Director: Rohit Dhawan
Starring: John Abraham, Varun Dhawan, Nargis Fakhri, Jacqueline Fernandesm, Saqib Saleem, and Akshaye Khanna
Review: Religion often has an overpowering impact in India, which is among the world’s most unique multi-cultural countries. But the power of religion reverberates in India in ways beyond those found in religious texts and scriptures in a temple, mosque, or church.
Two of the most binding forces in India that are followed with an almost religious fervor are movies and cricket. We emulate our heroes on the movie screen and idolize cricketers who fill our lives with hope and promise.
And Dishoom brings together these pivotal forces to weave an interesting saga that is every bit tasty as a popcorn and cola combination, filling your bleak weekend with colors of edgy action, song and drama, and pretty much everything you expect from a fast-paced narrative that entertains you without appearing drab or dull.
Star director David Dhawan’s son, Rohit Dhawan, first brings two unlikely cops from either side of the Arabian Sea – muscled beast Kabir Shergill (John Abraham), from India’s Special Task Force, and Junaid Ansari (Varun Dhawan), ever the hideously funny and hyper-energetic cop, on a manhunt that sees them tag forces to rescue India’s greatest cricketer ever, evidently kidnapped by a high profile bookie, unbeknownst to his country and his cricketing community in the intense heat of the Middle East.
With less than 36 hours to go before India takes on Pakistan in a high octane cricketing contest, and the entire clamor of the desert withering their energies down, Kabir and Junaid have a highly unlikely task on hand with nothing better than bubbly diva Ishika (Fernandes), a mischievous thief who knows the region like it was painted by her, as their playful flirtatious guide to track down a man who pretty much “owns” the Middle East with his cunning and daring.
Dishoom is an uncanny and refreshing breakaway from morose repetitive run-of-the mill storylines, for many reasons. First up, for its pairing of the intense and Hulk-like John Abraham with the funny Johnny come lately sort Varun Dhawan, akin to bringing thunderstorm and lightning together in broad sunny daylight.
Secondly, you have to love the jazzy and sparkling personalityof Abu Dhab,i set against a backdrop of high-speed sport cars, exuberant nightlife, and the funny mishmash of typical one-liners that brand a lackadaisical cop (Varun) as a cool dude supremo.
At times, the movie tries to punch above its weight. Rather unnecessarily. There’s the random but clichéd guest appearance of superstar Akshay Kumar, starring as a millionaire whose fame to claim is the selfie shot he takes with cricketer Viraj Sharma( Saqib Salim) on the night of his kidnapping.
On the other hand, Viraj’s character is effervescent and loosely-based on contemporary cricket great Virat Kohli, so there’s something for the fan’s liking.
But what keeps the script otherwise riding high is the emergence of the mastermind of the crime: the slick and cool “Wagah,” a suited n’ booted villainous slacker who deals in millions casually at the puff of his next cigar.
Played by Akshay Khanna, one of Bollywood’s most talented, albeit notoriously reclusive actors (as marked by his return to movies after four long years), Wagah is clever, straight to the gut, and thinks of himself as the super-elusive baddie who will reign supreme over the tenacious Kabir Shergill and sidekick.
While the first half of the movie is quick, fired by tons of action and shows our heroes running around hastily in a bid to rescue India’s favorite cricketers, the second half comes into its own with 36 hours before the high profile final match.
- John Abraham is a tough cookie who wouldn’t crumble against pressure, not even when the local middle east specialist warns him against taking the law into his hand, where his jurisdiction is limited.
- Varun Dhawan is cuddly and sensitive, and never short of punchy one-liners that mark his character as a light-hearted weirdo who doesn’t mind being laughed at.
- And Akshay Khanna, our own fine blend of Ralph Fiennes and Mark Ruffalo, offers a full range of his acting repertoire, bringing an élan and style to his brooding baddie.
The highlight of the film, for enthusiasts who fancy quick-pace dramas, would be the battle of brawns against brain –which for some reason fizzles out a bit too easily as the film reaches the finish line. But by that time, you have realized that Dishoom is worth the risk, a summer blockbuster built for escaping a monsoon or an endless traffic jam.
Rating: (one to five whistles, five being the best): 3.5 Whistles
Contributor Dev Tyagi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Image Courtesy of Eros International
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