Bikes zoom, girls swoon, cars crash and the background score is always in hyperbole. That’s Dhoom 3 in a capsule, except here, there’s also an avalanche of emotion coming right at you.
We see a little boy called Sahir (Siddharth Nigam, excellent) who sees his father commit suicide over a rejected bank loan. In his little mind the bank becomes the ‘Villain No. 1’, and he grows up with the mission to take revenge. (That’s the plot, I swear.)
Now Sahir, all grown-up (we see Aamir Khan waking up with a start from a nightmare of that fateful day) has turned into a cunning thief who always strikes at the heart of this particular bank. He leaves a clown mask and a slogan. Scores of cops chase him but he seems too fast, too well-prepared for them always. That, and he has high-tech gadgets and machines (a bike that turns into a speedboat etc) that could make Bond seem outdated.
He has followed in his father’s footsteps and is a “circus wallah”. That justifies his superhuman dexterity in the stunts he performs while escaping. There are stunning visuals of him running down a building defying gravity, him on a bike swerving under a truck and missing the tyre by just a hair. Or riding the bike on a thin rope across buildings in slow-mo, just as a train approaches. You get the drift. Meanwhile, you wish the video-game like background music would just stop for a few seconds.
Writer-director Vijay Acharya (he was involved in writing Dhoom and Dhoom 2) whips up a film that delights as much as it riles. Acharya made the unapologetically kitschy Tashan a few years ago, which this writer actually liked. In Dhoom 3, he makes sure the technical aspects impress— great cinematography, beautiful locations, superb stunts, and visual lush.
But then the film has a character call an autistic person ‘hatela’ and ‘khiskela’. The women characters are either made to strip or shown in bikinis (yes, even a cop).
There’s an aching lack of good laughs in the film, with the film’s official comic relief Ali being given lame lines.
Acharya does get it right in some scenes – the one where Aamir Khan’s Sahir comes face-to- face with his younger self is a surreal and interesting portion that showcases how troubled this character is. The equation between Aamir and another key central character is also interesting.
Acharya leaves the audience in a twist during the interval, and you’re left guessing what the great suspense is. There are obvious Hollywood influences (Now You See Me, The Prestige, The Dark Knight Returns) all through, and one wonders whether it’s a paucity of original ideas or do production houses want to play too safe.
As for Aamir— he pretty much owns the film. From his tap dancing in the stylish opening credits to playing the emotionally troubled thief, he is unputdownable. This is one of the few films where you see Aamir "doing intense" and the actor uses his eyes to great effect (sadly, going over-the-top at places). He is also the unabashed male eye candy in the film and is gloriously shirtless for the most part, almost giving competition to Katrina Kaif’s strip-tease act.
Incidentally in this act, Kaif was dressed in baggy clothes and then proceeded to wear less and less, as a process of an audition. By the way, the audition called for an ‘Asian goddess who dances like liquid electricity’, whatever that means. There is no background offered on this character, which is a mistake considering she proves to be an important one.
Kaif is dependably resplendent, a great dancer and earnest in the limited scope offered. She is also styled wonderfully expect for that one instance where she’s in a pink prom dress with a bow.
Abhishek Bachchan does the same ol’. He plays the ‘I’m-too-cool-to- smile’ cop Jai Dixit yet again. And Uday Chopra who keeps insisting in the movie that he has a “face cut like a hero” reprises his doofus sidekick act.
Sahir’s company is called ‘The Great India Circus’ and the film somehow reiterates the thought. There’s colour, visual brilliance, stunts, music and ‘acts’, but there’s limited space for depth. In Dhoom 3, there are stars, locations, and that visual extravaganza of a song called Malang, but the film lacks coherence, plausibility and heart.
It’s all entertainment that’s easily accessible, digestible, and doesn’t ruffle any feathers. Equal parts absurd and visually dazzling, Dhoom 3 remains (and I use this unbecoming term) a decent one-time watch.
Rating: Three stars