Director: Indra Kumar
Star cast: Ajay Devgn, Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Riteish Deshmukh, Jaaved Jaaferi, Arshad Warsi, Sanjay Mishra, Boman Irani
One can suspend disbelief and forsake logic voluntarily if a screwball comedy has engaging screenplay, wacky characters and rip-roaring gags. In that regard, director Indra Kumar’s ‘Total Dhamaal’ should have been named ‘Partial Dhamaal’ because it provides everything – laughs to entertainment- in half measures.
‘Total Dhamaal’ is the third movie of the ‘Dhamaal’ franchise and stars Ajay Devgn, Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Riteish Deshmukh, Jaaved Jaaferi, Arshad Warsi, Boman Irani and Sanjay Mishra in pivotal roles. The plot comprises a motley group chasing a booty of Rs 50 crore and the travails they endure in their pursuit.
The template is a facsimile of the first movie of the franchise, only replete with bigger stars, and is, hence, predictable. But that’s not a major downer. However, many of the gags are repetitive and rob the movie of a novelty factor. One can understand that movies (and characters) of a particular franchise bearing their distinctive motifs and look as their their calling cards, but the discourse could do with more ingenuity and vigour.
The humour is puerile in most places, but thankfully not cringeworthy or crass. Some of the punchlines, especially delivered by Jaaferi and Mishra, are delectably droll and elicit guffaws. In fact, the first half, for the most part, is a fun watch. However, the second half jars as the director seems to have run out of ideas.
The climax, in particular, is a big let down. What could have been a riotous jamboree turns out to be only mildly amusing.
Of the cast, the banter between Kapoor and Dixit, the iconic onscreen pair of the 1980s and 1990s, is diverting. The easy chemistry between them keeps the proceedings afloat. Devgn lends his star power and cocky charm to the enterprise. Jaaferi, the lodestar of the franchise, once again comes out on the top. His reprisal of the man-child is quite endearing. Mishra, yet again, is in fabulous form. His archetype comic style and repartees are jocular. Warsi is passable.
Director Indra Kumar’s direction is like that of a jet-setter who sashays into a bash with swagger, but runs out of steam soon after. Barring the ornately shot title track, the music is a sore point. The cinematography by Keiko Nakahara captures the vast canvas of the movie appreciably.
Overall, ‘Total Dhamaal’ is a fair entertainer, but not the full-on feast it promised to be.