Dum Maaro Dum has all the ingredients of crackling entertainment: a sun-kissed but suitably seamy location: Goa. A subject that works as an anti-drug cautionary tale but also provides ample opportunity to revel in the gritty glamour of rave parties, cocaine and formidably toned women wearing as little as possible. A director – Rohan Sippy – who has an edgy sensibility and loves stylistic flourishes. An actor – Abhishek Bachchan – who is channeling his father’s Angry Young Man along with the unhinged, suicidal Mel Gibson from the Lethal Weapon series. And of course the irresistible title, which comes from an iconic song that four decades later, still has the power to seduce instantly.
This is one film that should soar but sadly it never quite takes flight. The problem is the writing.
Writer Sridhar Raghavan gives us four characters whose lives intersect. Abhishek is ACP Vishnu Kamath, a cop with nothing left to lose who is called in to do ‘Goa ki safai.’ Prateik is Lorry, a topper whose life falls apart when he makes a deal with the devil and becomes a carrier for the drug mafia. Bipasha Basu is Zoe, an air-hostess who makes the same mistake as Lorry and finds herself a life-long prisoner. And Rana Daggubati is her boyfriend Joki, a musician who could not save her but attempts to make amends by saving Lorry.
The film begins with Lorry’s story and moves to Vishnu’s but just as we are getting immersed in these narratives, we cut to Zoe and Joki singing. These transitions are clunky and don’t allow us to emotionally invest in any character.
Vishnu has texture and authenticity but the other characters are much thinner. The villain, Lorsa Biscuta played by Aditya Pancholi, has little menace about him. And the truly intriguing characters, the Russian and Nigerian Mafiosi, are just fringe players.
Dum Maaro Dum has some punchy dialogue-baazi and snazzy action, especially a nicely done shoot-out at a night market.
It also features Abhishek’s best performance in recent times. But the narrative slumps in places, the plot has loopholes and the characters just aren’t convincing enough to grab you.
I was absolutely distracted by Rana’s strangely expression-less face and Bipasha’s hair, which stays salon-styled even when she is in jail.
Dum Maro Dum could have been so much more. I’m going with two and a half stars.(NDTV)