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DHOOM 3 Review: Get Set... Dhoom!

© Hindi Cinema Blog

A couple of hours drive through the California desert to reach San Diego had this lucky blogger enjoying an early Christmas gift from her best friend: a prepaid ticket for the first day and first show release of Vijay Krishna Acharya’s much anticipated Dhoom 3.

I have a confession to make. I would not say I am an action flick fan (I tend to find the genre a bit soulless) and have often been disappointed with the multiple attempts to achieve Hollywood-like results in Indian films or to create the ”Indian James Bond”. Not only do I believe Indian cinema need not use Western cinema as a measuring stick, but in my humble opinion, these attempts have met little success… probably less due to a lack of budget than to faulty scripts. So before starting this review, I wish to give my sincere applause to Vijay K. Acharya and Aditya Chopra for taking a giant box-office title like Dhoom and writing a script with soulful Indian flavor while creating a pretty consistent and entertaining action plot that can appeal to any audience.

So the story starts something like this: Mr. Iqbal (Jackie Shroff) is the innovative and visionary leader of the Great Indian Circus in the city of Chicago. He also trains his little boy, a disarmingly cute magician, Sahir (Siddharth Nigam, whose grown-up character is portrayed by Aamir Khan). Despite the circus’ awe-inspiring performances, Mr. Iqbal fails to pay back a crippling bank loan and hence loses his theatre to a Chicago bank, and more particularly to its head banker, whose heart is ice-cold. A tragic outcome moves Sahir to take revenge by bringing the bank to its knees using his circus talent to commit a series of spectacular robberies.

Using the main premise, Acharya and Chopra have woven in the Jai-Ali  cop pair (Abhishek Bachchan-Uday Chopra) and their eye-popping entrance, an audacious Aaliya (Katrina Kaif) who literally dances like liquid electricity, vibrant circus scenes and an intense pace, where both action and feelings cleverly intermingle. AND IT WORKS! 

How? Why? Here are just a few reasons:
*The modern circus acts are like a stunningly beautiful kaleidoscope. 
*Special effects are elegant and not there just for the heck of it. 
*Jai and Ali have the audience heartily chuckling throughout the film. 
*A rickshaw-chase scene brings masala cinema into the picture with panache. 
*The main twist in the story seems surprising at first but is well integrated into the plot (and no, I will not write any spoilers. This twist deserves to be experienced completely clueless). 
*There are no main characters who are fully good or entirely bad, which I consider to be a huge plus.
*Katrina’s character is extremely more assertive and audacious than your typical Indian heroine and she commendably performs in a role that still manages to remain discreet.
*Siddharth Nigam (Sahir as a child) is perfect to the T in his performance and exquisitely endearing.
*Dhoom’s soundtrack and background score are excellent action-flick fare and the film’s choreography showcases it wonderfully. 

In a nutshell, knowing when to keep things moderate and when to make the screen splash with larger than life entertainment is the secret to a bewitching Dhoom 3. Less here is definitely more.

So yes. The foreign cast might not be astonishing actors. Western watchers may find obvious that the film hops back and forth from Switzerland to Chicago. The movie's obsession with Mountain Dew might feel like a The Truman Show moment of satire and yes, the Jai-Ali principle might need to be a bit reinvented, etc. This said, all these remain very pardonable flaws in a sparkling 172-minute entertainer. Additionally, Dhoom 3 raises the issue of how some people’s race for money can adversely affect other’s lives (which I believe is a commendable act, considering that the series is a blockbuster brand by definition).

Last but absolutely not least, a major hats-off goes to the film’s undeniable star, Aamir Khan. The actor smoothly carries a film that would absolutely not have been the same without him. I have been known to have a soft spot for Aamir’s work and have enjoyed observing him evolve from being a diamond in the rough in early films (such as Raakh) to becoming the polished actor that he is. His performance in Dhoom 3 is filled with generosity and passion and I consistently kept exclaiming to myself “How can he make that much dedication seem so effortless?!!”: athletic circus training, thinking out distinctive character moves, and goodness, even tap dancing! That is only the tip of the iceberg though (yes indeed, the main twist in the story is a feat histrionically mastered by the man himself). Watching Aamir Khan in Dhoom 3 has felt like reconnecting with why I liked his work in the first place and it feels sweet to “come home” .

Dhoom 3 is at times a tale of measure and at times a tale of extremes. On your marks, get set... DHOOM! in action, in feeling, through loyalty and healing. Watch it for that and much more.

I left the cinema with a smile that grew larger upon seeing that later shows were completely sold out. I then quietly drove back through a desert colored by the vividly magic and emotional roller coaster I had just experienced. What a  thrilling way to start the holidays! A deep thanks, my dear Jo, for my Christmas gift. :-)

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Learn more about Dhoom 3 in IMDb
Directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya
Produced by Aditya Chopra
Screenplay by Vijay Krishna Acharya
Story by Aditya Chopra and Vijay Krishna Acharya
Cast Aamir Khan, Siddharth Nigam, Abhishek Bachchan, Uday Chopra, Katrina Kaif
Music by Pritam
Background Score by Julius Packiam
Cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee
Editing by Ritesh Soni
Special effects by Joe Digaetano, Don Parsons
Visual Effects by Pintu Chakraborty, Dibbyo Choudhary, Mangesh Gosavi, Joel Hynek, Kotamraju Karthik, Christian Kessler


lalsub said...

Hi pal. Loved your review. Thanks to the poor early reports (many negative ones from usual media suspects plus some Aamir fans who probably expected a Sarfarosh like film from Dhoom 3), I was actually feeling sad that a much awaited film had proved to be a turkey. Even now there are many who are dissing the film AND Aamir's performance (terming it hamming). But a handful of relatives and friends tell me that they loved Aamir's performance AND the film despite its occasional lapses in logic. Am yet to watch film but hope to do so in a couple of days. Meanwhile here's a query for you --got my fb message? Love,LS.

Unknown said...

Hi dear LS!! So nice to read you here. I have not been reading reviews but did catch the Hollywood Reporter one, which was very positive, I believe. I liked the film very much and was very touched by one of the characters (you will probably understand which, once you watch the film). I was sure Aamir would do a good job but had not thought of all the work he actually put into it. I cannot clap for other recent action movies made in India (Agent Vinod, Ra.One or the latest Krrish or some Salman movies) as I think they got some of the effects or script completely wrong. Though there are some inconsistencies in Dhoom 3 (a friend pointed out that Aamir's tears flow backwards, you can catch bystanders watching the filming going on, etc...) but I had a really good time watching it and cannot rate it otherwise. I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I did :-) I am now in America and have not logged into the personal FB account but will do so asap to check your message! Hug! - A

Bollywood Movie News said...

The third edition in the franchise Dhoom indeed created a Dhoom at the box-office. Wonderful movie. Thoroughly enjoyed watching it. And Aamir Khan simply rocked at the bad guy.

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