Starring: John Abraham, Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Akshaye Khanna, Virat Kohli (just kidding) and a dog named Bradman (not kidding)
Directed by Rohit Dhawan
Rating: *** ½
Everybody in Dishoom is shown to be in a tearing hurry. Some, like the flighty Miss Fernandez seem to be running to nowhere quite furiously. But everyone is determined to get some place.
Dishoom is one of the most fast-paced Bollywood bromances in recent times. Bromance, it sure is. And a pretty cool one at that. With John Abraham (excellent as the strong silent sturdy he-man type) and Varun Dhawan (endearingly vulnerable clumsy but finally dependable) helming the hyperventilating hi-jinks, director Rohit Dhawan can’t go wrong.
Let’s say it out straight. Dubai never gleamed so invitingly. Cinematographer Ayananka Bose shoots the city with fastidious flair, capturing the tall buildings in postures of imposing intimacy. The characters are luckily not dwarfed by the energetic chase sequences that clutter the second-half as though Dubai served as host to a hectic game of drones….
The irrelevant half, I might add, as half the time in the post-interval half, the three main protagonists are shown running around trying to apprehend first the second-villain Rahul Dev (in splendid snarling form) then the arch-villain Wagah played by Akshaye Khanna whose comeback to acting is one of the high points of the film.
John and Varun play off each other effectively. John is the scowling smoking he-man betrayed in love and determined to win in war, personal and political. His character Kabir’s contempt for the rule of law extends even to his intermittent conversations with the Minister Of External Affairs, played by Mona Ambegaonkar who is at least 20 kilos heftier than Sushma Swaraj.
Saqib Saleem plays a Virat Kohli double named Viraj who won’t succumb to forcible bribery won’t sell off his nation even if it means death and won’t ogle at Nargis Fakhri even if she offers her lips and other assets on a platter.
And here I swear I heard Sare jahaan se achcha playing in the background. Then there is the token ‘Rahim Chacha’ moment when our two heroes refuse to attack Rahul Dev as they run into a congregation saying its prayers.
“If we respect the namaaz, God will look after us,” declares Varun with surprising piety. I am sure I heard holy chants in the background. But the best incidental character in the fidgety plot is Satish Kaushik who plays a marriage-selling voice on Varun’s phone. We never see him, just as we never saw Bharati Achrekar in The Lunchbox.
I could swear I saw John grimace over here. He is skilled at appearing effortlessly masculine on screen, as though his physicality is just an excuse to get even with a world which respects only the tough. Varun dares to play vulnerable goofy and downright silly with amiable earnestness. In his farewell scene with John he confesses how his parents died in a plane crash. But now he’s found a brother.
Here I could see John looking wistful. Missing the brother who will move on to his next project. And we will move on to yet another week on onomatopoeic pleasures.