Total Dhamaal Movie Review: Expectedly: total dumb maal!

Updated: Feb 24, 2019, 19:40 IST | Mayank Shekhar

Would Total Dhamaal, in a language you didn't understand, be watchable still? Technically there is hardly a plot/story. So you'll follow what's going on, regardless.

Total Dhamaal Movie Review: Expectedly: total dumb maal!
Total Dhamaal

Total Dhamaal
U: Action, Adventure, Comedy

Director: Indra Kumar
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Arshad Warsi, Jaaved Jaaferi, Riteish Deshmukh, Sanjay Mishra
Rating: Ratings

The first thing you notice about this Hindi film (or at least I did) is that it plays with English subtitles. Not that most need it; but great relief, nonetheless. For I had returned from the same Mumbai theatre only the evening before, within the first minute of a Malayalam film (a heavily recommended Kumbalangi Nights), having realised that the pic had no English subs, and people were laughing at jokes (presumably), that I couldn't access.

Would Total Dhamaal, in a language you didn't understand, be watchable still? Technically there is hardly a plot/story. So you'll follow what's going on, regardless. But this is the sort of deliberately-sasta, kaam chalau comedy that works on simplest set-ups, and pay-offs - or punch-lines - that you ought to be in sync with. Some jokes work - at a pure comic timing level. Several don't. But that's really what you walked in for. For the record, the first Dhamaal (2007) had entered theatres hot on the heels of the fab Golmaal (2006), with Arshad Warsi common to both - making the former seem like pretty much a sequel to the latter. Modelled along the lines of the Spencer Tracy epic It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963), Dhamaal actually had a lot of dhamaal going for it.

Ever since, Golmaal has turned into a four-part, money-spinning franchise (or as Devgn calls it, his "retirement plan"). As have similar all-star comedies from the time - Housefull (the fourth instalment is on its way), Kya Kool Hain Hum (in the screwball, sex-com space), Masti (there've been three so far - directed by Indra Kumar, as well).

This is the third in the Dhamaal series, and as a ride, perhaps mainly intended for kids, if you consider the amount of slapstick (instead of adult) humour, stereotyped 'Madrasi', Bihari, Gujju kinda gags, and tonnes of fine VFX paraphernalia - collapsing bridge, rickety helicopter, cute animals bumbling around in the farm, folk either hanging or flying off ledges… This is besides a lot of self-referential Bollywood one-liners that appear as stuck in time as, of course, the picture itself.

And so the password to open a door is 'one-two ka four; four-two ka one' as Lakhan, or Anil Kapoor, jumps off a wall. 'Ek do teen' as in the Madhuri Dixit Nene song is referred to, since Dixit is in the movie, along with Kapoor. Rohit Shetty is summoned in a line while cars fly. Ajay Devgn is of course the dude. His sidekick, Sanjay Mishra, whose refrain, "Dhondu, just chill," made him a superstar with Shetty's All The Best (2010), a similar mad-cap comedy, gets, "Bro," a new takia-kalaam here.

But my favourite guys in this movie have got to be Adi, and his man-child partner Manav (Arshad Warsi, Jaaved Jaaferi). Glad they've survived the franchise's original line-up (the only ones to, besides the perennial ensemble-com favourite, Riteish Deshmukh).

The entire lot is after a Rs 50 crore booty. All they know is that it's kept at a zoo. And with presumably someone called OK, which is what you must feel like - never mind what happens in the movie thereafter. Anything I say about this expectedly total dumb maal, should be construed as boring old me, coming in the way of your heightened, harebrained entertainment. Already have; read no further!

Also Read: Exclusive: Ajay Devgn on Total Dhamaal: It's very difficult to make people laugh

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