Dhoom 3

No spoilers in this review.

Actors: Aamir Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Uday Chopra, Katrina Kaif
Genre: Action Thriller
Rating: 2.5/5

The purpose of TAKT time in Lean manufacturing, is to match production with demand. D2-D1 = 2 years, and D3-D2 = 7 years, and for good reasons (read: a Superstar’s dates). TAKT, incidentally, is also an abbreviation for “Teri Aisi Ki Taisi” – which is protagonist/thief Sahir Khan’s message after every heist, and which singlehandedly brings Indian top cops Jai and Ali to Chicago to decipher this case. Ya go ahead and do that facepalm. Following a Hollywood franchise pattern, the sequel is set among skyscrapers and one-way streets in a large US downtown – and so the action is set in Chicago, and not in NYC, thanks to writers Adi Chopra and Vijay Krishna Acharya.

Aamir Khan is known to carry a film on his shoulders. At no point in the film does his age show. Energy remaining intact, some of Aamir’s body language is similar to that of 3 Idiots’ Rancho. His style quotient could have been upped some more, and the tap-dancing intro was at best Aamir Khan doing a Garba. Dhoom has always been about panache and motorbikes, and Aamir manages to score above average on both counts. To say that drama is Aamir’s fortè will be an understatement, but Aamir exploits well whatever little leeway the script offers for emotional connect. D3 is not Aamir’s best, mainly because it’s a script-oriented film, but it’s amazing how he fit himself into a physically demanding role, at 48.

Abhishek Bachchan as Jai is three times more thakela in D3. I don’t recall seeing an energetic AB on-screen, ever. AB does not bring anything interesting to the role, and his acting graph has never been more stagnant. And with no songs, no co-actress, he seems out-of-place in more ways than one. Irrfan Khan would have been a good choice instead, also being commercially viable now. While Jai is the boss, Ali (Uday Chopra), the clown has more personality on-screen. UC would not have been an actor but for the Dhoom franchise. But for reasons unconfirmed, the opposite of Aamir Khan i.e. Imran Khan is being offered films, but not UC? Beats me. Yes UC’s hairstyle in this film can be overlooked but his on-screen presence is thankfully a contrast to Jai’s deadpan expressions.

Katrina Kaif has a blink and miss role. She only shows up in song and dance sequences and her acrobatic acts, especially with the ropes are wondrous. It’s no Cirque Du Soleil, but you can tell it was a ton of hard work. Aliya, as a character , was brought in purely for plot progression and for colourful detours, but the role could have certainly been etched better. Wasted talent, IMO.

So who is this Vijay Krishna Acharya (VKA)? The guy that directed Tashan, his only other work. Wow. And they let him direct Dhoom 3? Exactly my thought. That’s a lot of spunk, given the reputation at stake – of Aamir, Katrina, Dhoom, YRF, etc. It’s possible that Adi Chopra oversaw the day-to-day on location, but the script is not air-tight, to start with. At least in Dhoom 2, there was some focus on heist details, but not so much in this installment except showcasing among other things, how a BMW K1 300R does a Gibbs Aquada. Questions to VKA: (1) Was the Rohit Shetty-esque stunt scene really required to introduce Jai and Ali? (2) Please explain how the big secret  stays perpetually hidden from Sahir’s circus crew. Armchair thinking aside, filming a movie in foreign locales and appealing to sensibilities of Indian audiences across continents is no normal feat, given the creative and logistical complexity of moving parts. Although the script is not cookie cutter, the requirements seemed to have been clear to VKA – glamour and style, bikes, music and thrills – and VKA works a talented bunch to deliver all of that and may be a little more.

Screenplay, also by VKA, is very slick, and seemed more like VKA’s domain, if at all you remember Tashan. Dhoom 3 is almost always about Sahir Khan pulling off a heist and getting away from the cops, and building up that thrill is an art – which VKA excels at. There are not many dull moments in the story, except when Aamir Khan’s character had to portray softer shades – a detour that is mainstream Bollywood and seemingly forced into the core plot. The story has an element of mystery, and while it does not keep the viewer at the edge of their seats, the moderately-paced screenplay keeps the viewer guessing. Cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee is the crown jewel of a film this magnitude. While D3 is no Endhiran with a climax bang replete with VFX, D3 has special effects going on in chase sequences, a job well done by Prime Focus and Tata Elxsi. A big part of the appeal were also Chicago Skyscrapers, Bikes, Cop chases, Aerial stunts, etc – all superbly supervised, captured and edited for the screen.

Music by Pritam seems to map to a format laid down by Dhoom 2, on a one-to-one basis. Malang and Kamili are catchy, but the rest of the songs are forgettable. The background score by Julius Packiam is forgettable too but the Dhoom theme lingers in the background, sometimes in Dubstep and Sufi too, preserving the mood of the scene. Bollywood seems to be going away from the thumb rule that you need good music to score a box office hit, which is good. But a Dark Knight wouldn’t be so without Hans Zimmer, would it?

WHY 2.5:
The Good: Cinematography (esp. stunts and VFX), Aamir Khan, Katrina Kaif’s acrobatics and Choreography, and Direction
The Average: Plot, Uday Chopra, Screenplay, and Music (songs and background)
The Bad: Aamir dancing and Abhishek Bachchan


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