'Dishoom'... Weekend fun: 'Murder Madhuri'...Cinema murdered!

MUMBAI:  Sajid Nadiadwala believes in presenting entertaining fare, having experimented with serious stuff only once with Highway. With the best of stars available to him thanks to his track record, his entertainers generally pass muster, usually meaning profits to him and his distributors.

Dishoom  as the title suggest, in an action film though the title is only suggestive as the action is of the fast-paced gun-and-chase kind. One-day matches are being played in the Middle East where, thanks to their star batsman, Saqib Salim’s (named Viraj in the film to read as Virat) last over heroics scoring the required runs. The next and final match is with the traditional rivals, Pakistan.

All bets are being laid on to India win, again, thanks to Saqib. But someone somewhere has other plans. Rahul Dev kidnaps Saqib 36 hours before the finals. Soon the phone lines are burning between the host country officials and cricket bosses in India. The matter is beyond both and soon gets the Indian government involved.

When solving tough cases overseas, Indian cops are the best and, thus, the ministry dispatches their very best, John Abraham, to do the needful. He is supposed to work with the best the host country police has to offer but, instead, John opts for a bungling cop, Varun Dhawan, whose CV so far credits him with tracking a lost dog, fetching provisions for the superior cop’s family and escorting his children to and from school.

It seems, in the process of tracking the lost dog, Varun has become a sort of Google Map for the county. That is what John needs, a guide, since, like all super cops, he believes in working alone otherwise. As the two set out to find Saqib, they remind you of pairings in films like 48 Hours (remade in Hindi as Andar Baahar), the Terence Hill-Bud Spencer films, Abhishek Bachchan-Uday Chopra capers and many more.

It is fun as the duo get tracking the culprits, what with Varun’s gimmicks and the one-liners between the two till the interval. That is when Varun decides to turn into a serious cop thanks to the influence of John and the villains are brought into open at this stage. The fun is over and so is the suspense. Rahul, it seems, was only the face in the kidnap drama while the real villain is Akshaye Khanna.

The second half is serious chases with modern cars, bikes, speedboats and choppers joining the action. In the process, the makers also take you on a brief trip into a medieval Arab town right out of Arabian nights, but with goons wielding guns rather than swords!  The fun is over. In the process of investigations, the John-Varun duo is also introduced to Jacqueline Fernandez. That is some pastime till she decides on which of the two will be her man. As a consolation, Varun does get to meet his match in the end title song in Parineeti Chopra to complete the foursome.

The script by Tushar HIranandani and Rohit Dhawan treads familiar ground and borders on routine through its second half. Dialogue is fun at times, drying out as the film progresses. Rohit has handled the film well considering its canvas and extensive action scenes. Music in the film is foot tapping, fast to blend with the proceedings. Action sequences are ably executed and keep the viewers’ interest going in the later parts. Cinematography is very good. Editing is okay considering the film’s duration is a mere 124 minutes with nothing much to delete.

While John playing the no-nonsense cop serious only about his mission does well, Varun gets a better deal playing a light role catering to the mass. Jacqueline looks charming and does better than in her earlier films. In the absence of an established evil man, establishing Akshaye as the villain is a task the writers-director accomplish only partly. Rahul as junior villain is okay. Akshay Kumar regales in a cameo.

Dishoom is a fair entertainer with appeal for both, mass (mainly) as well as class where it is expected to pick up. The solo release status is a plus. The collections in the Hindi belt will be affected till early next week due to (Kavadia) religious processions causing road blocks leading to traffic restrictions in many parts of UP and Delhi.

Producer: Sajid Nadiadwala.

Director: Rohit Dhawan.

Cast: John Abraham, Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Akshaye Khanna, Saqib Salim, Rahul Dev, Vijay Raaz and, in cameos, Akshay Kumar, Mohinder Amarnath, Rameez Raja, Atul Wassan, Parineeti Chopra.

Murder Madhuri:

Murder Madhuri  seems to be the outcome of somebody’s lifelong dream to make a film. Previous experience: Having watched numerous films, Hollywood as well as Indian. Qualification: Money to waste. The catch to draw audience: name Madhuri in the title.

A girl, Shanaya Kureel, has finished some sort of her exam at some odd hour of the day when it is dark all over, the streets are deserted and no public transport is available or no private vehicle willing to give her a lift. However, the girl need not worry because her father, Sharat Saxena, is with her for safety.

Finally, after trying to hail down a lot of vehicles, they succeed in getting a ride with a private luxury coach. They are welcomed by four, a driver and three others, with ‘goons’ written all over them. If the producers are inspired from the real life incident of Nirbhaya, it seems, so are the goons.

Though tough as he may be, Saxena is overpowered by the goons. The guys take turns to rape Shanaya as the other two keep Saxena under control. After the rapes, the father-daughter duo are thrown out on the streets. They are spotted lying unconscious by a mentally disturbed woman who herself is a rape victim; she was raped by one of the luxury bus men’s father, Kiran Kumar. Raping, it seems, runs in the family.

Kiran Kumar is the home minister of wherever this incident has taken place which, according to convenience, keeps shifting between Mumbai and other places.

Shanaya succumbs to her injuries sustained because of the brutal assault on her by the rapists. The police is divided. While the commissioner is at service of Kiran and seems to be running his force from Kiran’s bungalow, there is one honest office in Sonali Joshi who takes on the home minister as well as her commissioner to bring the rapists to book. Nothing works though arrests and acquittals take place on regular basis.

That is when, suddenly, Saxena remembers he is senior ex-army man who specialized in hand-to-hand combat no matter the number of enemies he had to contend with. Good too that he did not remember this in the bus for had he done so, this film would not have reached so far!

Saxena arms himself with guns of various shapes and sizes and decides to play Charles Bronson (Death Wish and sequels) to pick the culprits and seek revenge for his daughter.

The film has one 1960s song playing in the background meant to rouse the viewers’ emotions. The script, direction, make up, props, just about everything ranges between amateur and juvenile.

Producer: Ali Mohamed Oosman.

Director: Ali Mohamed Oosman.

Cast: Sharat Saxena, Kiran Kumar, Deepshikha, Sonali Joshi, Vinay Verma, Suneeta Rana, Raza Murad, Amit Kumar, Shanaya Kureel.

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