Acting a ham & comedy a sham

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By Pratim D. Gupta Did you find Double Dhamaal funny? Tell
  • Published 25.06.11

Two gorillas. One supposed to be real and the other a man in a body suit. But you don’t need a Maneka Gandhi to tell you that both are, in fact, Homo sapiens trying to reverse evolution. Bheegey honth tere plays on the soundtrack. The gorilla guys make eye contact, jump on each other and start locking non-existent plastic lips!

If that’s your idea of fun, you will roll on the floor laughing while watching Double Dhamaal. If not, you may also roll on the floor but it would have nothing to do with laughter.

Indra Kumar, who used to make loud romantic dramas once upon a time in Mumbai, and whose Maruti Films drove the Merc riding the Madhuri Dixit wave — Dil, Beta, Raja — has since found comedies to be the safest way to laugh all the way to the bank. Not the non-veg platter ala Anees Bazmee but the stupid spread, Rohit Shetty-style.

Dhamaal, which came four years back, was mildly amusing. No double-meaning jokes, no lecherous skirt-chasing, it delivered laughs going gag-gag on the asinine antics of four dimwits.

As the title will tell you, Double Dhamaal tries to reprise that ‘silly’ success. So you have the loser foursome of Adi (Arshad Warsi), Roy (Riteish Deshmukh), Manav (Jaaved Jaaferi) and Boman (Ashish Chowdhry) trying to get rich again.

Also back in the fools’ fold is Sanjay Dutt’s Kabir Nayak, who has his own plans of using the grey matter, or the lack thereof, of “the four jokers”. Adding cleavage and curves to the clowns and cons are Kamini (Mallika Sherawat), Kabir’s girlfriend, and Kiya (Kangana Ranaut), Kabir’s sister.

In Half One, Kabir foxes the foolish four with an elaborate oil-shooting-from-the-ground real estate scam. In Half Two, the action shifts from Mumbai to Macau for the chaar yaar to take badla on Kabir, who is now a casino tycoon. That segment can be subtitled Double Disguise as each of the four guys has at least two get-ups — they get to be women, apes and everything in between.

Double Dhamaal has no intentions of tickling you. The idea is to torment you. Everyone’s eyes are perennially popped out, their mops of hair raised and there’s so much of jumping and falling going around, this kind of slapstick really deserves both: a slap and a stick.

The actors are given a free hand — their whole bodies actually — to go out there and go bonkers. Remember Arshad Warsi’s tweet: “Need to do some normal acting really soon to balance out the over the top HAM acting that I am doing in DD”? Well, if the cast feels like that, just imagine our condition in that dark theatre on a dull Friday morning.

Jaaved Jaaferi again is the best of the lot. By a margin. The bizarrest moment of the movie comes when he dips French fries in blood thinking it to be ketchup and mumbles in Manav mode: “It’s different!” What Tusshar Kapoor is to the Golmaal franchise, Jaaferi is to the Dhamaal movies.

There’s more Golmaal connection here as writer Tushar Hiranandani also tries to play the pop card, cracking jokes about Bollywood releases — Guzaarish, Taare Zameen Par, Peepli Live, et al — and the cast’s real-life legends — someone tells Sanjay Dutt: “Aapne toh bar dancer se shaadi ki hai!”.

The on-screen bar dancer, though, is the hisssest, er hottest, thing about Double Dhamaal. Mallika’s Jalebi bai may not match a Munni or a Sheila but is smoking hot in an otherwise insipid motion picture.

If the 16 reels weren’t enough, this moronic movie ends with the warning of a third film — Total Dhamaal. And to think we wish the world doesn’t end in 2012!