Dhoom 3: Are You Watching Closely?

Dhoom 3 is this year’s big Christmas release, so I guess that makes Aditya Chopra Santa Claus. The difference is that Santa Claus has actually been seen in public. Now no matter what you say about the Dhoom franchise, it accomplished something that no one thought possible: it made people emulate Uday Chopra.  And by people, I mean biker boys from Bandra East who sincerely believe that if they don’t use their 100 cc crotch-rockets to overtake you from the left, they’ll end up going to hell, or worse, school.

D:3 is the best film of the series, which is like saying Kim is the smartest Kardashian. An important cinematic feature that works for it is the absence of Sunheri “Are you like checking me out like funny guy” from Andheri. (That character was possibly the most offensive representation of people from Andheri, which is saying a lot. We’re talking about people whose entire resume is ‘Once made eye contact with Ram Kapoor at a urinal’.)

D:3 opens in 1990, which is also where most of Bollywood’s comic interludes come from. The Great Indian Circus, owned by weed’s gift to pop culture, Jackie Shroff, is about to go under for failing to repay its loans to the Western Bank of Chicago. The only thing that might be able to save it is a private performance for the bank owners, who are thankfully not played by Tom Alter anymore. (Bollywood’s choice of token firang is now Katrina Kaif.)

But the show fails to convince the head honcho, who asks Cirque De India to pack up. A distressed Jackie pulls out a gun and pops himself, and we cut to the present, where Aamir is intently staring out a window. (Trivia: To prepare for this staring shot, Aamir went through a rigorous training regime that involved having eyes.)

First up, I’m just happy to see the return of Jackie Shroff (Latin for ‘Bhidu’) How can you not love a man who names his kid Tiger, knowing full well that his own name is Jackie? What are the Pomeranians in the family called? Rajiv? Also, Jackie’s last words, right before he shoots himself, are “Bank waalon, tumhari aisi ki taisi” which is so odd. Let’s face it – Jackie Shroff isn’t known for an insult like “tumhaari aisi ki taisi”. No, the man is the Picasso of cuss words and will create masterpieces that star your maternal aunt, a minimum of six body parts, three vegetables, one religious artefact and two types of farm animals. And that’s while saying hello.

Aamir’s tap dance in the opening song is great, because if you listen closely, you realise he’s stomping in Morse code that says, “Suck it Chennai Express!” There are also little pangs of Dark Knight nostalgia brought about by the Chicago setting. I half-expected Batman to walk in and help, especially since the cops offered keen insights as follows:

Bank Bigwig: Who committed the robbery?

Abhishek: All we know is, he was a thief.

Bank Bigwig: Wow. Who wrote this amazing dialogue? 

Abhishek: It was a writer.

Bank Bigwig: You’re from the CBI, aren’t you?

Abhishek: I LOVE LAMP!

The film takes the robbery theme seriously, because someone seems to have stolen all the heist sequences from the print. Seriously, all you ever see is Aamir fleeing a bank after the robbery. It’s like watching a porno where you see the woman open the door for the pizza guy, and then it cuts straight to the end, i.e. a crippling sense of shame and drowsiness.

They try and make up for the lack of this totally irrelevant detail – I mean who shows heist sequences in a heist film? – with the chase sequences.  There’s one where Abhishek drives a rickshaw, as a fitting tribute to his U.P roots. (He then refuses to chase the baddies because “Gas nahin hai gaadi dene ka time ho gaya hai”)

But my favourite is the one where Aamir rides his bike off a bridge and as he’s falling towards the water, the bike turns into a jet-ski, races along the surface and then dives underwater, y’know, as things that are designed to float often do. (Trivia: To turn his bike into a jet-ski, Aamir actually studied mechanical engineering under Optimus Prime.)

All this happens in the first half, which is the entertaining love child of Chris Nolan and Rohit Shetty. The second half goes full Yashraj, as a love angle takes sixteen hours to reaffirm the old adage of bros before ladies. At least I didn’t spend 900 bucks on the IMAX version. That version is called “Audience waalon, tumhari aisi ki taisi.”

(Note: This is my HT humour column dated 22nd Dec 2013.)