus which plays in an ,enormous Beaux-Arts style opera house. It is a  sad, little one-man act, consisting of an Alok Nath-eyed Shroff  pulling rabbits and other assorted things from the Mausichigaand.  The sinister “Western Bank of Chicago”, headed by the cliched “evil white man” is not impressed because he wants to see women in short skirts pulling stuff out of the mouth of a hippo.  Despite the heart-wrenching pleas of the son-of-Jackie-Shroff and Jackie Shroff’s Richard Burton accent, the evil white man decides to shut it down. Faced with heartbreak or in the grip of anger brought on by repeated retakes, Jackie Shroff  suddenly says, like a pakka denizen of the Windy City, “Bankwalon tumhare aisi ki taisi” and shoots himself with Al Capone’s spare gun.

Shattered by this experience, the son-of-Jackie-Shroff grows up to be Sahir (Aamir Khan) who decides to take revenge on the banks by robbing them, because since banks don’t have insurance against robbery, robbing the same bank a number of times destroys them. Eager to avoid capture, he leaves behind his calling card and a message written in Hindi. Chicago’s finest are immediately onto it and conversations like the one below leave the audience no doubt as to how smart they are.

Banker:  “Whos the guy who has robbed us?”

Chicago’s finest: “It’s a thief sir”

Unable to make head or tail of the Devnagri script, and since Chicago does not fall under Preet Bharara’s jurisdiction, which if it was he could have done a cavity search and found not a brain in the cranium of anyone associated with the story and the script, a call is sent for ACP Jai Dixit (Abhishek Bachchan) and his sidekick Ali (Uday Chopra), who, immediately realize that since the messages have been written in Hindi, the thief is an Indian. Meanwhile Aamir Khan hires Katrina Kaif as his assistant, after an audition that entails her doing a strip tease. Having a woman in a short skirt who can be out-acted by a hippo and the cash from his heists (how he pulls them off is never shown precisely, perhaps because the people at the helm, I am assuming, was too lazy to have been “inspired” by sequences from a few good heist movies), Aamir Khan builds up his Baba’s dream. But he has not contended with Abhishek Bachchan’s angry-old-man-who-is-unhappy-with-his-Isabgol face ….

What the fuck am I doing? I am trying to synopsize the story of Dhoom 3. There is NO story. Or, more precisely, the story is like the Congress party’s constitution,there but really not important. Suffice to say, before the end credits roll, you will get to see Uday Chopra play Jack Sparrow, Abhishek Bacchan play a homeless person, Aamir Khan ride Batman’s Bajaj,  plot holes the size of Sharad Pawar, intellectual punch-counterpunch that would make a two-year-old laugh, and, by today’s standards, some really crappy special effects (the running down a skyscraper or hanging from a edge of a ledge look so “taken against a blue screen” that it’s laughable).

But mention must be made of Aamir Khan, the “method man” and “actor’s actor”. In a strange coincidence, he always finds himself in original works that have remarkable similarities to Nolan’s movies (in Bengal, we call him Nolan-guru and he is available only in the winter). Memento. Now another one. Had it been someone else, I would have said “copied” but Aamir Khan, being so international and sincere and method and Satyamev Jayate, would never be a part of something so Bollywood. His acting in Dhoom 3 is brilliantly diverse—consisting of a few stock expressions randomly sequenced—mildly angry face, intense Ghajini face, watching-strip-tease face, Bum-bum bole face and Ailaa Juhi Chawla face. For someone who claims to “think everything through” it’s strange how if you looked at his expression, you would never think he was running down a skyscraper or holding a man hanging over a ledge, so free of context  it is. One doesn’t expect much from AB Junior or Uday Chopra or Katrina Kaif or a park bench when it comes to acting, but when Aamir Khan dials in a mediocre performance and runs with the cheque, the cynical undertone of the whole project stares at you in the face so hard that it becomes impossible to ignore.

Of course, Dhoom 3 is a grand success. Every big-name movie nowadays seems to be. It has made God-knows-how-many-crores in the time that it took you to read this post. The director, whose greatest achievement so far was in getting Anil Kapoor to shave his chest for Tashan (an effort that I believe would have required sheep-shearing machines from New Zealand), will now be the toast of Bollywood.  Abhishek Bacchan, whose performance is being praised (albeit for now by his father), has a super-hit as a hero. (Yes he would like you to believe he is the hero)

Hell, even Uday Chopra may be back for an Afridi-like encore.

And in the midst of it all,

“Decent cinema, tumhari aisi ki taisi.”

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83 thoughts on “Dhoom 3—The Review

  1. “What the fuck am I doing? I am trying to synopsize the story of Dhoom 3. There is NO story. Or, more precisely, the story is like the Congress party’s constitution,there but really not important. Suffice to say, before the end credits roll, you will get to see Uday Chopra play Jack Sparrow, Abhishek Bacchan play a homeless person, Aamir Khan ride Batman’s Bajaj, plot holes the size of Sharad Pawar, intellectual punch-counterpunch that would make a two-year-old laugh, and, by today’s standards, some really crappy special effects (the running down a skyscraper or hanging from a edge of a ledge look so “taken against a blue screen” that it’s laughable).”

    Perfect. :)

    Such a waste of time this movie was, this review was almost cathartic. Well done, as always!

  2. My two cents on this review:
    1. Too long. Too many words wasted for a waste movie.
    2 You seem to like parenthesizing sentences a lot. Not effective writing, in my opinion.

  3. Your review hit the proverbial nail on its head ! Please keep up the good work !!

    Loved the ‘relevant today as a dial-up modem’ analogy.

    The majority of Indian movie producers and movie goers set the bar pretty low ….

    All importantly, why does the viewing public accept such trash?

    • All importantly, why does the viewing public accept such trash?”

      …because intelligent and demanding audience is a MYTH.LOOKBUSY@

  4. what genre is this movie.
    oh wait it does not have any genre
    only plot holes which CHULBUL Pandey wanted to make on Chedi Singh but
    instead made it in Dhoom 3.

  5. What an analogy! I’ve not seen the movie yet and I hope I don’t get dragged to the theatre just by the hype. Indian cinema has been so disappointing lately.

  6. your review seems to be highly influenced by your views about uday n AB’s past performances.
    Difficult to trust the review to be true… guess will have to watch it to decide :-)
    but humorously written !! so was worth reading!!

  7. Nailed it brilliantly like always GB….watched the movie and went through depression and rage issues for the whole next day….finally some weekend drinking along with couple of decent movies on tv got me back to normal :)

  8. “UPA govt was an initiative to launch Rahul”! Really? You mean Congress had never initiated to form a government before 2004?
    Hate is blinding and sometimes aquires stupid proportions as evident in this piece of verbiage.

  9. I don’t know why you continue to overrate Aamir Khan – method actor? He’s just a grown up version of the Saare Zameen Par boy (albeit without teeth sticking out). Hell, you gave away *all* his expressions! Ability to draw crowds? UPA has it too. Sheep got to do what the sheep got to do.

  10. Banker: ”Whos the guy who has robbed us?”

    Chicago’s finest: “It’s a thief sir”

    ACP Pradyuman: “Lagta hai chor bohot chalaak hai! Daya, sheher ke saare bank chhan maro, aur pata karo pichle do saal mein kitne logo ne account khulvaya.”
    (Daya and cronies do so in half an hour, because the bank managers have records right under their desks).

  11. Who the f^#* cares for reviews! I don’t watch Hindi movies but that does not mean others should not. Bottomline: Whatever sells should be sold and reviewers can find better things to do.

  12. Blue blooded babalog, rimii sen’s double alphabets, rabbits and other assorted things from the Mausichigaand,Chicago does not fall under Preet Bharara’s jurisdiction, Batman’s Bajaj, Nolan guru and available only in winter,Ailaa Juhi Chawla face,sheep-shearing machines from New Zealand and above all the UPA and Dhoom series similarity……how do you come up with stuff like these? Brilliant!!
    Also, the last bank that the brothers robbed and bombed was the same enormous Beaux-Arts style opera which housed the circus.
    I feel just like the Batman series, part 2 of this series too is the best one. Part 2 of both films raised expectations which was not met with the 3rd one.

  13. so sad…some people still get hurt when you attack our super(flop)star dynasty
    but thank you for such gem of a review for these movies….:)

    • Making an accusation of plagiarism is serious. I haven’t read what he has written and we did watch the same movie. Unless you can substantiate lifts I would advise not making serious allegations under the guise of anonymity

  14. Great humorous and to the point review. I don’t think I will be able to watch it even if paid to, after this review.
    Why can’t we have classics like Gunda, where the movie meets the expectations and last in our minds forever.

  15. Poor review Arnab – as usual you have given vent to your imaginative diarrhea and vented your spleen on a movie which really never pretended to be the Silence of the Lambs. Yes, it borrowed concepts from Prestige and Now you see Me but the execution was very decent and quite entertaining. You undoubtedly go to see movies( I assume you don’t download them ) with an agenda to identify script potholes and make mental notes about what has gone wrong where. Yes a lot of movies turn out quite trashy ( e.g Yeh jawaaani hai deewani , Bodyguard, Dabbang 2, Chennai Express and even Talaash) but this one was quite appealing/attractive/entertaining and paisa vasool.
    I think as a blogger and a reviewer who has a decent fan following you now have a responsibility to write reviews that do not negatively influence a viewer’s mind.

    I would urge anyone reading this to please go watch the movie and enjoy it – its the third best Hindi movie of the year after Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Madras Cafe.

    • What weird logic. A blogger becomes popular due to his style and now he MUST change his style since he has become popular. The fact is you liked the movie and Arnab hated the movie. Accept that and move on. No need to attack differing view, the majority view if I may add.

  16. For the love of God leave the God of Cricket out of this.
    That comment was ridiculous. “Aisa gussa aaya aisa gussa aaya ki kya bataau kaisa gussa aaya” :D :D

    You’ve saved me from wasting time and money on such a stupid movie..but I wanna re-iterate..please leave HIM alone!!

  17. You are a complete retard you know that righ?!- laughed out so hard had things coming out from every pore of my body. Brilliant piece mate – ha ha ha still laughing. Aloknath eyes ;) class.

  18. Wouldnt have caught it had i not read about it somewhere … but i laughed like crazy when the background score went “We want chocolate” as Aamir raced down the building for the 1st time !!!

  19. Fantastic! No one understands babalog better than you :)
    ” ..Uday Chopra is still Uday Chopra. With the latter having ostensibly announced his retirement, (i.e. given up hope)..”

    Well done!

  20. Rubbish review. .wen the same thrash us made in Hollywood. You all so called bollywood thrashers go and clap like fools….we got independence 60 years back still our craze for white skin hasnt diminished. ..God bless you…

  21. Wonderful review GB. Wish I had read this, or made my wife read this, before I actually saw on this. Worse still – we purchased tickets for the reclining chairs in PVR, with air conditioning not working, and the height of the chair in front a bit more than what it was supposed to be. Worst – somebody justifying the “experience” of watching the movie :(

  22. i thought the movie was all rite and entertaining also. If you are looking for a plot as whole less as mudhiri dixiits choli then you should review some bengali noir film. And go easy on the brackets dude ((what is this, some C++ code)).

  23. Hehe there are few one liners that pulled it off..This is hilarious..Waiting for the review for the upcoming movies and wish you would have tried one for Chennai Express ( Ironically the highest grosser is every segment).

  24. Probably the most disarmingly honest, shrewd and flip-you-the-bird review I’ve read. More than anything else I feel inspired to imbibe your incredibly brazen style of writing in my next piece. Cheers- I will be ‘like checking you out like’ regularly. Keep writing :)

  25. my favorite bit was the firang lady who was supposedly the cop in Chicago liaising with AB and UC and the one line she had in the entire movie wuz, ‘i know some hindi, i have Indian friends’
    not to mention jousting on bikes in the ‘climax’… thats pretty much when i called it quits n left.

  26. Dhoom 3 and Aamir done a tremendous work by using BMW bikes in the film and we like it too because they used our favorite bike i.e BMW ehich is really awesome. one thing is stamped that no one can beat Aamir Khan in the World. he is best and always be known as perfectionist legend of Bollywood Industry, not only in the India but also in the whole World.

  27. Ha, ha, so funny. It’s obviously much more fun to wittily demolish something than to salute its success and popularity, isn’t it? Because – news flash – the movie is nowhere near as terrible as your review makes it out to be. It’s actually quite watchable. All those millions of people paying for tickets and letting Aamir Khan “run with the cheque” are not idiots.

    Here’s some unsolicited advice for you, because you need it: http://on.recode.net/1czrK4s

    May your 2014 be much happier than your 2013.

  28. LOL!! I had not seen the movie and I don’t need to but, the review was worth a million dollars .. Ooops Crores I mean

  29. Superb entertainment reading this…Preet Bahrara, 1990 Duck Dynasty totally flipped me out…and i want your take on the autistic other Aamir who is a drag race pro – how come? What bewilders me is why the F* has the movie earned so much?

  30. Why are you silent on AAP and its recent success in Delhi Elections? Can you please write something on this issue. Eagerly waiting for a new piece.

  31. On the reference to sammy and team being flown down for Tendulkar’s retirement, i am waiting for you to come up with a comparision to ganguly not scoring for 2-3 yrs and still being retained in the team, and then worse, scoring against zimbabwe and then making internal selection matters public by going to the press about how the coach asked him to step down. Or how he was later on retained in the team by the dalmia lead BCCI as an ‘all-rounder’ .
    On a broader level, how is it that we never see such snide references to ganguly in your blogs? You can say its your blog and your prerogative, but a sane observer will attribute this to bangali parochialism.

    • Somehow I missed this gem of a comment by JB. Since greatbong had covered this topic several times in his blog, he need not bother to answer. It’s a real pity that JB had missed those in real time. Have you read the story about the frog who was living in a well? What is your motivation to dig out a 9 year old story? What are you trying to prove now, which is already proven historically beyond any reasonable doubt. Indian media made a lot of ranting about the cricketing genius Chappell after the 2007 WC debacle. Were you going to playschool then!!!

  32. wow. isse kehte hai review. Seriously, though I agree with your every point, it also makes me worried. This article just stated with surity that there will be a Dhoom 4 and UPA is back for another term..ALAS!

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