Rohit Dhawan is an interesting name for a Hindi film director. The man obviously gets his surname from his iconic father, David, but it is his first name which lends an aura of interest to this entire name business. Rohit Dhawan seems to be inspired by ‘100 crore’ man Rohit Shetty and his stylized action sequences, and when you mix it with the inherent David Dhawan brand of humor and a bit of more inspiration from Hollywood buddy movies, you have the brand new Dhawan on the block.
Dishoom, Rohit’s follow up to his enjoyable debut buddy drama Desi Boyz, comes at you at exhilarating pace – delivering everything it has at a breakneck velocity as if knowing that even a minute extra of unwelcome stay would rob the film of its limited sheen. The film’s terrific pacing ensures two things – one, you are never really allowed to look away from the screen, no matter how predictable the state of the affair is. Two, you get sufficiently entertained through the 2-hours long runtime and hence there are no ‘time wastage’ murmurs. Well played, Rohit Dhawan!
Rohit is also hugely aided by the younger Dhawan, Varun, who effortlessly and almost single-handedly carries the film on his not-so-broad shoulders (compared to co-star John Abraham’s). His charming, easygoing personality and a Govinda-like comic timing ensures that there is enough spunk and verve going around all the time. Playing a rookie Dubai cop, Junaid Ansari, Varun brings in his irrepressible energy right from scene one – where he declares his roots in Bhindi Bazaar and loyalty for Modiji.
John Abraham broods, growls and glares in the role of a no-nonsense cop but you never lap up to his character. He becomes more human and believable in the second half after he passes a few smiles to Jacqueline Fernandez or shows a bit of brotherly love to Varun Dhawan. But together, Varun and John, form an affable team, their chemistry and bromance being the big highlight of this otherwise frivolous, one-line screenplay kind of a film.
Given the restricted promise of its story and screenplay, the film is surprisingly smooth and crafty in the first half that almost seems like a fiesta of good looking people (Nargis Fakhri stuns in a black bikini) doing fun things in great locales. But the curse of the second half punches Dishoom hard and the cracks in its writing start to show up. For example, a talent like Akhsaye Khanna is brought back to the silver screen (thank goodness) only to be given a measly role of an undercooked villain. The veteran actor does well within the constraints of his poorly written role but it is a pity how his character lacks depth and substance. Ditto for Jacqueline Fernandez’s role of a petty/pretty thief who seems to accompany the boys on their mission just to normalize the sex ratio (the girl is slaying it in the immensely enjoyable Sau Tarah Ke).
Despite its sketchy treatment of characters and more than generous ‘creative liberties’ in the second half, Dishoom never really lets you down. To be honest, even the entire rescue effort for the missing top cricketer (played by Saqib Saleem) is not completely unintelligent and makes you believe in the brains of the writers for a while. And that is what Dishoom is all about – a sum total of harmlessly mediocre bits and a few genuinely funny parts.
Talking of genuinely funny parts, the funniest gag in the film is a long-running joke about a stranger (the oh-so-familiar voice of Satish Kaushik) repeatedly calling Varun to tell him that no one likes his profile on a matrimonial site. There is also a hilarious cameo by Akshay Kumar in the first half that is bound to get the loudest laugh. Akshay keeps years of his cultivated macho man image aside to play a homosexual, party-loving man with a cute, little bun.
Thanks to this sporadic dose of humor, its crisp runtime and a smart showcase of its limited strengths, Dishoom is a fun, popcorn-friendly outing. It is your typical masala entertainer – yes, but it does not take you, your time or your brain for granted. And that’s a big relief.