Cinema

Dishoom: The spice is right

A poster of the film. Photo: Twitter/@varun_dv  

Most self-respecting tea aficionados, who take their cuppa a tad too seriously, have a pet peeve: a brew called masala chai. “There’s no real flavour of tea leaves”, “overwhelming spices”, “too much milk”: the complaints against it can go on and on. Yet, for most of us aam aurat and aadmi, masala chai is the go to, perk up drink, especially on a wet, rainy day.



Dishoom is the cinematic equivalent of masala chai; an all too familiar but giddy infusion. The tale of two cops trying to trace India’s leading cricketer (who has gone missing) in a matter of 36 hours, before the crucial India-Pakistan final, may not leave much to our imagination but is consistently amusing. So you have Kabir Shergill (John) of the Special Task Force joining hands with the rookie Junaid Ansari (Varun Dhawan as an Indian cop in the Middle East) who hasn’t even been able to trace a missing dog in his just-begun career.



Dishoom is mad, silly fun and doesn’t take itself seriously for even a minute. A reason, perhaps, why in these highly righteous times even a politically incorrect cameo by Akshay Kumar seems more zany than rude. The presence of women as mere arm candy also doesn’t seem so annoying. I wasn’t thrown off by the patriotic spiel either because even that is rather kooky. Be it the hat tip to Sushma Swaraj in the figure of the external affairs minister on the rescue mission. Or dialogue like “Duniya ke kisi bhi kone mein koi ek Hindustani ko haath bhi nahin laga sakta” or “Naukri karta hoon inki, sunta hoon Modi ki”. All mouthed with the tongue firmly in cheek.



Director: Rohit Dhawan
Cast:John Abraham, Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Saqeeb Saleem, Akshaye Khanna
Run Time 124 minutes


Rohit Dhawan seems to be getting more at ease in handling a big mainstream entertainer—the larger than life canvas, the action, the helicopter and scooter chases make for full-on filmi fun. In fact with some gags he gets his dad’s comic forte spot on—like the wacky phonecalls to Varun from Satish Kaushik’s voice (we don’t see him) that run like a thread through the film, right till the very end. Or the way he offers big star cameos as these nice little surprises (including cricketer Mohinder Amarnath casually walking in and out) or the revelation of the villain towards the interval. I was also amused at how he ties up everything and the littlest of things come to have a bigger purpose—be it a pug called Bradman or the cricketer’s dislocated shoulder.



Abraham is severely muscled, walking as though he is carrying the weight of the entire world on his body and just about nothing moves on his face. But this deadpan persona goes very well with the swag of Kabir. Varun, on the other hand, is rightly over the top. His comedy has a good touch of self-depracation (I am not Circuit to your Munnabahi, he says, when you know that’s what he actually is), making him likeable rather than irritating.



A sign of a good performer is how one can’t help not notice him or her even in a small role. Saqib Saleem packs in quite a punch as the missing cricketer Viraj. The firm posture as a player, the determination to win that you can spot even behind the helmet and the fear and unsureness when abducted—Saleem calibrates the performance rather well.



The many chinks in Dishoom’s armour notwithstanding, on this prolonged, dismal monsoon day the film’s infectious cheer seems just what the weather ordered. Whether it lasts beyond the season will be another story.



Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 17, 2021 2:01:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/Dishoom-The-spice-is-right/article14515189.ece

Next Story