Movie Review : Dum Maaro Dum

Mit Jaaye Ghum (Dum Maro Dum)Rating : Below Average (2.5/5)
Genre : Thriller
Year : 2011
Running time : 2 hours 10 minutes
Director : Rohan Sippy
Cast : Abhishek Bacchan, Bipasha Basu, Govind Namdeo, Rana Daggubati, Smit-Prateik Babbar, Anaitha Nair, Aditya Pancholi
Kid rating : PG-15

DUM MAARO DUM : DUMB MAARO DUMB !

Remember “Dum maaro Dum, mit jaaye gum” ? Yes, that catchy, sing-songy ode to the free-wheeling, hippie lifestyle of the 70s ? Well, Zeenat Aman’s insouciant number now has a modern twist, courtesy Deepika Padukone and director Rohan Sippy. Sippy also directs the film of the same name. It’s shot in Goa. Starring in it are the usual suspects : Sippy’s favorite actor of the month Abhishek Bachchan, and she of the swirling tresses – Bipasha Basu.

Bachchan is ACP Vishnu Kamath who, having lost his near and dear ones, is on a mission with a vengeance – to wipe out Goa’s drug mafia. Commandeered into service by Goa’s political head honcho, Kamath swings into action. As he nabs several small fry, he knows he has to do something to get the big game players to reveal themselves.

Prateik Babbar plays Lawrence Eduardo Gomes or Lorry, a student looking for a US school scholarship. Unable to get one, this blubbering babe-in-the-woods falls afoul of the drug mafia. In a whole lotta trouble with no place to go, Lorry can’t see a way out of his predicament. Along a parallel track runs the story of Zoe (Bipasha) and Joki (Rana Daggubati), a young couple who find themselves broken apart by Joki’s villainous boss Lorsa Biscuta. Once burnt, Joki who’s also a friend of Lorry cannot bear to see the same fate for him, and tries to help ACP Kamath in the good fight.

Yes, we know where this is heading; there’s a villain out there and there’s a man of law in hot pursuit. I expect the chase to be interesting (present high ticket price in evidence). I am then, a tad disappointed that this film didn’t meet the high expectations I had. Why did I have them in the first place, you ask ? Well, firstly the film is directed by the director of the entertaining Bluffmaster. Secondly, Bacchan, for all his un-acting, makes a decent policeman.

It is not that the film didn’t have its high points. Sippy introduces his characters well. As an example – he transitions to ACP Kamath’s life from a scene in the airport, where the ACP is catching Lorry red-handed. Where we were following Lorry’s naïve antics, we transition to charting Kamath’s life’s course; so it’s one story leading to another and all that transitioning looks smart and snappy. There is also some very sophisticated looking cinematography, slick, slo-mo action in myriad hues and interesting angles.

This film has many characters, but they lack depth and the oomph which makes them truly redeemable. Kamath is passable, but Joki (who morphs into a secondary hero) is inconsistent and weak. He apparently wants to be susegaad, easy-going, but this zalim duniya won’t let him be. Having stood by mutely as his world is ripped apart, he seems to come to life only later; we know not what compels him now that didn’t compel him then. Then there is the spineless Lorry Gomes, who is besotted with a smart, brainy US-bound gal. Lorry’s character is almost child-like (all he does is heave and sob), and a very unlikely cog in the wheel here.

But, let’s spread the blame where it’s due; yes, Sippy did see his leads display their limited talents and could not exhort them to do better (crime enough), but the supporting cast did no better. In this film the supporting cast was very important because DMD is kind of like a Hollywood-ian drama, in that it is not just hero-based. The hero comes in after about one-third of the film, and the story is carried on the shoulders on the secondary characters. You’d think those shoulders would be strong. Sigh! You’d be wrong.

South India actor Rana Daggubati who plays Joki, reminded me of a dying fish – he opens his mouth to speak, but gives the impression of gasping for air. Yes, he has physical presence but uses it ineffectually. His character has strength but Rana lends it impotence. He has hero-dom but is not the hero. Rana needs acting classes. ASAP.

Smit-Prateik Babbar plays mealy-mouthed Lorry, and wails and blubbers so much, I longed to give him a tissue. Bipasha, ofcourse, is known for her very limited histrionic skills. Then there is the villain Lorsa Biscuita played by yester-year blue-eyed hero Aditya Pancholi, who is one of the rare Bollywood-ian personalities I’m allergic to. Yeah. Hives. Really. I went armed with Benadryl. I enjoyed watching Bachchan, the impeccable Govind Namdeo (he plays Inspector Rane), and Anaitha Nair (she plays Lorry’s girlfriend). Unfortunately they couldn’t compensate for the truck-load of bad acting displayed by the others.

Direction was just about passable, the writing was sloppy, the screenplay flagged (I took a few mini-naps when it really went south) and the story was full of logical holes. I didn’t care about the characters, and the villains didn’t scare me. For the high-octane thriller that this film was trying to be, you’d think the screen would go crack-pop-sizzle with all that emotion and energy. But it’s actually pretty flat, save for Deepika’s energetic dancing. Sippy has tried to be edgy with the cop-robber plot, but it reminded me of an old 70s-80s film. And not in a good way. Plus there was gratuitous vulgarity, so there goes the classiness angle. Definitely not a film for kids under 15.

Yes, this film is better than some, but I’m being harsh on it, just as I am on others which could have been so much better but weren’t. Please brave it, if you still wish to. Else, just write me a Thank You comment for saving you the trouble 🙂 and we’ll call it quits.

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