Wednesday, August 3, 2016

New: Dishoom is a fun action-comedy, with some weird moments

I have had it up to here with serious movies this year. Yeah, okay, not all of them have been bad (I enjoyed Sultan, and Neerja was a real tear-jerker!) but there have just been too many serious movies, not enough hilarious action-comedies to keep me satisfied.

So finally in with a dishoom comes Dishoom, with a zingy trailer to catch the eye.

Thankfully, Dishoom is mostly fun if not the perfect buddy cop comedy, with a handful of head-scratching moments and plot holes. Plot holes are often to be expected in a comedy and especially a Bollywood comedy. When the audience can come up with one more normal solution to a plot problem than the movie, it’s no big deal; it's almost funny. When the audience can come up with four or five while watching it, well, then you really have yourself a problem. That happens a few times in Dishoom, particularly in tense moments like escaping a den full of baddies or dealing with a good guy in a bomb-strapped straightjacket.

And sometimes Dishoom makes minor problems glaringly obvious. Take, for example, the fact that most of the action takes place “somewhere in the Middle East” as the first screen after the musical opening says. Well, then, if you weren’t going to tell us where — even though it was filmed in Abu Dhabi — why draw attention to the fact? (And also, what up with almost everyone speaking Hindi except the most random smattering of Arabic? But I digress.)

In this mysterious Middle Eastern country, a cricket tourney is going on wherein India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan are naturally the final three. After dislocating his shoulder and relocating it by slamming it against a brick wall (…seriously, why?), star cricketer Viraj Sharma (Saqib Saleem) beats Sri Lanka to take them to the final and gets himself kidnapped. In flies India’s Special Task Force man Kabir Shergill (John Abraham) to take on the search in secret before word gets out and ruins the final. Kabir is a rules-schmules kind of guy (and his girl just cheated on him back home, so he’s in no mood) so he picks the dopiest guy in the department, Junaid “J” Ansari (Varun Dhawan), to be his guide.

K and J, get it? If you don’t, I have a GIF for you.

From here on out, mostly John Abraham does the macho while Varun Dhawan dopily hams it up. It’s mostly fun and effective, but they are missing some jokey rapport for the true buddy cop feel. I am a well-documented fan of goofy!John, and would like to have seen him make something of an appearance.

Speaking of appearances, Akshay Kumar zooms in on a jet ski for a hilarious if occasionally awkward cameo as a gay playboy with a terrible wig man-bun and a kilt who makes Kabir and J strip down to their matching chaddis. And he snaps this hilar photo.

On the other hand, Nargis Fakhri has a cameo that is 100 percent annoying and pointless. She simply flounces around, speaking with her American accent despite the fact that we’re told a scene earlier that she’s “a local girl.” Her character basically unwittingly served to transport Viraj to the kidnappers, but that’s all. It seems like a wonderful opportunity to make her complicit, but she just shows up a few times more for no good reason. It’s really these kinds of half-planned detours that detract from the movie.

Jacqueline Fernandez as the movie’s main female character — small time con artist Ishika/whatever her real name is who happens to have pilfered the kidnapped cricketer’s phone from the kidnapper — is almost equally annoying, but at least she has some hint of a role to play. Even if it’s just helping the heroes snatch phones and cars and whatever else they might need. (Though how she gets from being deserted by said heroes to dancing for the kidnappers is one of the more annoying plot holes.)

Highly welcome, however, is Akshaye Khanna as the primary villain, though it takes him a while to appear. He’s got the swagger, the sassy eyebrows and the menacing voice down pat. I’d gladly welcome this villain back if he ditches some of his cronies.

And I might even welcome back K and J along with him, so long as they can jump over a few plot holes and stop taking weird detours.


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