Is this the same guy that made Taare Zameen Par and Satyamev Jayate, I wondered in disbelief sitting through Aamir Khan’s mind-numbing after mind-numbing scene in Dhoom 3. The same guy who is called Mr. Perfectionist? Yes, it is a Vijay Krishna Acharya film through and through but don’t Aamir possess a reputation of giving his inputs, solicited or otherwise, to every movie he comes in contact with? Besides, Tashan wasn’t that bad, and the previous Dhoom installments, specially the original, was pretty good. So, what went wrong here? Haven’t they learnt anything in almost a decade of filmmaking?
Dhoom 3 is excruciatingly painful to watch. To be fair, the trailer and the promo posters did warn us. The first thing you notice there – Abhishek Bacchan and Aamir Khan pouting and scowling in every frame. Instead of giving the desired effect of looking mean and business-like, their facial expressions just look silly and petulant. What was passable in a 2-minute trailer becomes really annoying in a 3-hour movie, like these facial expressions have been Botoxed permanently on their face. And yes, the movie is that long but that wouldn’t have been a problem if it were interesting in the first place. Time is relative, and we Indians are used to long-winded movies with songs, dance, melodrama, the whole kit and caboodle. Even in the West, all three movies in The Lord of the Rings trilogy were far longer than Dhoom 3, but no one ever complained about it, because you simply don’t notice how time passes when you’re watching something that gripping.
Then there’s the sentence that was shown in the trailer that should’ve given us an indication of the quality of dialogue in the movie, “Bank waalon, tumhari aisi ki taisi.” Watch the movie and you will find more gems like “iss area ki saari hot Asian girls aa ke audition de chuki hai” and Abhishek Bacchan advising Uday Chopra to focus less on “Kamasutra” and a bit more on “kaam.”
The posters possess the same quality as the movie itself. They look like a bad Photoshop job done by an amateur rather than a poster for one of Bollywood’s top grossing franchise.
The songs are nothing worth mentioning either. Having given us such stellar soundtracks like Barfi! and Life In A… Metro, Pritam struggles to come up with a single memorable song here. Even this iteration of the breakthrough original Dhoom Machale struggles to hit a chord.
You know the story by now, but if you don’t, I wont spoil it here. Suffice to say, it is a mish-mash of magic tricks and heist jobs, none of which is original. There is the Joker angle from The Dark Knight, the card tricks inspired by The Prestige and many more that has been shamelessly copied without even a nod to the source matter. Not surprising considering Aamir Khan admitted that he didn’t understand Memento, the, ahem… inspiration for Ghajini. There are some feeble attempts at surprise twists, notably one just before the interval but you don’t need to be a human Hayabusa to see it coming from miles away.
The Dhoom franchise has never been about good storytelling though. Rather, it gave Indian viewers was their first taste of big-budget heist movies, fast bikes defying gravity and physics, and skimpily clad women for eye candy. Dhoom 3 delivers on the last one. Katrina Kaif’s turn as the circus-performer turned partner-in-crime is exactly what she’s intended in the film for. Her midriff-baring, sports bra-flaunting dance number sizzles with raw sensuality and matches up to – and even surpasses – Eesha Deol (is it two Ees or one right now?) and Aishwarya Rai before her. Jackie Shroff as Aamir’s father is cringe worthy to watch, and so is Abhishek Bacchan. Even though he’s the film’s main protagonist on paper, junior Bacchan fails to deliver a single moment that will have the audience rooting for him instead of the villain. For a cop who’s so smart as to be recruited by Chicago’s top brass, he comes across as incredibly dumb, allowing the thief to get his leeway. All the time. Even his mock swagger and flashy Aviators don’t rescue this abysmal performance.
And Aamir doesn’t do such a good job of all the screen time allotted to him either. With a glazed look on his face, he goes about the motions with all the finesse of Steve Carrell in Get Smart. Minus the acting. He neither looks as menacing a master thief as John Abraham nor does he display the mental acuity of Hrithik Roshan. The surprising saving grace of the acting department comes in the form of Uday Chopra who elicits a few laughs with his skirt-chasing street-smart yet bumbling character.
For a franchise that built its name on high-octane motorcycle theatrics, Dhoom 3 displays a lot of negligence to the core character of the film. While the previous two movies made the Suzuki name synonymous with ‘Dhoom-wala bikes,’ this time the producers have decided to go with BMW Motorrad. In place of the legendary GSX1300R Hayabusa, we now have the world’s current fastest and most powerful production bike, the BMW S1000RR, and its naked sibling, the K1300R. This could’ve been an opportunity to up the ante and deliver even more dizzying stunts but Vijay Krishna Acharya don’t. The chase sequences use slow motion so extensively that you don’t get any sense of speed or realism that defines good movie chases. Instead, what we are treated to are panoramic vistas of the Chicago skyline, and action sequences that would have done Rajnikant or Chuck Norris proud. Aamir’s BMW K1300R performs stunts that would’ve baffled the Autobots from Transformers, and the American cops are caricatures, standing around clueless most of the time. The action gets so ludicrous at times that you wonder if Rohit Shetty had any input in the making process. The helicopter shots are beautiful the first few times, then they start grating on your nerves, and you just wish they would get on with the story.
Not that there’s much of a story either. There’s not a single interesting moment in the first half on this three-hour movie, and it just plods along, picking up steam only in the last few dozen minutes.
Even in the trailer itself, hardcore bike aficionados have picked apart the glaring editing and compositing faults in the movie. Much like the Lamborghini Gallardo in Race 2, the BMW S1000RR transforms into a badly modified Yamaha R15 in one scene. No problem with that, as it actually makes sense not to use a Rs. 25 lakh superbike for an action scene, and replace it with a Rs. 1.25 lakh Indian bike, but they could’ve done it a bit more subtly. Or at least edited it properly in post-processing. The BMW is also apparently capable of riding through any obstacle the Chicago landscape can throw at it, including water. If Jesus would’ve lived in the present century, this BMW is what he would have ridden around Galilee.
As a fan of the first two films, Aamir Khan, and a motorcycle enthusiast, I had a hard time sitting through Dhoom 3. Sanjay Gadvi, if he were a petty man, would be gloating at the horrible movie that Yash Raj Films has produced without his involvement. If he were a better sort of person, he would feel pity for his former screenwriter.