An ambitious but meandering and dull sequel
By MovieTalkies.com, 24 November 2006
A meandering and overlong sequel to the original Dhoom, Dhoom 2 is an ambitious film that spends too much time and effort on its stunts (good stuff by Vic Armstrong and Allan Amin) and overlooks the importance of plot and build-up. The film with its stellar cast has an impressive Hrithik Roshan as the ace villain Aryan, this time around with beautiful Aishwarya Rai for company as Sunehri. The villainous pair add a spark to the Dhoom franchise and the makers could not have had a better substitution for John Abraham. Reprising their roles, Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra are also in good form with Bipasha Basu as ACP Shonali Bose as the new recruit. The cops versus villains set-up is simple, concentrating essentially on the screen presence of the stars with slow motion introductions, exits and ramped-up sequences taking over from any coherent screenplay ploy to build action or thrill. As a result, though Dhoom 2 looks palatable and will be devoured by the popcorn-munching audience who prefer to leave their brains behind when venturing out to the cinema, the slightly more selective and intelligent audience would decidedly have to stifle a yawn or two as the predictable action unfolds.
But Hrithik Roshan as Aryan saves the show, proving that Krrish was just the precursor to the actual screen presence and power that this actor can exhibit. From great disguises thanks to terrific prosthetics, to some class-act dance thanks to Shiamak Davar’s energetic choreography during the title song sequence, to some stupendous stunts which add new dimension to Hindi cinema action, Hrithik pulls off all and more with style and élan. The charm the actor displays in some badly written scenes opposite Abhishek Bachchan prove that the actor can pull a performance out of thin air like a deft magician! Comfortable and relaxed in usual Abhishek style, Junior Bachchan displays an acting prowess that has grown from film to film, proving his superstar mettle. One wonders why the writing is so ordinary and almost non-existent as the actors seem to be just doing their own thing to save the day.
Coming to the disappointing story, this time around the cops are chasing an elusive thief who leaves a mysterious ‘A’ as his signature at the scene of every crime, beginning with the theft of a bejeweled crown on a speeding train in Namibia and ending with the theft of a set of the first coins ever created as currency, in Rio. In hot pursuit of Hrithik’s A is Abhishek’s DCP Jai Dixit, and his bumbling side kick, Uday’s Ali Akbar. The ideas are borrowed from the ace thief Phantom from the Pink Panther series who inevitably left a glove at every grand burglary pulled off. The confrontations between Hrithik and Abhishek also remind you of the one-on-ones of DeNiro and Pacino in Heat where cop and villain share exchanges that add high drama to the central pursuit. However, Hrithik and Abhishek don’t really have the lines nor the set-up that lends itself to high drama and the actors are left to their own tricks. The direction lacks the necessary tautness that would have helped the film in its momentum and almost the entire first half of the film is spent in just establishing characters, aimlessly wandering from one scene to another. When it comes to the thrills, the problem the film faces is though the action sequences are superlative, they don’t draw you to the edge of the seat nor do you ever bite your nails in excitement. This is essentially because the writers and to a certain extent the director, make the cardinal mistake of taking the ‘suspension of disbelief’ concept a bit to far, with Aryan making good his escape not in the nick of time against all odds, but with great ease and comfort. This dilutes the action and thrill to the extent that you simply stop wondering how the ace thief will make good his escape this time, and you yawn through the action and chase sequences.
Stretching its need to ensure the lead stars all get their dues on the big screen, when the first Bipasha Basu disappears at the interval stage, she is brought back as her twin sister Monali, now residing in Rio De Janero. Call that an easy solution! Of course, she also adds to the relationship angle, getting paired opposite Ali (a great line for Uday when he says there is an Ali in Monali hence their pairing was destiny is hilarious!). However, the film’s strength is its gloss and its superb production values, reminding you of Hollywood films like the Mission Impossible franchise. Even the concept of an ace disguise artist, some finely planned grand thefts and mountain-dangling stunts are heavily borrowed from the franchise, but are well executed.
The songs by Pritam are disappointing this time around, and the makers seem to have an original Dhoom hangover in the compositions. Sadly, even the background score also does not add the necessary thrill elements to the action unfolding on screen, distracting you with a multitude of Dhoom variations as vocals. Never has a theme been so oft-repeated and abused in a franchise, and Dhoom 2 beats Monty Norman’s Bond theme composition and Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther theme composition in repetition and frequency. While both Bond and the Pink Panther franchise deployed the theme with great subtlety to fuel thrills and antics respectively, the Dhoom 2 vocal theme variation coupled with its instrumental signature gets over-bearing and relentless, with rarely a breather.
In conclusion, a great-looking film with dazzling visuals, but an empty film that is devoid of excitement. The marquee superstars and the great production ensure that the paying audience is not disappointed and the paisa is vasool; alas, one wonders what the end product would have been had the writing and the direction lived up to the performances.