‘Dum Maaro Dum’ Gives You A (Small) High
Director: Rohan Sippy
Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Rana Daggubati, Bipasha Basu, Prateik, Aditya Pancholi, Govind Namdeo, Muzammil S. Qureshi
In Dum Maaro Dum, writer Shridhar Raghavan and director Rohan Sippy have pulled off one big achievement: they have managed to make a suspense thriller set in Goa without giving in to many of the clichés associated with both the genre and the state. All the actors cast as foreigners, though usually the bad guys, are not caricatures who look like they were recruited at the Anjuna flea market (if they were, they’ve done an excellent job of convincing us otherwise). There are no sweeping shots of the vast ocean, or of tourists sunbathing and sipping cocktails or playing volleyball on the beach.
Dum Maaro Dum is the story of four people whose lives intertwine against the seamier side of the tourist hub. When Lori (Prateik) is lured into becoming a mule for a large drug dealing operation, DJ Joki (Rana Daggubati) hopes to save him from suffering the same fate as his (Joki ’s) girlfriend Zoe (Bipasha Basu), who is now an assistant to the local drug lord Lorsa Biquita, aka “Biscuit” (Aditya Pancholi). Abhishek Bachchan plays ACP Kamath, the cop enlisted to free Goa from the drug menace.
The opening credits—which roll out to a background score based around a sample from the original version of “Dum Maro Dum”—set the tone for a slick and stylish viewing experience. The action scenes, like the one at the Arpora night market, are particularly well executed, while the production design, cinematography (Amit Roy) and editing (Aarif Sheikh) each contribute to the film’s pacy mood. The dialogues (Shirdhar Raghavan, Purva Naresh, Charu Dutt Acharya) too are peppered with one-liners like “Mere paas maal hai” and “Tujhe career chahiye, mujhe carrier”.
But Dum Maaro Dum falters on a few key counts. While the plot is stretched out, the script does not spend enough time establishing key relationships such as the one between Joki and Zoe. Secondly, the film needed a compelling villain; Pancholi’s Biscuit is not charismatic, shrewd, menacing or even mad. Also, Govind Namdeo as a policeman is such a giveaway. You just know the character played by the actor (known for playing negative roles) will turn out to be crooked.
Of the rest of the cast, Muzammil S. Qureshi is memorable as Mercy, a key member of Kamath’s special team who is always given “the shit job”, and Prateik is believable as the naïve and misled Lori. But Bipasha Basu could have benefitted from looking less blow-dried, while Rana Daggubati has great screen presence but few expressions. Abhishek Bachchan, however, brings flair to the grey character of ACP Kamath, with a great deal of controlled aggression. He infuses humour, vulnerability and a dose of “attitude” into his role. (And though the much-derided title track works better in the context of the film, our favourite song from the soundtrack is “Thayn Thayn”, sung by Bachchan.) If only the script wasn’t so full of holes, Dum Maaro Dum might have given the audience a movie-going high. Still, if you’re not in Goa, or holidaying anywhere else during this long Easter weekend, it’s worth a trip to your local cinema.Tags: Abhishek Bachchan, Aditya Pancholi, Bipasha Basu, Bollywood, Dum Maaro Dum, Film, film review, film reviews, Hindi films, Prateik, Rana Daggubati, Rohan Sippy, Special Top Story