DHOOM 3: Unleash the (pint-sized) terror!

I’m prolly gonna get lynched for this but I’m gonna go ahead and say it anyway – ‘Dhoom 3’ is an Aamir Khan movie and does not belong in the ‘Dhoom’ cadre, unless you count the quite interminable motorcycle-speedboat chases. I get that AK was just waiting to put another YashRaj Films banner under his belt and I get that Aditya Chopra was falling over himself to work with the Boy Wonder but – why not just call it an Aamir Khan movie and be done with it? Why club it in a Dhoom trilogy?

The movie has a slow beginning and picks up pace gradually, unlike its prequels. This one has an absolutely emo angle to it, of a bankrupt Indian circus in Chicago! Hang on, it begins to get even more unreal….the circus owner (Jackie Shroff) shoots himself when the bank forecloses on the debt, leaving behind twin sons Sahir and Samar (Aamir Khan) who grow up swearing to avenge Daddy-O. Vengeance takes the form of systematically looting this bank’s branches, which also involves walking down the side of buildings and tossing banknotes through the air for passers-by to think it’s raining Christmas – go figure! Sahir then buys the defunct circus back and sets about putting it in order, which is the cue for the female lead Aaliya (Katrina Kaif) to make her appearance as some Indian dancing cum acrobat diva. Meanwhile, we are led to believe that the Chicago police are totally flummoxed by this clever thief and so our good ole Indian cops Jai and Ali (Abhishek Bachchan, Uday Chopra) come to the rescue. They not only follow the trail of clues and solve the mystery in record time, but Jai also goes in for psychological warfare, playing havoc with Samar’s mind in a copycat version of the British divide-and-rule policy.

Okay. Time to pick holes! What was the sudden speech on India that was bunged in by Ali – made no sense whatsoever! Actually, this whole sequence made no sense whatsoever and was just introduced so Jai and Ali could make their entry in the story. What’s with that motorcycle polo that Jai and Sahir were indulging in toward the end?! And did anyone notice that, while the twins were busy growing up and plotting their revenge, banker Anderson (Andrew Bicknell) hasn’t aged by even a day. Regarding the twins, while it’s nice that Pa kept crooning “you’re my secret” in Samar’s ears, how is it that absolutely no one caught on there are twins involved – so how did he do the rehearsals for his circus act then? Why does Ali have that awfully silly get-up – is it to tell the world here’s an Indian cretin on the loose in Chicago?! What with his eternally goofy expression and Jai’s sullen scowl throughout, this movie had gone south a long time ago. Jai and Ali had raised quite a few laughs in the Dhoom prequels but, as I have mentioned before and no doubt will do so a coupla more times before this review is done with, this happens to be an Aamir Khan movie so most of the scenes are quite naturally hogged by him.

Nice to see Jackie Shroff back on the screen, albeit much older, with a fleshier face and pouches under his eyes. The child artiste Siddharth Nigam is quite fabulous, puts one in mind of Jugal Hansraj in ‘Masoom.’ Apart from his endearingly melting looks, he has played the young Aamir (s) superbly. Unlike her predecessors, Katrina Kaif has precious little to do other than pout and shimmy sinuously up and down ropes.

It is completely commendable to see how Aamir Khan has built up his body. And, if he has done even a fraction of those stunts himself rather than rely on a body double, then bravo indeed! The twin act is one of the most refreshing I have seen on screen, with each character completely different from the other; the confrontation scene between the brothers is par excellence. The death scene was quite rivetting too. Okay, so now that I’ve finished handing out the bouquets, let me say it straight out – action is so not his forte and it’s best he leave it alone rather than dilute his hitherto impressive body of work. I mean – motorcycles, parkour and stuff? No way, Jose! This is like expecting Akshay Kumar to deliver a ‘Taare Zameen Par!’

Julius Packiam gives us a good background score. Editing by Ritesh Soni is taut. Cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee is impeccable. Vijay Krishna Acharya is credited with the screenplay, dialogues and direction; I think dialogues could certainly have done with some better inputs. In terms of direction, he is clearly overwhelmed by the AK factor; the shift is not seamless and one can tell the break in directorial style from his and Sanjay Gadhvi’s who directed the earlier movies. Story is by VKA and Aditya Chopra, strange that – when Adi is also credited with the story for the prequels and should certainly have known where he left off! Action and stunts – Oliver Keller, Conrad Palmisano and Sham Kaushal, take a bow; the car crash scene was superbly choreographed. And speaking of which, Vaibhai Merchant doesn’t seem to have put her best foot forward; the title song picturised on Katrina could certainly have done with some “dance” moves rather than rely on a ferocious expression to carry it forward. Music by Pritam passes muster; hmm, well, the work here has been better than it has in his last few films!

As I have mentioned tirelessly from the beginning, had this been an Aamir Khan movie then it has of course, met all expectations. But when you name it as ‘Dhoom 3’ then you put me in the mindset of a vroom-boom movie and there, I keep pinching myself when I see a pint-sized hero on the bike instead of a hormones-in-motion John Abraham or a smouldering Hrithik Roshan. Aamir Khan is many things but….sexpot he ain’t!

*This review is written exclusively for The Film Writers Association of India.

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