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Dhoom 2
Saturday, November 25, 2006 11:03 IST
By Santa Banta News Network
Starring Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu, Uday Chopra
Rating: ***

Clever... very clever. That's the impression you come away with from this sumptuous package of gloss glamour glitter and an oomph quotient that starts at the neck and goes to the naval.

It's thw region above the neck and below the waist which Dhoom 2 occupies effortlessly, fluently and virilely. If you've seen the first instalment of Dhoom (and who hasn't?) you would know Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra carry forward their characters. And that's not an easy thing to do.

Abhishek is saddled with an aura of solemnity while everyone else has a rolicking time. The others whip a dhoom. Abhishek is clouded in gloom.

Make no mistake. Dhoom 2 is about letting your hair down as far as it can go. The carnivalesque climate is carried all the way to Brazil where the sweaty tropical mood is imbibed into the characters as they play a strangely ambivalent game of cat and mouse.

Yes, there are the law-enforcers and the law-breakers. But how do we tell them apart? Certainly not by the glamour quotient which is applied to the antagonist Aryan (Hrithik) and his moll Sunehri (Aishwarya) far more intently than the cop-hero Jai (Abhishek) and his sidekick Ali (Uday Chopra) as they go about their law-enforcing antics in the spirit of a chic comic strip.

And if you add Bipasha's double role to the heady brew, you've got a film that's the equivalent of a glossy calendar.

The film moves from Mumbai to Brazil in undulating movements of yes-yesssssss and no, there are no 'nos' in the know-it-all flick that fuses furious action and svelte skin-show in a mix that leaves you dizzy and slightly breathless.

Movies were never meant to be so heady, unsteady and ready to rock at the drop of a hat....not that anyone is in a hat, except Aishwarya (God bless her stunning soul!) in one song where her Barbie-doll movements drive us krazy with a 'k'. Just to be kool!

Crazily paced and with superbly crafted moments of aerial and grounded stunts, all centering on the one and only Mr Roshan, Dhoom 2 serves up a bigger brighter sexier and sassier gourmet's dish than the earlier film in the series.

Director Sanjay Gadhvi doesn't try to please the audience. The optical orgasm happens on its own volition, creating for us a sense of renewed and engaging deja vu.

All the chutzpah and chirpy glamour from the first film is back. Plus loads of oomph. The storytelling careens from downright clownish courtship (Bipasha and Uday Chopra are like an new-age Aroona Irani and Mehmood) to the outright passionate.

Aishwarya and Hrithik are arguably the best-looking couple the Hindi cinema has ever seen. That they LOOK and vibe so beautifully together is one of those cinematic occurrences which no one can control or predict...least of all the director whose vision in an adventure-caper of this scale, depends on everything from an actor's lighting to the light-man's mood.

The light falls just right on each actor. I can't think of one film since Sholay that has showcased a bunch of top-notch actors in a more flattering light. Bipasha's absurd double role as a no-nonsense Mumbai cop and Brazilian oomph –girl notwithstanding she's in fine shape.

So is Abhishek, lending to his solemn-cop's role a kind of edgy intolerance that makes him just the right foil for the "perfect thief" played by Hrithik Roshan.

The film belongs to Roshan...make no mistake about that. What an actor, what a dancer! What a screen presence! ...In a vital love sequence with Aishwarya where the international thief has to show the desperate anxiety of a lover whose heart has been stolen, Hrithik's controlled inner and outer movements create a world of strange and stirring impulses for his unmoored thief-with-no-brief character.

Hrithik, and the rest of the charismatic actors, move from one continent to another in a flourish of flamboyance.

To its credit the film never goes over the top in pursuit of stunts and thrills. The series of heists are implemented in a spirit of twinkle-eyed mischief by Hrithik. When the jewel caper turns into an intense love story you marvel at the actor for taking the hot plot from one level of engaging diversion to another without losing the basic pattern of rippling rhythms that govern the narration.

The Ash-Hrithik chemistry goes a long way in putting the film's mood of whooping delight into a humane perspective. The two anti-socials look into each other's smouldering eyes, whisper about love life and food to each other, play backetball together and even exchange an intense kiss.

At the end of it all, we're left gasping for breath. Hrithik, Ash and the rest of the cast look bronzed and sweaty... the heat is a killer.

Of course there have been other more well thought-out capers. But has there ever been a caper as good-looking as Dhoom 2? Has Aishwarya ever looked and acted more authentically in any of her masala films? Has Hrithik ever given more substantial proof of his magnetic star power? Has Abhishek had a bigger chance to serve as a foil in a film where's his male co-star gets the author-backed role?

The answer to all the questions is a big no.

Dhoom 2 is a slick flick with aerial and ground stunts that flatter Hrithik's star presence, only to deceive the audience into believing it's all very easy.

This is a film that makes the big-screen spectacle look jovial and casual. Look underneath. There's a method to the smirking madness. The grueling glamour of a stunt-driven drama has never been more fluently placed before us.
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