Friday, October 17, 2014
1, 2, 3 Crow goes Dhoom
Don't mind Crow. Ever since he discovered Bollywood he's been dancing up a storm in hopes of a starring role in the next Dhoom movie. Yes, we've become big fans. While I'm not entirely sure why, the reason could be the ever intensifying bad news that requires those of us who wish to remain moderately optimistic to find diversion, or it could be because the movies are great. I prefer to think the latter.
The Dhoom movies are basically high-tech heist thrillers that use bits and pieces filched from the global action-movie repertoire to lend some cutting-edge flash to Bollywood’s loose-knit “cinema of attractions” format. They feature a globetrotting succession of elaborate robbery and chase sequences. Judged purely as a crime movies, they are messy, littered with unanswered questions and dangling plot threads. As entertainment their variety show atmosphere and low 'high tech' special effects are sheer joy to watch. And, true to Bollywood tradition, there is always much singing and dancing.
In the first movie, Inspector Jai Dixit demands assistance from Ali, a petty criminal motorcycle mechanic, to help him capture a gang of thieves. Supercop Jai says he'll let him off the hook if he proves useful. Feel free to envision a pair of characters not dissimilar to Martin and Lewis.
The basic story line for this one is that the police in Mumbai have been completely baffled by a series of robberies done in broad daylight. Called in as an expert, Inspector Jai Dixit asks for a map (imagine a subway map). The inspector circles five stations in a row where the crimes occurred and announces - to everyone's total surprise - it's the sixth station that will be the next target!
While at a stake-out on a dark rainy night Jai and Ali spot a poor girl sitting in her bright yellow Lamborghini that won't start. Ignoring Inspector Dixit's remonstrances to stay in the police car, Ali goes to help. Dance ensues - including 20 guys who get out of cars parked along the street to act as backup dancers. Ali tends to fall in love with every pretty girl he meets and dreams of being a family wala.
Now how are you going to distract the cops while you pull off the big heist at a casino? The answer, of course, is a dance!
Jai and now official police officer Ali are after a dashing cat burglar - a wall-climbing, skydiving master of disguise known as 'A' (Hrithik Roshan, one of the most gifted dancers I've ever seen). This international thief who has been robbing his way across the globe in bold, daring heists is on his way to Rio and our intrepid officers are hot on his heels. What better way to catch a thief than with another thief? Enter Sunehri, a beautiful young woman who also owes her freedom to Inspector Jai Dixit.
The plot is predictable, and at times ridiculous, but the music and dancing are over the top marvelous. Despite the fact the overarching storyline is about the police chasing after a master thief, there is very little violence and (being an Indian film) no gratuitous sex scenes. Nevertheless, the sensuality expressed in the dance numbers is very powerful. These are, after all, the people who came up with the Kama Sutra in 400BC.
Action in the third movie takes place in the very exotic locale of Chicago, IL, where 20 years previously a cruel and arrogant banker closed down The Great Indian Circus, a place of magic owned and operated by young Sahir's father. Rather than lose his life's work the father chooses suicide as Sahir watches.
The scene switches to the present day with Sahir (now played by Aamir Khan) as a vengeful thief out to destroy the very bank and banker who destroyed his father's life. He does this by committing outrageous robberies, throwing all the money he can't carry to the street as he runs down the sides of tall buildings (yes) and escapes by motorcycle. Who else would be asked to solve the crimewave but our trusty policemen from Mumbai, Jai and Ali?
What can I say but it gets crazy. What else can I say but that the song and dance numbers were even more spectacular than the ones in Dhoom 2? So far all the dance numbers I've attached as links so you can watch them as you choose. When it comes to Dhoom 3 I have to post two videos. The first, called 'Malang', is the spectacular stage show presented at the mid-point of the movie, while the second is 'Dhoom Machale Dhoom', a musical pastiche of major scenes in the film. If you can stand full-screening these are well worth it.
Here we go:
and the next:
If you're looking for thought-provoking plot lines and Academy Award level acting, you'll be bitterly disappointed. However, if you're a fan of musicals from Hollywood's Golden Age (1930s to the 1950s,) then you'll love India's Bollywood version.
As Crow says, 'They should find a way to bottle Dhoom Machale so we can all enjoy it'.
update on Monday, Oct 20th
An article posted on The Atlantic that discusses the dismantling of sexism in Bollywood films is well worth a read.