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Dhoom Movie Review

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Dhoom
Banner:Yash Raj Films
Cast:Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham, Udhay Chopra, Esha Deol, Rimi Sen
Direction:Sanjay Gadhvi
Production:Aditya Chopra

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Dhoom
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Dhoom - Not a dull moment

IANS  [Sunday, August 29, 2004]
Comments

"Dhoom machale dhoom machale dhoom" -- you hear it so often in the course of this 135-minute excursion on skidding wheels that by the end of it all, you are hopelessly addicted to Pritam's contagious tune.

If it's the HIV virus in this week's other release "Phir Milenge", it's "Dhoom machale dhoom" in....er, "Dhoom".

Aptly titled, "Dhoom" creates a zigzagging zoom across chic frames. It doesn't let you stop to catch your breath. It doesn't even let you think about the excruciating improbabilities that litter the skyline.

This has got to be one of the noisiest soundtracks heard in recent times. If it's not hell on wheels, then its Salim-Suleiman's brake-the-winds banshee background score, recreating the sounds of guys having fun. And then throw in a couple of women with clothes that look like nappies turned into bikinis!

You have a real guys' flick crammed with gadgets that stare down at us with enticing defiance.

This flick-off-a-wrist dares you not to have fun. "How can you not surrender to our all-systems-go brand of in-your-face filmmaking?" -- the tone of narration seems to suggest.

Not brain-dead and certainly not a dull moment in sight, Dhoom flicks the essence of the Hollywood speed thriller -- style and shrieking sounds -- and turns it to its own advantage.

While wry cop Jai (played by Abhishek Bachchan) and marauder on the bike Kabir (John Abraham, so deapan he makes you thankful for the momentum in the narrative) are single-mindedly urbane in their design and purpose, lovable crook Ali (played with lovable crookedness by Uday Chopra), is a straightforward desi stereotype.

You can trace him down to Ashok Kumar in the old "Kismet", and then you can carry forward his lineage to Manmohan Desai's "Amar Akbar Anthony".

While Uday Chopra's rapport with Abhishek's Bengali wife (Rimii Sen) has echoes of "Lethal Weapon", John Abraham's fiendish transformation from a pizza boy to bank robber is a subversion of the Superman legend.

The power of moving images is employed in "Dhoom" to create a stimulating heady, almost aphrodisiac world of amorality. The cop on the prowl and the villain on the bike are almost interchangeable in their world-view.

"We could've been friends," the biker keeps reminding the cop, voicing the moral muddle that "Dhoom" whips up in a stormy display of in -your-face machismo.

In the first half, the narrative borrows heavily from Hollywood films like "Gone In 60 Seconds", "The Fast & The Furious" and biker movies of the 1960s like "Easy Rider". Post-intermission we are taken into a casino in a hotel for a climax that echoes Steven Soderberg's "Ocean's 11".

To director Sanjay Gadhvi's credit, the stormy mélange that takes the plot from "Kismet" in the 1940s to "Ocean's 11" in 2002, never gets unwieldy or even remotely vulgar.

Though fast paced and amoral, the world of "Dhoom" is essentially harmless and fun-filled. The violence is contained and often comic-bookish. The chases and stunts, marvellously orchestrated by stunt director Allan Amin, hide the enormous absurdities in the narrative.

In a strange way, "Dhoom" attempts to redefine the laws of formula filmmaking. Its chic and anchorless narrative mode catches you off-guard. The focus on monstrous machines stops short of being overdone, thanks to the director's control over his material.

The villain topples over the precipice at the end. Fortunately the plot doesn't.

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