Friday, April 22, 2011

REVIEW 32: DUM MAARO DUM


Release date:
April 22, 2011
Director:
Rohan Sippy
Cast:
Abhishek Bachchan, Rana Daggubati, Bipasha Basu, Aditya Pancholi, Prateik Babbar


Yeh Michael Barbosa kaun hai

It’s a question that occupies the mind and life of ACP Vishnu Kamath who has been hand-picked by the Union Home Minister to clean up drug-ravaged Goa. The state has been enslaved by dealers. But the kingpin is an ephemeral creature who no one seems to have ever met. Is he young or old, Indian or foreign, is he in fact a she? But the real question is, does Dum Maaro Dum have what it takes to keep us glued to our seats till we get the answer to that first question?

The story of DMD is told through three parallel tracks: Lorry (Prateik Babbar) aspires to study in the US with his girlfriend but doesn’t have the money to make it there without a scholarship; Kamath (Abhishek Bachchan) is a man battling the ghosts of his past along with the spectre of Michael Barbosa; musician/DJ Joki (Rana Daggubati) is desperate to redeem himself for his earlier failure to stand up for his girlfriend Zoe (Bipasha Basu). Tying them all together is the evil drug lord Lorsa Biscuta (Aditya Pancholi).

The film establishes each character firmly and succinctly. The actors are good; the background score by Midival Punditz is evocative of the sadness underlying the loveliness all around; and Amit Roy’s camera thankfully goes beyond the clich├ęd images of Goa’s beaches and churches, beyond even those traditional Portuguese homes and the roadways flanked by fields, and travels all the way up to atmospheric graveyards and the lonely patches of green in the countryside where anything could happen when no one’s watching. Till the interval comes around, director Rohan Sippy takes us along on the ride with his hands very firmly on the wheel. But his grip slackens post-interval, so does the pace, and the run-up to the climax followed by an overly elongated epilogue left me with a vague sense of dissatisfaction.

Directors of crime thrillers are all manipulating us; the trick is to keep us unaware of those manipulations so that they don’t get irritating. In DMD a couple of annoying red herrings are thrown our way while we try to figure out who Michael Barbosa is. There’s a voice threatening Lorry in whispers. It was just not disembodied enough and if I could spot the actor behind that voice, so could anyone. Then there’s the pointed look that sultry item girl Deepika Padukone throws at ACP Kamath before she disappears into a crowd. What was that about, huh Missy?

Making matters worse is Pritam’s insipid music. And I’m not just talking about one of the best-remembered songs in Hindi film history that he’s reworked into a pale shadow of itself. To be fair to Jaideep Sahni, his cheeky lyrics “Oonche se ooncha banda, potty pe baithe nanga …,” may actually have been fine IF they weren’t being imposed on a dull remix of RD’s classic.

But there’s also much to like in DMD. The characters are all well-rounded, especially ACP Kamath and Zoe. Kamath’s transformation from bribe-taker to upright policeman comes through a painful journey so well described by Lorsa Biscuta at one point. There’s one particularly deftly handled scene in which Kamath’s dead wife seems to speak to him. It’s touching, yet not maudlin. Abhishek pitches in a neat performance as the broodingly intense drug-buster, though a lot of the impact is diluted by repeated visitations by that same dead spouse which become tacky and silly after a point. There’s a scene in which Lorry angrily asks Kamath, “What would you know about family?!” We know by then that Kamath does know. But I guess because it’s assumed that we are dense, the sound of the car crash that killed his wife plays out in the background at that point.

While those irritants should be attributed to the director along with the pointless references to Amitabh Bachchan’s iconic films, Abhishek must share the blame for an entire interrogation scene he does which is woven around dad’s Khaike paan Banaraswala. Why was it necessary? Why why why?!

The character that worked best for me in this film is Zoe who, in a sense, personifies a physically beautiful yet internally scarred Goa. It’s not a large role, but it’s one that goes beyond the sexy body and endless legs that Bipasha has come to signify in the public eye. The actress shines as Zoe who makes the journey from youthful zest to bitterness and ultimate despair.

The rest of the characters too are well played
. They fit well into the Goan milieu without caricaturing Goans in the stereotypical “Hum God se church mein jaake prayer karenga” Bollywood manner. But there is a strange and inexplicable disconnect between Rana Daggubati’s personality in the film and his voice/dialogue delivery. Rana is the grandson of legendary producer D. Rama Naidu and hero of the Telugu hit Leader. The handsome star makes his Hindi film debut playing Joki in DMD. At first I assumed that someone else had dubbed for him. Then I read news reports that he has dubbed for himself. Perhaps then he was too pre-occupied with camouflaging his borderline Telugu accent (which, by the way, I find quite alluring Mr Daggubati). Either way, something’s not quite right here. If anyone felt that Rana didn’t sound Goan enough for DMD, surely an explanation for the uncommon style of speaking could have been gently worked into the script! I mean c’mon, this is a Bollywood where a Katrina Kaif has made a career for herself while playing an NRI or a phoren-returned heroine in film after film just to justify that twang! More’s the pity considering that Rana is a tall, strapping hottie and he certainly looks this part!
So Dum Maaro Dum is a stark tale of what lies beneath a picture postcard setting. It’s violent without being self-indulgently gruesome. I liked the film very much as it unspooled in the first hour. But the inconsistent treatment has ensured that it ends up as a nice film in which the second half doesn’t live up to the promise of the first.

Rating (out of five): **3/4
CBFC Rating:                       A (The producer’s rep explains that while the Censor Board didn’t ask for cuts, the I&B Ministry asked for the deletion of the dialogue: “Yahan sharaab sasti, ladkiyan usse bhi sasti aur zindagi toh muft mein hi bik jaati hai.” It has been removed.)
Running time:                        135 Minutes
Language:                              Hindi

Photograph courtesy: http://www.facebook.com/DumMaaroDum

5 comments:

  1. BEING A HOLY SATURDAY. I WENT FOR DA MUCH HYPED DUM MARO DUM INSTEAD OF EASTER MID NITE MASS.
    THERE WERE SUM UNANSWERED QUESTIONS IN DA FILM.. I WENT WITH AVERAGE EXPECTATIONS AND CAME OUT WITH MIXED RESPONSE TOWARDS THE FILM.
    THE FIRST HALF WAS MUCH FASTLY PACED WITH THE INTRODUCTION OF THE CHARACTERS WHO MEET AT THE AIRPORT. THE FIRST HALF SHOWS ONLY THE BEACH LIFE OF GOA. THE DIRECTOR SAYS THAT HE USED GOA AS THE BACK DROP FOR HIS FILM. BUT I PERSONALLY FEEL THAT HE HAS REALLY SHOWN GOA AS A WHOLE TOURISM MANIA. ONE THING I WOULD LIKE TO HIGHLIGHT THAT.THE FILM IS ENTIRELY SHOT ONLY IN NORTH GOA". NORTH GOA IS MOSTLY FAMOUS FOR THE RUSSIANS NIGERIANS etc. THE SECOND HALF WAS MUCH MORE INTERESTING THAN THE FIRST. THE SUSPENSE WAS WELL KEPT TILL THE END. THE FILM WAS ENJOYABLE IN PARTS AND HAS SOME SPOON FULL OF KONKANI DIALOGUES AND SONG(io baaile io) SUNG BY THE NIGHTINGALE OF GOA ie: LORNA CORDEIRO.. SOME SCENES WERE VERY CATCHY SPECIALLY THE LAST FIFTEEN MINUTES. THE SCREENPLAY NEEDED A LOT OF POLISHING. THE CHARACTERS WERE WELL FITTED IN THEIR ROLES. PRATEIK BABBAR ONCE AGAIN SURPRISES THE AUDIENCE WITH HIS MATURE ACTING. ABHISHEK BIT OVERPLAYED HIS ROLE. THE DUSKY BEAUTY BIPS SCORES WELL 2 AND SHARES A QUIET COMPATIBLE CHEMISTRY WITH RANA. THE CAMERA WORK WAS OK AND NOT MUCH NEW THINGS TO WATCH ON THE CANVAS. THE ITEM SONG FEATURING DEEPIKA HAS ONLY STYLE AND NO SUBSTANCE. INSHORT IT WAS A DUMLESS ITEM NUMBER. ROHAN SIPPY DOES JUSTICE TO HIS DIRECTION AND HENCE THE EDITING NEEDED A LITTLE TRIM. MUSIC BY PRITAM IS AVERAGE. TE AMO IS GOOD FOR EARS. AND THE TITLE TRACK GOOD FOR GROOVY MOVES.. WINDING UP THIS REVIEW.. DUM MAARO DUM IS A PSYCHEDELIC THRILLER THAT HAS OVERDOSE OF DRUGS SEX AND LOVE..
    I RATE IT 2.5 OUT OF 5

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  2. Dum Maaro Dum had full DUM in its first half with the super cop Kamath shouldering the film successfully, but a laggard second half with the protagonist been side lined and supporting cast finishing the job on behalf of him failed to evoke any DUM towards the end. If the latter part of the film had been fine-tuned with a gripping climax, it could have been rated as one of the riveting crime thriller of this decade. And how could we believe that a brave, intelligent police officer, who on the verge of finishing a high profile mission succumbed in such a pathetic way!! Also the retro narration of ACP Kamath puzzled me. Here ACP has been portrayed as a bribe-taker at the starting point of his characterization. But there is no mention about how he became corrupted or any particular circumstance which dragged him to be a bribe-taker. It could have been better if the script writer used any peculiar incident to justify this. At least a poor family back ground might have served the purpose. Even though the writer tries to convince that the bribe act is done to make Kamath's family financially sound, it is quite hard to digest. Here the hero is an ACP; not just a police constable to struggle hard for running a family......yes, a nuclear family!! So my question remains.....What was the need to showcase the past of ACP Kamath as a bribe-taker? Does it make any impact in the story line?? What difference does it make if ACP is honest throughout the film??? In my opinion, there is a situation in the second half where the bribe-act of Kamath could be justified. When the drug lord Biscuta offers money to be with him, Kamath could have accepted it and later trace out Barbosa after gaining Biscuta's faith. If so, the whole story might have been really interesting than the present one. But I think Sippy got some inspiration from the stupendous success of Chulbul Pandey to boil Kamath in similar passion. Also the antagonist, who at one stage offered a neck to neck fight with the hero was perished in a cheaper manner. And the encounter scene where Kamath rescues Lorry from a group of prisoners seemed to be purely out of logic. The incident took place in ACP's den; then why he need to struggle hard in overcoming the situation??
    But in spite of all these minor flaws, DMD offers a lot in cherishing the audience; both in the technical side and acting part. Amit's cinematography was top-class. Aarif's editing was racy & crisp; but lost momentum in the latter half. Pritam caters some melodious tunes (expect the title track) after a long gap; but a couple of songs were inapt and misplaced in the film. In the acting part, AB proves his mettle in depicting ACP Kamath with utmost perfection and immense power. Prateik affirms that he is a natural actor with all the emotions reflected in his face as required. Bipasha's character could have been better if the writer puts some more depth in it. Rana's poor dubbing made his character a misery. All together DMD can be tagged as the come back vehicle of AB which may appeal to the masses owing to its refreshing treatment & lively characterization.

    Dyne

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  3. "The character that worked best for me in this film is Zoe who, in a sense, personifies a physically beautiful yet internally scarred Goa. It’s not a large role, but it’s one that goes beyond the sexy body and endless legs that Bipasha has come to signify in the public eye. The actress shines as Zoe who makes the journey from youthful zest to bitterness and ultimate despair."

    love ur review. the fact that u kinda read between the lines, read more than what was shown on screen. tho zoe could have been even better developed in my opinion. it was a sad, lonely world that was shown, i felt - with characters adrift in it - also, a chasm between high marks and solidity of character. overall, a slightly desperate world. i thought it could even have ended by them saying what's the point of one person being gone - when the system per se is rotten at the core? but yeah, it was all tied together neatly - big moolah--crematorium etc - and the tension was between the hard reality and forced-neat-bollywood ending. even their laughter had a touch of sadness. and even the big meanie had a touch of the graveyard about him.

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  4. Anna go watch MNIK again which you praised. You want to see amateur directing see that film. And anyone who gave a good rating to that film shouldn't be reviewing films.

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  5. Just saw the movie. Your last 2 sentences sum it up for me perfectly! "I liked the film very much as it unspooled in the first hour. But the inconsistent treatment has ensured that it ends up as a nice film in which the second half doesn’t live up to the promise of the first."

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