Sunday, November 26, 2006

Dhoom 2 - Hrithik's Grown into a Man. And HOW!

There are some films that we watch to gratify the soul. Others because they fulfil some deep emotional, psychological or creative need. And then, there are films that are pure eye candy. Dhoom 2 is of that last category.

The film brings back Abhishek Bachchan as the tough cop – Jai Dixit and Uday Chopra as his goofy sidekick Ali from the original motorcycle-lovers flick, Dhoom (2004). This time though, they are chasing the cool international thief and master of disguises, Aryan, played by a yummy Hrithik Roshan.

Once again, there are great bikes, spectacular location, skimpy clothes and buff bodies. And there are enough explosions and bike chases and action sequences to keep little boys happily glued to their seats.

Chopra flexes his muscles and walks off with the best lines. His Austin Powers blue velvet-suit was enough to get the audience cracking up immediately. Ali’s buffoonery got the most laughs, as did his “tapori” commentary on the action.

Bipasha’s double turn as the deadly cop and the beach bum twin-sister will keep men in the audience happy. Her spectacular walk down the Rio beach, carrying a surf-board and clad in the skimpiest bikini seen on Bollywood screen since Zeenat Aman is the stuff of the greatest wet dreams.

Abhishek Bachchan as the tough cop gets to brood and pout and never crack a smile. He has little to do in the film and seems disinterested in much of the film with the unfortunate result of being completely overshadowed by the boisterous Chopra and the intense Hrithik. Moreover, Abhishek needs to start working out though if he is to hold his own against the newer breed of Bollywood men. His under-built frame is painfully apparent along with his reluctance to showcase his physique. In a film as low on fabric as Dhoom 2, his loose shirts made him look positively overdressed.

Aishwarya disappoints as the Lara Croft-clone thief who may or may not be working for the cops. Her pout is nearly as obvious as Angelina Jolie’s but she lacks the attitude to make the part work. She is visibly uncomfortable in some of the skimpier clothes and her attempts to demonstrate her martial abilities left the audience sniggering. The home-girl “like”-sprayed talk and the basketball routine also just fell flat. Being so completely upstaged by the sultry Bipasha Basu can’t bode well for her comeback attempts.

Fortunately, Bollywood is now taking into account that women want eye candy too. So Dhoom 2 offers up the ultimate eye candy: Hrithik Roshan, with pecs rippling, abs taut, and possibly the most aesthetic pelvic bone on this side of paradise, all beautifully showcased in low slung jeans and billowy open shirts. It helps that he can also act. In fact, let us cut straight to the point – this is Hrithik’s show all the way. He sizzles in each scene. The Russian roulette sequence with Aishwarya works primarily for the conviction that he brings to it.

Hrithik’s acting abilities have never been in doubt for those of us who have seen him tackle roles as diverse as Mission Kashmir, Koi Mil Gaya and Lakshya. Neither have any of us entertained doubts about his looks – chiselled and classic as they are. But here he moves consciously and convincingly into sex-bomb territory and even doubters like me were left salivating after this particular turn.

Hrithik’s debut film – Kaho Na Pyaar Hai – had apparently developed a loyal fan following in Latin America. Dhoom 2 builds on that – complete with Rio de Janeiro as the setting for the second half of the film. The costumes, the Portuguese refrain, the Spanish lyrics interjected into the songs, the Latin beats of the sound-track, and the dance steps are all bear the trade-marks of a major marketing push in to Latin America for the industry.

Don’t get me wrong – this film will never be a classic. It is no more than a fluffy, brainless entertainer. The action sequences could have been edited differently for slicker, faster, more breath-taking results. The characters are not terribly coherent – except of course Hrithik’s and that is more a result of the actor’s own conviction than of any directorial input.

On the other hand, it is great fun. Besides, if the dazed expressions on the faces of the women in the audience at the end of the film are anything to go by, Hrithik alone is worth your ticket money.