Remember that time when you have had a splitting headache and you wished someone could give you a free lobotomy ? Well, that’s how I felt when I walked out of the theatre after about 150 minutes of brain-titillating balderdash. The first Dhamaal came out over a decade ago with surprisingly well-timed comedy with scenes that have now become classics, such as the one with Vijay Raaz as the Air Traffic Controller with no sense of urgency, the scene where Adi and Manav take a lift from a guy with an impossibly long name, and the scene with Kailash Da Dhaba which becomes ‘Lash’ the Dhaba after a melee, among others. Total Dhamaal is also directed by Indra Kumar who directed Dhamaal (2007) and Double Dhamaal (2011) before it. It’s as if Mr. Kumar wakes up every five years with amnesia and tries to recreate the original film again, having completely forgotten that he had already made it once.
It’s as if Mr. Kumar wakes up every five years with amnesia and tries to recreate the original film again, having completely forgotten that he had already made it once.
Total Dhamaal opens with Boman Irani, a corrupt Police Commissioner, cutting a 50% commission deal with some rich crook who has come to him to get his demonetized 100 crores converted to legit money. When asked why his commission was so high, he says – “Kyunki main Police Commissioner hun.” Why, of course ! That should have been self-explanatory. While the deal is happening, Ajay Devgn aka Guddu and his right hand man Sanjay Mishra aka Jonny, crash into the room and fling the cash-filled suitcases worth 50 crores out the balcony to their driver Pinku (played by Manoj Pahwa) who’s waiting for them on the street. Swayed by the loads of cash, Pinku chucks them both and runs with the money with Guddu and Jonny close at his heels. While trying to escape on a bi-plane, Pinku’s pilot ditches him (‘cause his name was pilot and he wasn’t a real pilot at all. Duh!) and he crashes. Just a few moments before dying, he tells the secret of the hidden cash to Avinash and Bindu Patel (Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit), a couple who nag each other to death, Lallan and Jhingur (Riteish Deshmukh and Pitobash Tripathy), and finally, Adi and Manav (Arshad Warsi and Javed Jafri). When Guddu and Jonny realise that there are other contenders for the prize, a deal is set that whoever reached the place where it was hidden would take away everything no questions asked. And thus begins, the amazing race!
With such a talented group of actors, Total Dhamaal is a missed opportunity. Indra Kumar amps up the production value with over-the-top CGI that only works to embellish a beaten down slapstick script with lazy humour. The screenplay feels incoherent. One particular scene just before Intermission finds Avinash and Bindu Patel trapped on a decrepit wooden bridge. The same shot was shown maybe four times with parallel shots of the mishaps that happen with the other contenders. The ‘Highway’ joke (you’ll know it if you see it) is stretched far too long and is juvenile to even begin with. I could go on and on with the nonsensical tirade but then I would ruin it for you, especially if you are an optimistic gem of a person and actually wanted to watch the film.
Well, if only Mr. Kumar were done with it. His next film ‘Full On Dhamaal’ is already on the cards, and I only hope that I am left with enough courage to stomach it. Here’s some well-intended advice from your friendly neighbourhood blogger. Stay back home this weekend and catch up on your sleep. Or maybe go watch Gully Boy if you haven’t yet.