Nothing fails like excess

Uday Chopra’s Ali, one of the recurring characters in the Dhoom franchise, perfectly embodies the new movie’s attitude to locations, Caucasian actors and Hollywood-style action sequences. Writer and director Vijay Krishna Acharya’s screenplay for Dhoom: 3 takes its cue from the vagabond character’s wide-eyed wonderment at being in The Abroad, his tendency to reduce everything to his intellectual level, and his gee-whiz regard for his adversary’s fleeing skills. When confronted with an American accent, Ali lapses into Mumbai street lingo, much like Dhoom: 3 itself, which sallies forth boldly into Hollywood genre territory but resorts ever so often to long-standing Hindi movie contrivances to keep the plot ticking.

Dhoom: 3 comprises bits and bobs from several American films—its vengeful magician‘s premise echoes Now You See Me, its scheming prestidigitator, interval-timed twist and emotional undertow are from The Prestige, its anti-big bank stance inspired by The Dark Knight Returns—but it’s mostly Bollywood baloney. The story is set, embarrassingly, in Chicago, home to clueless Americans in general and unskilled extras in particular.

(From left) Bachchan and Chopra find themselves in the unenviable roles of open-mouthed spectators

Khan, who was billed as one of the big draws of the latest Dhoom, turns out to be one of its biggest liabilities. Pushing his body to the limit but limiting his facial movements, Khan sets himself up for a year’s worth of supply of parody through attempts to convey determination and purpose by knitting his brows together—his stern sprint down the side of a building, during which his feet miraculously don’t touch the façade, is fodder for Hindi movie lampooners.

Bachchan and Chopra, who played key parts in the first part but were relegated to the margins by Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in the second, find themselves yet again in the unenviable roles of open-mouthed spectators to Sahir’s brilliance. Which, as the movie progresses and lays on the twists, appears to be less a result of sleight-of-hand and intelligence and more a matter of convenience. Katrina Kaif’s trapeze artiste Aaliya gets the worst treatment, virtually disappearing from the plot after stripping down to her skivvies for her job interview. The movie’s real stars are the various stunt doubles, dancers and trapeze artistes, whose collective energy occasionally lifts the film out of dross and towards something approaching entertainment.

Dhoom: 3 released in theatres on Friday.

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