When the writer of the first two films of a successful franchise takes the director’s chair for a third shot at more of the same that is exactly what one gets: more of the same.
This time around, the bikes, babes and brawls formula is dished out even more liberally than before.
So, for the most part, Dhoom: 3 is a high-voltage action flick that relies squarely on known methods of the genre.
Actually, familiarity of this kind isn’t such a bad thing. Since the audience knows what is coming and does not have too many unsettling surprises sprung at them, acceptability is that much easier.
Despite being overlong (the runtime is 172 minutes) and a tad laden-footed at times, Dhoom: 3 stays true enough to its avowed intent to be passably engaging.
Writer-director Vijay Krishna Acharya, who scripted Dhoom and Dhoom 2, mounts this one on a scale that is no less unapologetically lavish.
He pulls off the implausible stunt sequences with a striking degree of flair – and a lot of obvious help from the CGI department.
Had the director invested as much energy on developing the characters beyond superficial levels and investing the dramatic situations with more depth than what one encounters in standard revenge dramas and cops-and-robbers capers, the third installment might have towered above the first two.
A lot of time in the first 50 minutes or so of Dhoom: 3 is wasted on the protracted ‘entry’ scenes that are apportioned to the principal members of the cast. The bigger the star, the longer is the prelude.
Aamir Khan, needless to say, takes precedence over everyone (and everything) else in the film, including occasionally the script.
From the word go, he gets to ‘perform’ an array gravity-defying acts and motorcycle stunts that are difficult to describe.
What’s more, Dhoom: 3 has the services of a full-fledged tap choreographer so that the star of the show can go beyond the bikes and biceps act and also do a Fred Astaire sans a Ginger Rogers. But since it is Aamir, it is all tip-top.
Because he moves from a scowl on the face to an occasional sparkle in the eyes and back to a stoic, deadpan countenance with effortless ease, these longish sequences do not run completely out of steam even when they overstay their welcome.
Katrina Kaif, too, gets more than her share of an eye-popping opening burst.
It comes in the form of a hyper-dance sequence in which she starts off in a modest dungaree, discards pieces of clothing one by one as the act heats up and eventually strips down to a sensuously skimpy outfit while Aamir’s suitably impressed circus owner watches utterly transfixed.
But the film could definitely have done without the gratuitous opening scenes involving Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra. We all know what tough cop Jai Dixit and his skirt-chasing sidekick Ali Akbar are all about. Who would have needed another peep into their run and chase routine?
First up, the duo takes on a bunch of Mumbai goons led by a man who is modelled on a Tamil potboiler baddie, first on an auto-rickshaw and then, you’ve guessed it, on a souped-up motorbike.
They are then deployed in faraway Chicago to stop a super-thief, Sahir (Aamir Khan), who has one particular bank on his radar.
This bloke is no ordinary anti-hero. He raids the bank’s key branches and triggers a shower of greenbacks before making good his escape.
He is a magician and circus performer who pulls the wool over the eyes of the most hard-nosed bankers and the toughest Chicago cops. So the Yankees need an Indian policemen and his bumbling aide to nab him.
He has learnt the ropes from his deceased dad, Iqbal (Jackie Shroff in a cameo), whose loan defaults put paid to his dream of keeping The Great Indian Circus in business.
The head honcho of the Western Bank of Chicago intones: “I am a banker. Everyone hates bankers.” He does not dare add: no one more so than the wily Sahir Khan.
Dhoom: 3 is fun while it lasts, but it might not leave the viewer with the sense of having watched a film that is truly unique.
But watch it all the same for Aamir Khan and the hi-jinks.