For the latest installment in an empty-headed franchise, Dhoom 3 sets its sights surprisingly high. This isn’t so much a bikes-and-babes tableau as an Angry Young Man saga (think Trishul on steroids), driven by the desire for revenge. Where the references in the earlier Dhoom films came from Hollywood capers, this one harks back to the kind of Bollywood masala – the plot twist in Akayla comes instantly to mind – where victory comes with a hefty price tag. The ending is suitably heavy. This story might have made a great drama, but by shoehorning it into the Dhoom template, the director Vijay Krishna Acharya squanders its possibilities. The movie on page and the movie on screen seem to have little in common. On page, we sense long-festering soul scars and fraternal discord and a love triangle with jagged edges – all of which would have merited the nearly three-hour running time. On screen, we see endless slo-mo posturing and a series of the most boring bike chases ever committed to film. We search in vain for the fast-forward button.
The scenarios are dull. The face-offs are flat. The set pieces are flabby, uninspired – we don’t get a single heist sequence, and the much-hyped Malang number pales in front of the eye-popping Cirque du Soleil staging of the Baawre song sequence in Luck by Chance. And the performances are all over the place. Uday Chopra and Katrina Kaif (who has a terrific dance number early in the film) appear to be in the stakes-free Dhoom zone. They’re, consequently, the easiest to take. The others in the cast are in heavy-duty drama mode, and only Jackie Shroff displays a semblance of panache. Had he been younger, he’d have been perfect for the part of the cop, which Abhishek Bachchan plays joylessly, as if his entire family had been slaughtered in the first reel. As for Aamir Khan, this film’s reason for being, he hasn’t played to the gallery like this in a while – and not in a good way. Like the rest of the film, he’s split in two, between drama and (unintentional) comedy. Where’s star quality when you really need it?
Copyright ©2013 Baradwaj Rangan. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.