To think about it, the plot of DHAMAAL is as straight forward as this. There is ten crore worth of booty hidden at a park in Goa and there are five men after it. Four of them are good for nothing youngsters [Riteish Deshmukh, Arshad Warsi, Javed Jaffrey, Ashish Chaudhary] while the fifth is a cop [Sanjay Dutt]. Later they are joined by a wannabe-dacoit [Sanjay Mishra] and Ashish's father [Asrani]. Finding the booty isn't a rocket science in itself. It is the journey from Bombay to Goa which turns out to be one, courtesy the stupidity that comes so intrinsically to each of them.
With a plot like this, it is obvious that director Indra Kumar and his team of writers had to come up with a gag a minute to keep the momentum going for this two and a half hour film. They succeed to a very large extent as the first half is an absolute breezy. The response from audience is simply ballistic as one scene after another brings on rip roaring laughter and absolute entertainment.
From introduction of each of the characters to the obituary visits which follow to the interaction with an encounter cop [Murali Sharma] to the four being arrested by Sanjay Dutt to the vintage-car-running-through-the-forest to an eventual escape from Dutt's clutches - each of the scenes have been so well written and crisply edited there is literally not a single moment to catch your breath.
Over confidence of characters played by Riteish and Arshad coupled with Javed's hero-worship for anyone who is intelligent around him to a constantly whining Ashish is delightful to watch as there is not a minute that goes by when one is not rolling with laughter. In fact throughout the first half, the film moves in a manner as if it has already attained it's climax and could culminate any moment. That's primarily due to film's plot which allows the narrative to go on and on as long as writers plug it with witty one liners and interesting situations.
The second half begins on a promising note as well as the first 30 minutes continue to take you through a journey of an extended climax. The problems arise in the last 30 minutes of the film. Some of the scenes get on a never ending mission which threatens to dilute the terrific impact created in the first half. No, they don't bore you, but they make you strongly feel that they could have been much better by either being better written or not being there at all. Sanju's cliff hanging sequence, Riteish's constant escape from the dacoits, Ashish's problems with flying a private plane - they all bring on laughs that fade into smiles after a while.
What is unpardonable is the film's eventual climax that doesn't seem to end. The spat in the garden followed by hot air balloon chase and ultimate performance at a charity function are not just long drawn; they also do not go with the hilarious mood of the film that was so very well created till just about 20-30 minutes.
Still, all this doesn't take away from the fact that DHAMAAL is a complete 'paisa-vasool' entertainer as long as one is willing to ignore the dying moments of the film. Also, if at least 15-20 minutes could be edited in the second half, the film would turn out to be completely true to it's title.
That's because even as the show culminates, there are number of moments that you carry home with some of the one liners, slapstick and gags being truly amusing. Watch out for the scenes where Arshad and Javed take car lift first with a Bengali followed by a Tamilian. Riteish's imitation of Late Sanjiv Kumar is amazing while Arshad's calculation of a car's speed required to jump over a bridge gets on quite a few chuckles.
While Riteish and Arshad are quite good as expected, it is Javed and Ashish who are revelations. Javed Jaffrey is seen less but whenever he is [SALAAM NAMASTE, TA RA RUM PUM],