Mayank Shekhar's review: Double Dhamaal

By Hindustan Times

Double Dhamaal
Director: Indra Kumar
Actors: Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi
Rating: *

Wailing, young female crowds run into multiples of hundred. Because actor Ashish Chaudhary’s just waltzed in. His hair's gelled back. Girls could faint. Graciously, Ashish allows them to touch him, yes, he's for real. He offers them his autograph, lets them click his picture. Cops have to manage the commotion. Fans can't stop screaming.This is not a dream sequence from this movie. Honest to God, it's a scene I witnessed, wide-eyed, at the “world premiere” of this film -- in Toronto, Canada. Such was the frenzy around Bollywood at this non-resident India, it looked like anything, anyone, even Ashish (whatever his filmography), would do.

We finally walked into Double Dhamaal, the reason for the frenzy outside. I figured Hindi film actors in general, but particularly those in this film, deserved every bit of adulation before their premiere show. In fact, these gents -- Arshad Warsi, Riteish Deshmukh, Javed Jaffery (and Ashish. Of course) -- have had to do the kind of things for a living, endure a sort of public embarrassment for entertainment’s sake, they should be entitled to a gallantry award. No less. So should their audience.

If you’ve seen Dhamaal, this film’s reasonably fun prequel (loosely inspired by It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World), you’ll recall, Jaffery plays a UD (under-developed) man-child Manav. He ups the act further in this second part, changing his costume, hamming it up as a moronic kid with Mickey Mouse hair, among other mimicries. The other three actors, Manav’s buddies, double or quadruple up their parts, non-stop for over a couple of hours, impersonating everything from fake gorilla making out with a real one; black-polished Caribbean lover-boy under a huge Afro; Gujarati businessman with weird teeth; Sikh security guard getting his Punjabi right; Spanish hooker with massive cleavage.... When they’re in their own character, relatively normal selves, they’re supposed to sound like Shatrughan Sinha, Shah Rukh Khan, Sanjeev Kumar... Truly, this couldn’t be easy. What’s it for but? Frankly. I don’t know. I don’t think they asked either.

The filmmakers were possibly busy scoring a tax-free contract to shoot in Macau. Dialogue writers were giggling over their rhymes in every other line, pun on every second word. The editors were paid to keep their trap shut. Whining women (Kangna Ranaut, Mallika Sherawat) were picked up for pretty posters. Male actors then were naturally left to somehow figure their way through this mess.

From what I could tell, despite a piercing headache, this big-ticket pic exists because the said four friends want to become partners in their millionaire nemesis’ (Sanjay Dutt’s) profitable company. These blokes are broke. Their rich archenemy shows them a plot where they’ve discovered oil. These beggars produce Rs 25 lakh, lure an underworld don (Satish Kaushik; sad) to invest several crores in the supposed property. The firm turns out to be fake. The boys are in trouble now. They seek revenge, try to screw their bete noire (Dutt) over, disguising themselves in various parts, hoping to bag some serious bucks off him.

For two years before this, these unemployed buddies had been standing at an accident-prone spot, so they could find a crashing car. And? I don't know. Later, they'd hung around a desi theka (a run-down dive), beating poor fellas up, picking their pockets, asking people at the bar to keep an egg in their mouth without breaking its shell. Excuse me? By now you know, a drunken devil’s in the befuddling, brain-dead detail.

It’s sufficient to suggest, there were at least four ‘item songs’ that blasted through my ears -- one of them called Jalebi Bai that Mallika Sherawat moved to, shortly after a quick jig on Dabanng’s Munni Badnaam Hui. Those South Asian girls in Toronto could practice their Bollywood steps to these tracks. That’s what the hoopla’s roughly about anyway. Some curious Canadians may have entered the premiere to figure the fuss around our pictures still. There were English subtitles, with gentle explanations thrown in as well: “He’s my Godfather, he’s my Nayakan (based on Godfather), Dayavan (based on Godfather)...” I’d wager a bet if they sat through even half the flick. Or if most regular folks can.

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