Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Dum Maaro Dum: Wayward, but worth a watch
Rohan Sippy’s “Dum Maaro Dum” attempts to take a hard look at the drug mafia in the tourist haven of Goa through the eyes of a ruthless police officer.
Abhishek Bachchan plays the protagonist Vishnu Kamat, a once corrupt officer who mends his ways and is called on to “clean Goa of drugs” by an ailing minister. Sippy uses a non-linear mode of narration, zigzagging from one character to another, lending a zippy pace to the first half of the film.
Part of the film’s landscape is Lorry (Prateik) a young student who is lured into the drug trade in exchange for the dream of a life in the United States. Also criss-crossing his paths are Joki (Rana Daggubati), a laidback musician and his one-time girlfriend turned gangster’s moll, Zoe (Bipasha Basu).
Thanks to some good writing and zany dialogues, Sippy manages to keep you engrossed in the first half of the film, even though he is let down by a somewhat weak performance from his lead actor. Sridhar Raghavan’s dialogue is sparkling for the most part and you can almost forgive him lines like “aajkal criminals bhi Facebook aur Twitter pe hai” (These days, even criminals are on Facebook and Twitter), uttered by Kamat after going through a suspect’s phone.
Sippy tries to pack in too much and ends up doing no justice to any of the tracks in the film. Also, the pace in the second half falters. His villain is named Biscuitta and there is a sequence in which Bachchan raps his way through a couple of police encounters, which looks ridiculous and far from cool. Abhishek Bachchan doesn’t bring anything new to his character, nor does southern actor Rana Daggubati, making his Bollywood debut in the film.
Nevertheless, this one is worth a watch for the great cinematography (Amit Roy), and some good writing. “Dum Maaro Dum” could have been much better had the director seemed more in control of the film, but it is better than most of what Bollywood has dished out this year. I suggest you give this one a chance.