Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

April 22, 2011

Playing dum

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 10:32 pm

April 22, 2011

Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Prateik Babbar, Rana Daggubati, Bipasha Basu, Aditya Pancholi

Director: Rohan Sippy

Dum Maaro Dum, directed by Rohan Sippy, is a heady cocktail of crime, deceit, love, sex and drama. And yet, somehow, it fails to come together as the slick action thriller that it set out to be.

The chief culprit here is the haphazard way this story is told. Dum Maaro Dum is about the drug mafia in Goa, and about how one surly, daredevil cop ACP Vishnu Kamath (played by Abhishek Bachchan) is sent to clean up the paradise state. The film’s first half unfolds leisurely as we’re introduced to the main players one by one. Prateik Babbar is Lorry, a nervous student seduced into breaking the law despite his own misgivings. Bipasha Basu is Zoe, a naïve girl who puts ambition over her relationship. And Rana Daggubati is Joki, an idealistic musician who watches dear ones make bad decisions. The lives of each of these characters intersect when they become intentionally or accidentally involved in Goa’s drug trade, run by Aditya Pancholi’s character Lorsa Biscuta.

On paper, writer Sridhar Raghavan offers damaged characters that aren’t hard to sympathize with. But the moment you find yourself becoming involved with a character, the screenplay shuttles quickly onto the next, leaving you ultimately disconnected with their pain. Back-stories and motives in this film are so laughably silly it’s hard to take them seriously.

Early on in Dum Maaro Dum it becomes clear that the script’s playing second fiddle to the stylish technical treatment – from snazzy editing tricks and edgy cinematography to a pulsating background score. Like the director’s last film, Bluffmaster, this one too is gimmicky in the way it’s pieced together.

Post-intermission the film picks up pace, chiefly because you start investing in the character of the determined cop Kamath, played with bite by Abhishek Bachchan. Alas, this too starts weighing in on you with those unending twists and turns, giant loopholes in the plot, and a climax that is quite frankly, underwhelming.

You get the feeling the actors too were at sea here; except Abhishek Bachchan there isn’t any performance to take home. Prateik Babbar starts off convincingly, but succumbs to the film’s hammy tone, and Rana Daggubati’s towering physicality seems wasted in a thankless role. Meanwhile, Deepika Padukone’s defiant dancing to the track Mit jaaye gham does liven up the grim second half, but Bipasha Basu is missing her usual spunk, and even Vidya Balan’s shadowy presence as Kamath’s dead wife barely touches an emotional note.

There are some things, however, that this film does get right. As with the way Sippy mixed Mumbai into Bluffmaster’s genes, Goa too is almost a character in Dum Maaro Dum, and you get a strong sense of the place in most scenes. The action sequences add style to the story, with more than one smartly-filmed chase scene. The dialogues too pack quite a punch, before it all starts to feel too much.

In the end, it’s Abhishek Bachchan who throws you with his sheer presence. He plays Kamath with just the right amount of steely nerve and naked emotions. Unfortunately it isn’t enough to lift this film from an average drugs-drama to a smart and entertaining action thriller. It’s got its moments, but they’re few and far between.

I’m going with two out of five for director Rohan Sippy’s Dum Maaro Dum. It’s watchable, but it could easily have been so much more.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. Dear Mr. Masand,

    After reading your reviews for so long now.. I feel it is very difficult to please you.. I would love you to make a film one day.. and see What you come up with.. Though some of your reviews are fare.. some are just plain arrogant and biased.

    Anyways, thats your job.. Keep doing it..

    Comment by Aamir Mithani — April 23, 2011 @ 12:03 am

  2. When will u reply to me ..

    mt review on FB – Dum Maaro Dum – Rohan Sippy explores a diff genre after 6 yrs with DMD and does an Avg job.Though DMD has an Avg Script,the Screenplay keeps u hooked in d 1st half.2nd half shld hv been edited and paced.Abishek and Aditya steal the shw while Bips looks fab.Music is Below Avg and the most imp Climax Fails to impress.Overall an engaging Thriller that falls flat becoz of the End!!Rating 2/5

    Comment by Sagar Balani — April 23, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

  3. sir itni sahi film hai aap toh bekar main watt laga rahe ho movie ki.

    Comment by tishay — April 23, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

  4. I came across the movie yesterday even after going through its pathetic reviews and to my surprise it wasn’t that bad.I’ve been following your reviews from ages and I fail to realise that what would fascinate you about a movie. Like Taran Adarsh who normally gives 1 star more to a movie , you always tend to offer 1 star less. As a frequent movie watcher for both Hindi and English cinema…..I offer this movie 3 out of 5 stars.

    Comment by The Viewer — April 23, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

  5. sir,if tees maar khan got 2,dum maaro dum certainly deserve more!!!

    Comment by ankush — April 24, 2011 @ 8:41 am

  6. The script had some good points and nice twists but I totally agree that it has major loopholes. Specially I never understood everyone who even spelled the name of Michel Barbosa was getting murdered How it was that the singer was freely roaming while he was asking everyone to search Barbosa.

    Comment by Tarun Kumar — April 24, 2011 @ 8:43 am

  7. Hmmm, Yes movie don’t deserve more than 2 star. I watch at-least 2 movies a day and i have many favorite movies (having different flavor) in my library, hence i can easily say it.

    Comment by Ataur Rahman — April 26, 2011 @ 1:01 am

  8. A very harsh and arrogant review. I will give this movie 3 on 5. I dont want to teach u how to do ur job but dude u have serious power in this business. i for one always listen to you seriously but i went to watch this movie despite ur bad reviews because i started doubting u after u gave sucker punch 3 on 5.. and guess what.. this review puts the first nail in ur coffin as far as trust goes. Please do some soul searching… U r becoming the exact opposite of that idiot taran adarsh. Extremism is not good in the long term.

    Comment by amit — April 26, 2011 @ 1:51 am

  9. Mr Masand,

    Although I am an avid follower of your reviews, and i abide by them most of the time, this time around i feel that DMD deserves a bit more credit. It is one of the few good movies today and well shot too. I felt that your review was biased and that you have something against maybe abhishek or rohan sippy. This is not Hollywood, and by merely comparing indian movies to them won’t make them better. Kindly be a bit more appreciative and point out the flaws in a motivating manner rather then thrashing them.

    – Ankit

    Comment by Ankit Sharma — April 26, 2011 @ 8:00 pm

  10. Someday, make a movie yourself because I would really like to see what you look for in a movie. You have never given ANYTHING more than 3 stars, even to some of the best movies like 3 Idiots. It’s difficult to take your word for anything because you’re so critical of everything. Movies are mostly meant to be a timepass, so try looking at a movie based on its entertainment quotient, and lighten up.

    Comment by Ramya — April 28, 2011 @ 2:58 am

  11. I haven’t seen the film yet so won’t comment on that. But I’d surely like to comment on Masand’s reviewing style-I’ve said time and again that this guy needs to recalibrate his benchmarks. No, seriously.

    Comment by PS — April 28, 2011 @ 3:25 am

  12. Well, I beg to differ on certain things you wrote about movie:
    [RM]Post-intermission the film picks up pace…
    Really? The movie unfolds nicely in first half. But crashes in second with hardly any movement in story and inspects some ‘not so required’ aspects of certain characters. Bipasa for one and her pain does not relate much to the story at hand.

    [RM]But the moment you find yourself becoming involved with a character, the screenplay shuttles quickly onto the next..
    I believe there is more space given to characterization than required. This left little time specially in second half to wind up the script..
    For example, did you get to know what Abhisek learns from the notes given by Pratik…
    Or, What in the world caused Aditya to spy on Bipasa…
    Or, How a grave, just a grave, created is so much of a mystery in a small place like Goa…

    You are correct.. screen play is horribly treated while that should have been more carefully treated because the plot has nothing unique to offer. But in other areas the film does well.

    Most disappointment came from Dipika… Shiela and the choreography of her jawani still rocks…

    Comment by Amit — April 28, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

  13. i think you are criticizing too much here. Its definitely a 3/5 movie. It may not entertain critics for the facts u stated, but its a worth for money for any common man. I loved Abhishek’s performance as a tough cop. Even Vidya, as his dead wife gave a graceful touch. The action scenes were far better than any other contemporary movies so far. I loved the way the story was told. Of course there were few flaws like the message from Prateks letter, i couldnt understand how abhishek got to know about the grave from the letter. What was with the video that Bipasa tapped?? Why was it important?? she could have just passed the message to Joki as well.
    But like all the other good movies, you can just neglect these flaws and appreciate the effort taken.
    Overall its a movie worthwatching.
    Guys go for it, than wasting your time watching other no sense movies and making them a HIT !!!

    Comment by Meera — April 29, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

  14. This movie had some decent plot, good Background score and some awesome photography, if you dint like this movie then probably you have to raise your standards.

    Comment by Somesh — May 3, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

  15. 2/5 is being too harsh for a movie thats worth more than ur ticket money….and coming to the item numbr of the song its NO WAYS close to sheila la ki jawani lmao..

    Comment by algorithm101 — May 4, 2011 @ 9:26 am

  16. The movie was not so bad as you say it was…I think your kinda biased sometimes.

    Comment by Soundarya Giridhar — May 7, 2011 @ 12:59 am

  17. Hollywood had visualized it long back the thrill may not be action but it was definitely a women getting afraid of her fridge due to overdose of diet pills ,yup talking about DArren Aranoksfy’s REQUEIM FOR A DREAM.The film Exploited the ILL Effects of DRUGs with a general logo (pupil radiating ,metabolic rate increasing).
    DUM MARO DUM has SEXY sound mixing , brilliant art direction,gripping PLOT(thrills,humor , love ,sex ) its all there and it all gelled on very well.

    THE FINAL PRODUCT was ABOVE the standards of RAJEEV MASAND’s tiny narrow minded BRAIN..

    This film kept you at the edge of your seat , it had a spirit, funny catchy one liners to laugh about ,music that make your feet dance,and most importantly the violence WITH AN IMPACT…and “”GIMMICKY”” is why the world ENJOYS BOLLYWOOD..Bcz WE offer dem dat experience their sundance and berlin never will

    Comment by sid — May 8, 2011 @ 1:57 am

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