The best shot of Dhoom 3 remains the way Aamir’s character as an adult is introduced. He wakes up perturbed from a night-mare and the camera only focuses on his bare-essentials. This is the most unheroic, uncharacteristic, but really exhilarating introduction of an arch-villain in a full-blown, frivolous ‘franchise’ of a movie. This introduction soars one’s expectations – especially of one who is an admirer of the way an artiste like Aamir places emphasis on the entire movie-making process rather than the parts of the whole sum. And then a reel later, one sees the introduction of the cop-duo, with a wonderful intro of Ali first and then Jai in a rick-shaw! What a wonderful proceeding, one thinks – Aamir all subdued running down the walls of a bank in Chicago and Abhishek’s Jai all ‘desi’ in a rickshaw in a slum-colony! This is going to be one great, multiple time-pass viewing, one thinks! Little did one realize that Aamir’s Saahir running down the bank’s building would turn out to be the one and only grand metaphorical shot in the film – of the film only going downhill!
One never had any grand-standing illusions from Dhoom3. All one expected was for the film to be coherent inasmuch as masala universe would allow and offer the usual thrills and frills. The coherence part would be taken care of Aamir Khan’s keen and native story-telling sense while the frills would be taken care of by the inherent nature of the product itself. Unfortunately, nobody takes care of anything in this movie!
So you have the masala-element of a son taking revenge because of a perceived wrong-doing on his father by a certain financial entity. The son grows up in his father’s foot-steps profession-wise, but has ulterior motives to seek revenge for the death of his father. How he goes about it with cops from Mumbai and cops that look like they got rented by Aditya Chopra for 4.00$/hour cash (get ready for a cavity search Adi if you ever cross the Atlantic) from a studio apartment from Schaumburg, Illinois, chasing him forms the remainder of this over-drawn bloat of a film. I will stop talking about the ‘story’, since talking about the story of a Hollywood-borrowed term and business-concept ‘franchise’ is as befuddling as talking about Shoaib Akhtar’s prowess in batsmanhip.
The major problem is, the writer/director ‘adds’ the element of a back-story to the acts of the ‘villain’ but does absolutely NOTHING to under-score or enhance it. The back-story is there just for the sake of it. It seems the back-story is added merely to ‘justify’ Aamir’s presence in the film. One cannot, after all, have Aamir in the film and have absolutely no ‘thought’ behind having Aamir in the film! That’s the ‘be-all’ and ‘end-all’ of the back-story. It is essential that the back-story energizes the film further. It should take the audience with it and raise the film on an emotional-graph. It doesn’t. In the over-all course of the film, the motive turns out to be just a red-herring to play safe since every flea on this Earth knows that Aamir can never beat the glamour-quotient of ‘actors’ like Abraham Sir and Roshan Jr. It simply doesn’t add ‘layers’ to this movie – to the extent that a word like ‘layers’ could be used to experience this movie.
Coming to the very, very few good things in the movie, one TRULY has to talk of Abhishek Bachchan. In a role that is obviously subservient to the off-screen legacy and on-screen demands of the product, he really holds his own. And he NEVER lets Aamir walk-away with the wolf-whistles. Watch him in the Six Flags scenes with Aamir and you realize some fine potential this actor has. He has some of the most ordinarily-written lines but he does deliver them with fine conviction. Chopra is the standard joke that he is. He is like the pepper you add onto the tomato soup. You have it, it is fine. You don’t have it, you won’t miss it. Katrina is energetic and she has been roped in only to display her physical agility and she does it remarkably well. Coming to the songs, they are ‘choreographed’ well and are eye-catching; with MALANG being the pick.
**Spoiler alert begins**
Aamir is fine as a serious ‘joker’ but he takes the advice of Robert Downey Jr too seriously and goes half ‘retard’ and messes up. He converts SRK’s act in MNIK to a gold-standard with this performance of his. He should truly be embarrassed. He also makes it clear why actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Kamal Haasan are miles, miles ahead. And why it is a miracle for others but a cake-walk for actors like Amitabh when he could walk from the sets of Mukherjee to Desai’s and enact an omlette-cooking scene with as much panache and conviction as singing ‘Mein Tera Naam Loonga’ in Bemisaal. People keep saying, ‘stop living in the past.’ But what they don’t realize is when middle-aged people like me have been spoilt with talent like that of Bachchan’s, it becomes freaking difficult to sing hyper-bole to actors post-90s, who really struggle to be versatile. While I understand and appreciate that Aamir has not allowed himself to get stuck to a sponge, in this movie, he himself is a fine example of an artiste that knows his ‘limitations’ and understands his strengths better.’ But I doubt whether he filtered that understanding into this movie. And really, God really, did he not realize that this was a total rehash of Amitabh’s Akayla? Seriously, Aamir, you should have gotten this in your sleep.
**Spoiler alert ends**
It is really not opportune to comment about the ‘stunts’ in this movie. It is not really important, and thankfully, like the Krisshit team, these guys haven’t gone bombastic on the car chases and what have you. But they sometimes appear so disjointed – not so much in execution but in continuity. In one chase sequence, cars simply keep piling on each other on Chi-town’s streets just for the heck of it. The execution alarmingly follows an insert-execute mode. Cars banged? Done. Bikes smashed? Done. White cops made to look like fools? Or in the words of Sunny Deol, made to look like FBI (fully bewakoof insaan?) Done.
It really doesn’t matter – at least for some – how much this film makes or does not make. What matters is Aamir’s keen sense of story-telling and script-sense. For a man who had the confidence in a script that commanded him not to show his face till the interval to a script that has him hogging lime-light from beginning to end, understandably in a different genre, but failing majorly, is truly a let-down. One just hopes AK hasn’t started losing touch with his obvious gift/s..
The fundamental failure of this film is the attempt at dove-tailing the essence of the rich ‘70s Amitabh Bachchan revenge-centered masala universe into a terrain as plastic as the Dhoom series. As two separate entities, these might have worked fine but as a married one, this is a troubled copulation, a very troubled one.
Simply watch Amitabh’s Trishul to know how superior a product from the ‘70s was in ALL aspects of movie-making and artistry. One feels for Amitabh’s relentless pursuit in destroying the financial entity that his father represents. The angst in him is felt and taken to outstanding heights that an epic, masala universe would allow. That film manages to hit you with a cinematic force with one ambulance that Dhoom 3 fails to do with the most expensive BMW bikes on earth..