Director: Vijaya Krihan | Year: 2014
Dhoom 3 is the film that has surprised me the most this year. Nothing that I had read or heard had prepared me for this. I knew this would be different from the earlier Dhoom films, but this different? It has nothing in common with the non-thinking speed-driven bikes, gals and hunks film s that the earlier two were. This is good storytelling at its best, and quite an ambitious story it is.. an epic one fact, closest in spirit to the better superhero movies that Hollywood makes, closer to something like Endhiran/Robot in term s of having heart at the core of its superficial action trapping.
The story-telling is surprisingly lean and muscular. They have cut out all the flab. Inspector’s Jay ‘s wife has been totally erased out of the scene. The temptation to use Aaliya in the action or the heist sequences have been scrupulously resisted. Ali’s comic antique’s are minimal, crisp and are never extended . Even the three songs used in the film have solid narrative context and are picturized with imagination and restraint. Right from the first frame the plot unfolds with single-minded focus. This kind of narrative integrity is rare these days.
The story itself , like the best of epic stories has allegorical and metaphorical dimensions, symmetry and epiphany. The choice of villain itself is a stroke of genius…it is a BANK. It is the BANK that Shahir wants to destroy, not a banker. It is the institution and system that’s the culprit not the in individual. Now how far can you get away from the formula plots of Bollywood or even most of Hollywood?
The villainous nature of the bank is well articulated. Iqbal the owner of the Great Indian circus wants to raise circus to a higher level, while the bankers expect a pretty girl in short skirt to shove her head into the mouth of a hippopotamus – cheap thrills in other words.
Then there is the question of dual identities and one’s domination of the other. The beautiful thing about the film is that none of these is made obvious or overplayed. At the same time, these concerns are concretized in a very real way. When Samar gets out of his box on A Sunday we share his sense of elation as he feels the wind on his face. We can feel his awkward love for Aaliya, we share his thrill in his discovery of his ability to make friends.
I had mentioned in one of my earlier pieces about how love , from Shakespeare through Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky to Sartachandra and Tagore to K Asif , Raj Kapoor and Bimal Roy, has been the trigger for and an expression of rebellion and individual assertion. It is only the love for Aaliya that makes Samar confront Shahir, wanting to get out of the former’s shadow. Converting this into a plot sequence where Samar wants to take Shahir’s place is a brilliant piece of writing. So are the sequences where aaliya kisses Samar and bids goodbye to him on the train. There is poetry in these sequences. Just as there is drama in the sequence where it is Shahir that confronts Inspector Jai instead of Samar.
The wonderful symmetry, the hallmark of all great epic stories, is manifest here in the fact that the breakthrough trick that Iqbal was unsuccessfully trying to impress the bankers with is the very trick with which Shahir-Samar avenge their father.
AS I mentioned, except for the bike chase sequences which are meant to be continuing link with the Dhoom franchise, there is not a single extraneous scene outside of the main arc of the plot. Even aaliya and her romantic track are so central to the narration unlike in the earlier Dhoom films. Her intro song is a sensual and spatial delight. The Malang song too is not only spectacular, it is also crucial in establishing the central trick as well as the feelings of Samar for Aaliya. The way the song Tu Junnon, Tu Karar takes off from the diary jottings of Samar is a pointer to the lightness and considered touch with which Vijaya Krishna handles the film. The ‘hath nahin chhodna , saath nahin chhodna’ climax could have turned ludicrous if it was not a reprise of the ladder episode involving the young Shahir and Samir.
The film’s audacious ambition does not falter mainly because of Vijya Krihna’s writing and aamir’s performance. Like he has done in Lagaan , DCH, RDB , Ghajini and 3 idiots, Aamir internalizes the characters and becomes Shahir and Samar. The confrontation scenes between Sahir and Samar and the dating scene between Samar and Aalia show Aamir at his well-defined and yet restrained best.
The crucial thing to note here is that this is nota Dhoom film at all and is not meant to be. Yes Aamnir is no Hritik or John Abraham. We always knew that, it only gets reestablished. It is not a mindless, time pass film. And Aamir is an actor and not a hunk. I have seen parts of Dhoom 1 on TV and slept trough most of Dhoom 2, which I did watch on screen. The only things I remember from that film are the Crazy Liy Re dance sequence by Ash, the wonderful moves to the title track by Hritik, and some comic caper by Uday Chopra in Spain or wherever it was supposed to be.
Here I did not lose attention even for a minute, though it was a late night shgow. I did not check my Facebook account on mu mobile even once. I was riveted from start to end. Aliya says to Shahir in the film, “ The five minutes are long over. Now you can look away’. I have been trying’, Shahir replies. It is 3.40 am now and tomorrow is a working day. But I cannot get the film out of my head..especially scenes of Samar and Jay where Samar so simplemindedly trusts Jay, exhilarated by his new-found discovery of ‘friendship’.
My respect for Aamir’s script sense has gone a couple of notches higher. This is fantastic reworking of Nolan’s material, much superior to Ghajini, where the climax depended so much on gratuitous violence. Here too they could have copped out by choosing to stage an action and chase climax. But they chose to seek a denouement based on the emotional core on which the film was founded
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