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.

Dhoom 1:

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!

Dhoom 2

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.

Dhoom 3

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.


  1. Hi Susan
    We are certainly seeing Bollywood's popularity across the world with such enhanced cinematography and innovative story lines combined with wonderful special effects / animation. You get a lot considering the budget was only about US$5.7 million for Doom 3. Doom 3 , which has since its release in 2013 grossed $86 million.

    So your can inform your beautifully enrobed Crow( if you can drag him away backstage from those artful equally beautiful dancers ) he can audition for the next. film. He is sure to secure a leading role but he will need to take a pay cut as pay rates are well short of Hollywood. So he will have less to donate after flying expenses to all of Susan’s charities.

    But I do think the lush settings of the movies is a kind of panacea in escapism for the harsh realty in the streets. But I think that is true for most movies and unmistakably so for the golden years of Hollywood.
    Best wishes

    1. Hi Lindsay

      While I didn't know Dhoom 3 had been made for just US$5.7 million I can well imagine that much money goes a lot further there than here or in the US itself. The producers are probably delighted enough with the results it wouldn't surprise me at all if there is a Dhoom 4. Crow will be ready.

      You're absolutely correct in your observation that harsh conditions engender a need for escapism, as is no doubt proven by the lavish spectacles Bollywood has made over the years. There are few other places I can think of in the world that have a greater disparity of income between rich and poor than India.

      Thanks so much for your kind and perceptive comment.

      All best wishes

  2. Lovely colours in the Crow pic.

    Nice Bollywood music. I do like it. Have never watched a full movie though.

  3. Crow was seriously motivated to pose for this particular portrait. He has style.

    If you watched one or two of the music links there's really no need for more - unless you need another reason to laugh. I'm always looking for those myself.

  4. Excellent watercolor, Crow frolics quite well. My youngest likes the Bollywood genre, I've watched a couple with her a few years ago.

    1. Glad you like it. I never stop being amazed at how Crow remains dignified as he frolics.

      Bollywood movies are definitely an acquired taste for us westerners, but they can be a
      lot of fun once you give in. It's cool your daughter likes them.

  5. I think if I were to watch those movies, I think I would be dhoomed to disappointment. Or something like that.

    Blessings and Bear hugs, susan. Best regards to your "peculiar" Crow.

    1. 'dhoomed to disappointment'

      Good one, Rob. Nevertheless, sometimes one needs an extra
      helping of escapism. These worked for us - but the last two
      did take us two nights each to watch. There's only just so
      much a person can take :)

      Best wishes and salutations from Crow.

  6. Crows love bright and shiny objects. It doesn't surprise me he is hooked on Bollywood.
    the Ol'Buzzard

    1. It seems that tendency has appeal to more beings than just crows.

      Best Regards,

  7. I really like the dancers in your drawing. The news does continue to depress and some sort of temporary diversion is necessary at times. Bollywood to the rescue! :)

    1. Thanks, Lib! I was very pleased with them too so I appreciate you letting me know. Yes, if you're feeling some gloom, it may be time for some Dhoom :)

  8. I think yesterday was our Canadian day of Dhoom — make that Doom — in Ottawa.

    I trust you are OK.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!


    1. We're fine. If there's any doom involved it's in overreaction to the very sad events in Ottawa this week. In the US it took the destruction of the World Trade Center and an attack on the Pentagon to allow the institution of the Patriot Act. Here in Canada, one mentally ill man who was already on a government watch list has become the reason for the same thing. It's all too sad.

      Best wishes, Rob.

  9. On the risk to sound impolite, outing myself here: I did never feel bored enough to watch what I think is produced to keep "stupid" people "stupid".
    I know, of course, I could be wrong, and that in fact such films are being produced to increase intellectual geniuses intellect.
    I might not have written above lines, had I not suddenly thought of Albert Camus: "Cruelty appalls, stupidity demoralises." So, if there's anything to forgive, please forgive me.
    The peace of the night.

    1. There's already so much idiocy in our world: military madness, financial fatuousness, political insipidity, take your pick or feel free to add your own - all driven and kept in play by those who should know better than to court disaster. I think this is what Camus' meant.

      I admit it took me a while to watch this series. After the first one two weeks went by before we saw the second and that had to be done in two parts because I couldn't handle nearly three hours all at once. It was the same for the third. Nevertheless, the very fact that they were so deliberately deranged made me laugh.

      Marx Brothers movies affect me the same way. I know you'll forgive my need to laugh :)

    2. Uff. This does 'sound' impolite! Bloody impolite. Rude even.
      Sometimes, especially when it's a 'hard day's night' I should just let myself fall in the feathers, put my head on the pillow and celebrate taciturnity. :)
      It's so good to know you know that I would not intend to annoy you and your esteemed readers. Thank you, Susan. :)

    3. Not to worry, my friend. Where no offense was meant, none was taken :)

    4. One thing I like so much about Dear Sean is that he always, sometimes bluntly, says what he thinks. And then another thing that I like is how often he quickly apologises lest he sounded rude. And then a third thing that I like is how a few days or weeks later he bluntly says what he thinks about something else, then...

      And Camus was and is dreadfully over-rated, in my opinion (based on what I recall before I realised the pseudo-literacy of Camus and Sartre was deceiving me), in my opinion, not being rude to either these dead fellows, obviously...

    5. One reason I like Sean is that he's true to himself. Another thing I like about Sean is that despite his commitment to honesty, he prefers negotiation over confrontation.

      In truth, I haven't read Camus or Sartre since my own shallow youth. Then as now I preferred writers with more entertainment value.

    6. There are a number of things I like about Sean. Among them is the fact that he's true to his beliefs while another is that he prefers negotiation to confrontation.

      I must admit I haven't read much written by Camus or Sartre since my own shallow youth so I really can't comment of their value as philosophers.

    7. Not reading the above as a person that has passed away I must . . . no, I want to say: Thank you; thank you, dear Andrew, thank you, dear Susan.
      I wish I could read such accolade after my death. :)

      Again: Thank you both for all your kindness.

    8. It appears the comment I thought lost last night appeared after all. Now I see you've been by, dear Sean, I rather wish I'd written more :)

      Who knows what we'll read or know by then? Glad you know it now.

  10. :) Oh, and Crow's looking just enthused at five to seven.

    1. Only you would notice Crow's watch is always set to particular times :)