Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Dhoom is a franchise created by India's closest-to-studio-format film production house, the Yashraj banner. The franchise is very much patterned on the mindless, fantastic action thriller genre, which is immensely popular around the world, best indicated by the long-lasting success of the James Bond movies. In such movies, the highlights usually are the display of skin and brawn, with the brain taking a total backseat.
I am always wary of such attempts in India, mainly because to adapt the genre to Indian sensibilities, our directors end up making a total muck of the same. Has anyone dared see any of the James Bond spinoffs produced in India, starring Jeetendra, Mithun, Mahendra Sandhu and Hemant Birje as varying versions of 007?
The first Dhoom was a barely acceptable flick. It was a great vehicle for John Abraham to pursuit his hobby of bike-racing. Because of him (undoubtedly the most popular star amongst kids), lots of children saw and loved the movie, although am not sure whether they should have been allowed to so conveniently witness the antics of the two barely-clad lead female actors. What I am sure of is the pride Dharam paaji would have felt on seeing his own reflection in Esha, especially when she wears something looking like a cross between a banian and a bikini. The Dhoom title track became quite popular, though one has to wait for the end-credits for Tata Young to show us the real supercharged version.
For D:II, director Sanjay Gadhvi has another wafer-thin plotline ready. He decides to provide the variation from the original by shooting in different locales across the world - in Namibia, Mumbai, Junagadh, and Rio. While the original cops have been retained (Abhishek and a rather redeeming Uday Chopra), for obvious reasons, Uday's love interest (Esha) has been dropped. Otherwise, there would have been no scope for the comic tracks involving Uday where he keeps falling for every girl he meets. In D:II, he falls for Bipasha twice, as she is in a double-role as sisters.
The elder Bipasha is Sonali, a cop in India, a guy-sort-of-buddy of Abhishek's from his college. In her college alumni meet, she wears Abhishek wife's beachwear and asks everyone not to touch her, definitely not the cops. The younger Bipasha is Monali, who frolics around a beach in Rio, where she lives in a cottage and cooks North Indian dhaba food at home. To gel in at her more Western location, she wears bikinis, and in the end does somewhat settle down with Uday. In true art movie sense, the hinted at liason between Sonali and Abhishek is left unexplained for conjecturing by the audience.
For D:II, the producer Aditya Chopra convinced the most beautiful woman in the world, Aishwarya Rai, to play a 'girl' called Sunehri. In a character which required no emoting at all, Ash manages to act, and how. Her interpretation of cool is shaking her heads like Kaka, her depiction of attitude is drooling with her lips, and her idea of sexy are strange truncated dresses which look more like table-napkins rather than miniskirts. Do specially check her out, when she also asks Hritik to do the same in their first meeting.
Ash is at her most authentic best when she is dancing to Crazy Kiya Re, like a true-blue born-and-bred crazy. The picture below captures Sunheri at her very best, with a Da Vinci expression on Ash's face, and a dress which apparently has been adapted from some Brit model Keely Hazell.

Hritik Roshan is the closest thing we can imagine to look like a God - Greek, Indian, Mexican, whatever. He is as perfect a star one can get - drop-dead gorgeous looks, superby-toned physique, awesome dancing skills, loads of screen-presence, and most importantly, very good acting skills. He had the most sensational debut in Bollywood, and it took great effort from a pack of directors (led by one Subhash Ghai) to try and murder his stardom. It is to the man's credit that he managed to comeback with a bang, that too playing a retarted grownup. His dance in the title track of D:II is nothing but out of the world.

Hritik plays the most popular villain seen on Indian screens possibly since SRK in Darr (and Don?!). He is a thief straight out of Agatha Christie's The ABC Murders, who is trying to create a geographical-and-time series around the world. However, as soon as his novel method is deciphered by supercop Abhishek, he makes a dash to Rio (my guess was he was trying to complete his initials). He keeps disguising himself incredibly well, and even has the British queen looking like him, same build. And when he is fighting with a bearded Abhishek in the climax (the beard is apparently to hide Junior's double chin), no surprise whom to root for. No wonder Bachchan got engaged to Ash in a hurry after the movie released.

There was to be a famous bikini scene for Ash, for which Adi had asked her to lose weight. But I think she lost so much weight that Adi decided to give the bikini to Bipasha, who adorned it gladly. There is also a famous smooch between Ash and Hritik, which affected some professor somewhere in Maharashtra so badly that he filed an indecency case against everyone involved in putting it on screen. I think the peck is even hotter than the flowers which used to brush each other during those songs in the movies of the 70s (when the lead pair were usually doing the unimagineable).

There is no term which describes D:II better than jhail (for the uninitiated, the ultimate degree of boredom). At a runtime of two-and-a-half hours, it is incredibly, never-ending, lengthy. However, at the time of publishing, it is rumoured that for D:III, the entire starcast will be revamped to make way for Shahrukh, and the director's reigns will be taken up by Aditya Chopra (his attempts to do a Farhan Akhtar?). I am sure I will again sucker up for it.

1 comment:

drift wood said...

just talking a walk around ur block.. er .. blog. immensely enjoyed the reviews. 'esp "I think the peck is even hotter than the flowers which used to brush each other during those songs in the movies of the 70s" .. kheee kheee !!