Uday Chopra, Abhishek Bachchan, Aamir Khan and Katrina Kaif pull in franchise fans.


DHOOM 3. (Blast 3). Directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya, with Aamir Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Uday Chopra, Katrina Kaif, Jackie Shroff, Andrew Bicknell, Tabrett Bethell, Siddharth Nigam. At Ster – Kinekor Cavendish and Nu Metro Canal Walk.

The latest in the Dhoom series is breaking box office records for a Bollywood film all over the world. The franchise has always been eagerly awaited by fans and the presence of Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan as the villain has a lot to do with the current fervour. But sadly, it doesn’t live up to the hype. Aside from the innovative choreography, great music and some excellent visual effects, the plodding 172-minute film is disappointing considering all the talent involved.

When a banker forecloses on his father’s property, young magician in the making Samir Khan vows to take revenge by ruining the bank that he runs. Years later, through a series of inventive robberies, Samir has the bank on the verge of ruin. He has successfully restarted his father’s business based in Chicago, The Great Indian Circus. But he is intent on completing his mission. As the local police force cannot decipher the robber’s calling card which is written in Hindi, they call in Jai Dixit and his partner Ali from the Indian Police Force. Can you already see how weak this premise is? The Indian cops work with Victoria, the Chicago cop who is heading the investigation to solve the crime. Into Samir’s life comes Aaliya, an acrobatic performer who joins the circus. They become romantically involved.

The film has a twist at the intermission mark, which, for the astute viewer, can be spotted early on. The reveal is done quite innovatively, but like so many other scenes, is shown in ultra-slow motion, which kills the pay-off. That’s the major problem with the film – it is exceptionally tedious for an action thriller.

There is so much potential, but director Vijay Krishna Acharya’s and producer Aditya Chopra’s screenplay is riddled with clichés and illogical sequences, aside from perpetuating unnecessary stereotypes and really not making much sense. They also underestimate their audiences’ intelligence as almost every scene is explained in detail and to death in flashbacks. When we’re not treated to flashbacks, we have to contend with voice-overs explaining the characters’ actions.

Aside from a very good performance by Siddharth Nigam, who plays the young Samir, the other talented superstars are all wasted with their characters poorly etched. All of them simply stare, pose or pout. Only Aamir Khan tries to make something of his role, but battles with the poor material. The less said about the foreign actors playing the banker and cop the better. Why do Bollywood producers insist on casting talentless actors, who wouldn’t pass muster as extras, as supporting cast in their films?

The circus scenes, a la Cirque de Soleil, are very well done. The dance choreography, especially in the stunning title sequence, is fantastic. Khan acquits himself superbly in this tap dance sequence. Katrina Kaif also does a great job with the circus choreography.

Top Hollywood stunt co-ordinator Conrad Palmisano’s excitingly designed action sequences including car and motorbike chases are wasted by poor editing and the aforementioned insistence on slowing everything down.

However, the visual effects by Joel Hynek, a Hollywood veteran, and his various Indian counterparts are exceptional.

Cinematographer Sudeep Chatterjee captures the Chicago landscape exquisitely, especially in the song sequences.

Pritam’s music score is suitably rocking.

It might be the next best thing at the box office, but Dhoom 3 is like a damp squib. It’s all style and no substance.

Cape Times