Dum Dum Bullet
This color-by-numbers North Indian Goondas Are Cool movie is as teeth-gratingly predictable as the South Cool Cop remakes every Bollywood hero has made. Tigmanshu Dhulia misfires. Audience dies of boredom.
Take a little notebook and let’s make a checklist. It’s a Tigmanshu Dhulia film, so it will be set in Gawalier, ya phir Benaras, Kanpur ya phir Nukhlow (yes, we’re phonetically original like that).
Angreji will be spoken, and while the item number will be phor locals who spik englis with paan laced jubaan, the great director will surprise you with one goonda character who speaks English like he just had tea at 10 Downing Street. (Your mind’s eye can almost see members of the durbaar at the Director’s den rubbing their hands in glee for having 'ideated' such a character.)
Speaking of item numbers, please someone, hammer that last nail in the coffin of an actor who was considered to be spunky and brilliant when she showed up in Dev D and who is now reduced to pukeworthy gyrations in tacky costumes to lyrics like, ‘Don’t touch my bawwdy, o mor-e saiyyan’. Alas, you want to say, no one would want to touch it. Not even with a barge pole.
So we’ve ticked language, location and item number. Now for the cast. Every person you saw in Tigmanshu Dhulia’s earlier films has been given a part here. Jimmy Shergill, Vipin Sharma et al. Not a single surprise there. But yes, you’ll wonder as a fellow critic (must be a fan of Sonakshi Sinha) did. How can she not carry a plate of laddoos for the hero? It made me come back from the movie and check her other movies. He’s right. She does appear with a plate of laddoos in her other films. So half a star for doing something unexpected there.
But yes, why is Sonakshi Sinha accepting these vapid roles? Where she sings a romantic song in a garden to the hero and he keeps visualising his male friend smiling lovingly back at him? When you see the silliness of singing forgettable songs with yellow taxis of Kolkata (so cool in Kahani), you miss the tulip fields and chiffon sarees in Switzerland type songs.That romantic track was as pointless as the visit to Mumbai so they could tick-mark a disco song in the movie.
And apologies to the audience who might want to see wholesome on the screen. But it would be nice if the heroine was a tad slimmer. I mean, slim enough to fit into the cupboard, perhaps? And why is the audience expected to laugh at a hero who is afraid of flying when he is with the heroine but when flying alone, he has no such fears to be overcome?
So the predictability check list is growing. Add to that, the hairless cleavage of the hero. Here I must give half a star to the unpredictable bronzer the make up person has used on that cleavage. Saif Ali Khan’s cleavage was sometimes Fair and Lovely and at other times Florida Tanning-Bed Bronze. And with Jimmy Shergill, their joint hair lengths kept fluctuating so much it reminded me of Salman Khan’s hair in Veer.
Thankfully the bullets from goonda guns behave as predictably as if they were taught by Stormtroopers in Star Wars. You are subjected to the sound and fury of a blazing gun battle for fifteen minutes, and then the baddie says, ‘Hamare chaar aadmi mar gaye.’ Practically no one dies. Of course, there is a sleazy Chunkey Pandey who betrays the uncle. Could you get any more predictable than that?
And then the hero needs some same ole revenge thing. The audience would have been happier had the director killed the heroine instead of the hero’s love interest. The bromance has so much more chemistry, so many more possibilities…
But no one’s thinking. They just want the audience to whistle and clap (like the stupid construction workers who are all in the way of bullets, but not one gets killed) when the hero’s satin shirts never get singed even when he stuffs his gun into the front of his pants. Has no one ever fired a gun ever? Gun barrels get really hot to touch when they are fired as much as they are shown to do in these movies. You've seen smoke come out of barrels, yes? It’s a fact. Each time the hero pumps bullets into a hundred baddies, and then shoves his gun into the waistband, I cringe…
But most cringeworthy is the end of the film, where the director of a fine movie like Paan Singh Tomar begins to explain again and again who lives and who dies.
'He rendered the audience stupid with the whole whole movie', my head says to my disenchanted heart, 'that’s why he needs to explain the twist naa…'
I can’t even kill myself with those guns that have been stuffed in those creepy crotches, I shudder as I emerge from the movie. And sigh as I realise that even if I did wipe the gun with a sanitizer, the dum dum bullets would not let me die. What tedium this has been…