Dhoom 2

To all those Bollywood fans out there, I finally managed to get tickets for Dhoom 2 in London. It’s the only film in London other than Casino Royal that is consistently ‘house full’. The film is a lot of fun in a charmingly silly way. But I think it is time to change the name ‘Bollywood’ to ‘Bodywood’. Shekhar

36 thoughts on “Dhoom 2

  1. I’m sort of looking forward to it…missed the first film, but then I’m a bigger fan of KMG & Krrish as groundbreaking (well, sort of…) genre films…
    But the fact that non asians are taking notice is a good thing – a friend who I have persuading to see Krrish mentioned that Vic Armstrong (who does most of the stunt work in the Bond films) worked on Dhoom 2, so what better endorsement ?
    And as for toned musculature…even with the female characters, who seem to be developing into video game counterparts – I think the “shape” of Indian women, in particular, has undergone a profound change in films – a sign of affluence, visits to the gym – rather like the obsession with breasts which America had in the 40s & 50s…
    …and the only “art house” film ever to feature a “body” was “Stay Hungry” with Arnold Schwartzeneggar…

  2. Shekhar,
    But i find dhoom 2 more interesting than casino royale. may b becoz v dont expect much from bollywood films but as far as performance is concern Hrithik rocks than Daniel.

  3. hahahahahahaha….BODYWOOD….i fell off my chair…hehehehe…BODYWOOD!
    ‘a lot of fun in a charmingly silly way’ lol…says it all. YO!

  4. Dear Shekhar
    Laconic though your comment is, now I’ll see the film. I’d been too busy to see it so far, and it’s near the end of its run here in NYC.
    You know what p’s me off? The NYTimes.com Movies section doesn’t even list it as a current release, although it did 2+ million in two weeks in NYC, and that with only three screens (one of them the tiny 250-seat ImaginAsian, my favorite theater). Cultural ignorance? Imperialism? Huh?? I had to go to the Box Office section of NYTimes.com to find it and where it’s playing. NYT readers who are unaware of Indian films in general won’t check it out because they won’t know it’s playing. The only effective publicity outlets for Indian films in NYC are neighborhood or Desi newspapers and their sites, blog services that publish events notices like Sulekha.com, and word-of-mouth. It’s crazy. This is supposed to be the famous multicultural NYC, after all.
    I can remember when Bombay Dreams started its run, the slight unease in the NYC press about loving it or not loving it. It was spectacular, my son and his fiancee took me to see it for my birthday — thank you, Shekhar, for that production, it rocked the house very big time.
    Let the dust be blown off the hearts of NYC critics, whenever something worthy from India comes to town for a run, whether it’s film, theater or whatever.
    love, Heath

  5. Dear Shekhar,
    I saw Dhoom 2 on the second day of its release and loved it. The film doesn’t pretend to be a path-breaking film cinematically, but is great fun to watch because of its action/dance sequences and the sheer star-power of Hrithik Roshan. It is an out and out Hrithik film and the grapevine says that the Sr. Bachchan was miffed on seeing that his son was totally overshadowed and outclassed by Hrithik, during a special screening of the film for the Bachchan clan. In my opinion, Hrithik should be the highest paid male lead actor in India and deserves to be the numero uno. Not just in India, but I feel he has the capability of giving leading men in Hollywood a run for their money.
    Regarding your observation about the current obsession of Bollywood with gym-toned bodies……we don’t know whether it’s for the better or worse. Gone are the days of yesteryear superstars like Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Sanjeev Kumar, Asha Parekh, Meena Kumari etc………..today, people with bodies like theirs won’t even get a second look from casting directors. Which is really sad, because we don’t know how much talent is kept out of the industry because of this current obsession with gym-sculpted bodies. This is surely a point to reflect on.

  6. Shekhar,I have been following your new posts ( and reading the old ones ) for a couple of months now and I must say , they are very thought provoking. I must also add that the other day in our company newsletter where I was being highlighted and we had to answer a question on three best hindi movies ever seen, I answered Masoom , and virtually everybody in the office hasn’t heard of the movie ( may be time to do a Shekar Kapur perspective…commercial opportunity ..DVDs etc..you must have guessed by now ,, I am an ageing marketeer ! ) which I found surprising.
    I do not watch many movies now ( in one stretch, anyway ) but I was persuaded by my daughters to see Dhoom2 and I must say I was entranced. There is no story, most of the sequences are exaggerated and add to visual appeal ,and a virtual dependance on Hritik to add the oomph ( not Ash!) but it holds your attention for a full 2 1/2 hours. There is virtually an absence of script but the execution carried it through. Somebody , elsewhere mentioned about Krissh, which I thought was similar from a script perspective.
    So a few questions,
    – Do you in Hritik see an emergence of a Superstar – both Dhoom and Krissh would have been poor without him ?
    – Is execution becoming the critical variable in making good movies – script is secondary. Or in reality, the good script is really very simple ( and I am being presumptuous in writing off the script as a poor one )
    – Is this a technical evolution of the Hindi Film industry , which is taking our awareness levels up about what is possible, and therefore this response to Dhoom
    – And therefore, what will be the next port of call ?

  7. Dear Shekahr
    Saw Dhoom II last night. First time ever in NYC that the audience stayed for the credits after a 2.5+ hours film due only to the body-bedecked item dance under the credit roll (in my experience, anyway). The men were definitely open-mouthed.
    Aishwayra Rai has problems with her acting, and was most intrigung and successful in projecting an interesting personality that has complexity, depth, and a kind of music to it, in her scenes with Abhishek. That tells me she has a lot of fears, as she was most relaxed and centered in her acting when she was with her boyfriend. I wonder how she would do under your direction. Her dancing has become seriously good. Hrithik is still too focused on his own good looks. Strong direction might make a really good actor of him, he coasts on his physical efforts and style and lets his emotional depths stay untapped, but there are times when a natural, genuine talent is visible despite all that rich but depleting surface stuff. Abhishek is the best actor here, but he coasts often in this film, it didn’t demand enough of him. His work in Yuva was outstanding, and he was excellent in Nautch (I probably misspelled that) and KANK, too. Bipasu Basu and Uday Chopra were both charming. Bipasu has a lot of range, and is absolutely brilliant in her physical acting. The dancers from Rio were incredible, incredible. There’s one male Rio dancer, very dark-skinned with dreads, who was a contained nuclear explosion of dance moves.
    Well, Shekhar, even in simple things you’re an inspiration — I think I’d have missed Dhoom II if you hadn’t posted this post. I’m continuing to grow in my USA understanding of Indian films and culture in general. I knew all the actors in this film, and spelled their names correctly here (I think, I’m not checking), without looking them up. And I can say their name pretty decently, too, courtsey of Rosetta Stone Hind Level I. And I understood 50% of the Hindi dialogue, due to slow absorbtion of meaning during the watching of hundreds of hours of Hindi films in the past 3 years. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    love, Heath

  8. Dear Shekhar
    Dhoom II’s plot was well-developed, too, and the editing was tight, with good special effects. If I’d have been the director, I’d have done things like raked away tire tracks and surf marks in the sand in the dunes-and-train sequences, etc., to make for a more perfect visual respresentation of the fantasy. But that such things weren’t done tells me more about the Indian approach to story-telling of all kinds — that immersion in the story is very much the viewer’s / listener’s responsibility, much more so than in the USA. Perhaps it’s similar to reading. There is a long long tradition of story-telling in India, and there are complexities to the interaction between audience and performers that simply don’t come into play in younger cultures like that of the USA.
    (This additional comment was indirectly inspired by the new nano post — it made me remember the holographic subsititute for the diamond during the diamond theft, and how good that part of the script was.)
    love, Heath

  9. Heather…
    Dhoom 2 is a very bad example of story telling and it has got nothing to do with Indian style of story telling.
    Dhoom 2 is nothing but a frivolous bollywood culture that has developed over the years. Filmamkers in bollywood have grown up watching hollywood films. Dhoom 2 is an out come of lack of understanding of Visual story telling and more over that Story itself. The director writer of Dhoom 2 has no contorl over any genre as such. if its about entertainment as they say then yes they have entertained but its not a CONSCIOUS art on behalf of the director. the film entertains because of Hirtik’s dancing, Ash’s new thin look and music….music beats falling at right places makes a hit film in India and probably all over the world. but how long these indian film makers are going to rely on EMOTIONAL LOGIC? and Dhoom 2 is a total mixture of all the genres(again not consciously…it just happned). and then they proudly say that its an indian style of story telling. bullshit! they dont understand the language called Cinema! this could be my childish, angry opinion. but i just cant understand WHY THEY KEEP SHOWING SUCH FRIVOLOUS CLICHED STORIES?
    Shekhar, i still remember most of the scenes from Mr.India. there are CHARACTERS in Mr. India…where are CHARACTERS in DHOOM 2? where is the DIGNITY? why the hell cop is dancing? why at the end the cop has to say its a love story? [Vijay Anand never had to add such a frivolous dialogue in THESARI MANZIL. THEESARI MANZIL is a love story weaved beautifully in a suspence thriller.So is Jony MEra Naam and JEWEL THIEF and all these 3 films were so called ESCAPIST fiction genre but definitely not FIRVOLOUS like Dhoom 2] What happens to Bipasha Basu’s first half character? ……….
    DHOOM 2 is a BAD FILM! where are we? i feel ashamed when i see Ameros Peros, city of God, motorcycle diaries, Osama, Amelie, Cinema paradiso, Bad education, blue,children of heaven, son’s room, many many more….Where are films in india? Dhoom 2? bullshit…
    once a reporter went to interview Mr. Satyajit Rai. He asked MR. Ray ‘What do you ahve to say about current state of indian film industry?’ Ray said ‘ what indsutry you are talking about? i think there are only 2 directors Basu Chatterji and Guru Dutt. what INDUSTRY you are talking about?’ the interview was over!!!
    this was 50 years ago. its a pity that the state has not changed a bit since then.
    where are innovative stories? where are STORIES?
    too much glitz and no show! thats Dhoom 2!
    a bad bad bad bad bad bad bad film!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. uh-oh It’s the D-word again. It’s jostling for space in my mind with the Iraq war. How surreal!
    An out-and-out entertainer, charming and silly, and leaves one feeling good..nummy.
    Heather, your review is quite similar to mine. Achchaa hai!

  11. I’d disagree that Krrish had a bad script…at least it made SENSE within the bounds of its superhero framework- which you can’t say for many films, Bollywood or not – ie it had an internal logic without too many (odd to admit this…) weird coincidences…maybe this is the secret of good fantasy films ???
    Mr India is a great film…but realistic characters ??…hey, this was a film which was comic book sliced thick – the characters resonate because they seem Indian, but even Sri Devi is just an Indian “Lois Lane”, Anil Kapoor is an updated Raj Kapoor “everyman” and Amrish Puri an over the top cartoon villain in the James Bond sense…
    Hrithik is like a live action cartoon – perfect for fantasy roles in a medium which is gradually becoming over-manipulated due to digital technology…

  12. The “Bodywood” observation has deeper connotaions if you see it in context of what the film is. It is escapist fare, sure, but focusses on the star value of the actors even more than its action, which I woul have presupposed would have been the film’s mainstay.
    The stunts are choreographed to service the actors’ star value, the plot is written ad hoc to service the stunts, and quite possibly the only thing you take away from the film is the enthusiasm that the actors have.
    You might not comment on the film itself, considering it would have bigger repercussions than mine, say, but I would have loved to discuss the new fangled bravado that Bollywood seems o have found with you. Ah, well, maybe next time you’re in Mumbai, I won’t miss you.

  13. …to add..having not seen Dhoom 2 yet – I can only ask : what makes a film memorable ?
    The characters in Mr India remain etched in our memories even if they are larger than life & exaggerated – so that makes it work…what about Dhoom 2 ?…Hrithik ??…the songs…???
    Or it’s just like fast food..eat, enjoy and forget it…

  14. Dear Kedar
    Dhoom II (or Dhoom, for that matter) are not claiming to be anything other than money-making machines, as far as I can find. To compare either film with Shekhar’s works is like comparing a newspaper comic strip with some of the best stories. Why judge the film by such a standard? Judged on its own level, it’s very effective.
    What I meant about Indian story-telling is this: your country has an unbroken tradition of education and entertainment via storytelling, that goes back thousands of years, and is one of the central dynamics of your culture.
    In the US, as kids, we are taught things like how to handle the Western classical music tradition,, i.e., how to dress for a concert, the social nature of it, how to behave, how to express appreciation in heartfelt but restrained ways so as not to disturb other listeners, etc. The subteties of such surface thins tell the kids something about the nature of the music itself, as well as invest it with an importance that even kids who are not musically inclined pay attention to.
    I’m sure that in India, for each style of story-telling — or each long-standing musical tradition — the community of initiates — the adults — pass all the complexities of proper appreciation, interaction and behavior to each new generation of children, thus educating the kids about how seriously to take each form, what to listen for, what to look for and so on. And over the years, children build their own, deeper individual understandings of story-telling and musical traditions.
    It was my observation that, generically, because the tradition of story-telling in India is so long and unbroken, one of the aspects of its dynamic is a very full mental participation from the audience. Not the more passive one that is common in the US, where story-telling in general is not a strong, long-standing tradition central to the culture.
    Perhaps you’re not aware that in the poorer classes in the US, the parents are so overwhelmed with the tasks of survival that they hardly speak to their children, in many families, much less tell them stories. The lack of verbal interaction causes the IQ’s of these children to be as much as 20 points below where they’d normally be if they had full verbal stimulus from their parents. It’s not that poorer people don’t know how to speak, it’s that they’re depressed and overwhelmed, and don’t speak as much as a result, and when they do it’s often negative. In poor families where the parents’ spirits are strong enough to resist depression and negativity, the kids get decent verbal stimulus and don’t show lower IQ’s.
    In India, from what I can see from the outside, the ancient traditions of storytelling kinds of entertainment reach every class relatively equally, and verbal stimulus is decent, no matter how poor the family. This leads me to believe that story-telling is an incredibly rich resource that’s central to Indian culture, and to personal human development as well, starting at a very young age and continuing throughout each person’s life.
    My understanding of Indian culture is limited, but it has some contextual depth, because I’m from another culture, and because I’m observing how my view of it changes, as I build more exposure to it. By watching what I get and don’t get about any particular film, for example, and how what I get out of it changes over time, I am assembling an understanding of what India’s culture has that makes it unique and effective, when compared with other cultures.
    A classic example of the gulf between India’s and other countries’ cultures is Paheli — generally in India, it was thought that the deeper story in this film would be understood outside India, but the story wasn’t understood, the film was viewed as a quaint entertainment, a lighthearted rich-looking film, and nothing more. In the US, that deeper story, one of a woman’s rights and dreams, was completely lost. Even now, I don’t fully get it from inside my heart. When I got the DVD, I watched it about 15 times, to try to understand it more naturally and completely. I knew that deeper story was supposed to be there, but it seemed faint, and sometimes invisible, to me. Now I rewatch the film once every several weeks. My sense of that deep story is still very weak. This is because the issues the story is trying to tell are virtually non-existent in my culture. It’s also because Indian story-telling is generally much more complex than I can fully grasp, right now.
    In your critique of my comment about Dhoom II’s story, you are coming from a purely-Indian POV, culturally. For you, it is a matter of excellence within the Indian tradition.
    But for India’s films to reach the outside world properly, India’s filmmakers need to internationalize the story-telling complexity — in other words, they need to dumb it down, or make very clear what would be obvious to Indian audiences, but missed by international viewers without India’s strong cultural traditions. All big-budget films currently being made in India are gambling on acceptance by the NRI audience, and beyond. This allows them to leverage currency differentials to earn more money on fewer screens abroad, cover their investment, make good profit, and reach a hopefully ever-widening audience.
    That these films appear diluted in their Indian story-telling complexity and quality is no accident, it’s the only strategy that will let them reach a worldwide audience and feed them the Indian flavor of films, even if it’s watered-down. These films are now acting as the community of initiates, that will teach the “children cultures” of the world — the non-Indian cultures — how to appreciate Indian culture, in general. Once those other cultures have begun to learn this lesson, more concentrated, authentic exdpressions of India can be presented to them and they will begin to get it.
    I was dismayed by SRK’s surprise at how Paheli did not translate successfully abroad (and thus did not make the US Oscars Foreigh Film short list), and the subsequent appearance of a withdrawal of some of his confidence, in reaching out internationally with his work. I hope with the passage of a few more months, his normal confidence will rebound, as he comes to understand the nature of the problem, and becomes one of those to address it successfully in the future. I think this is important, because his intelligence, heart, energy and intensity are easy to love, no matter what culture is interacting with him. He is a perfect individual ambassador of Indian culture to the rest of the world.
    One reason we are talking here at Shekhar’s blog is he is fully immersed in Indian culture and he’s also driven himself beyond it. He understands that he has to expose his creative and personal vulnerability internationally — even when the emotional cost for that is very high — in order to succeed on a world stage. He makes films that succeed no matter what culture they’re shown to, that synthesize aspects of other cultures with Indian traditions and richness, and embody his own uniqueness. He is always walking an edge. Thus he has a blog, where we read him and we talk to him, at him, and with each other, and he talks back to us. (When SRK realizes the importance of this, his creativity will explode, I think. He’s been protecting himself too much recently. He doesn’t even have official web sites for himself or Red Chillies.)
    Dear Neeta
    love, Heath

  15. well…Heather i understand what you r saying…but all i am saying is that STORY is a STORY. what has culture to do with it? well…Character’s journey and the decisions that the character takes can depend on culture. e.g instead of Chirtmas, he might get a holiday because of Diwali festival but after that what he is going to do or face in his life because of these actions has to be UNIVERSAL. otherwise there is no point telling that story. (but who am i to say this… ๐Ÿ˜› ). Even the subtler cultural repurcussions on the society once exploited in story telling ,take universal form. (e.g Akira Kurusava’s or Satyajit Ray’s films were extremely regional but at the same time exteremely universal!)
    there was a literature class going on in one of the american univercites and the professor asked students to talk about ‘Why Shakespear is good? every one talked about KIng Lear and Othello and other plays by him. there was a Chinese student, he raised his hand and said ‘ Shakespear is good because all his characters are Chinese!!!’
    may be i am expecting too much from all of them. but then the mediocrity is so predominant now a days, it becomes irritating at times.
    Shekhar, make your clones and start making 10 films at a time!….hahahahaha (we must ask our nanotechnologist friend whether this is possible or not?…they must be trying this already! remember Ugenics!!! hehehe)
    take care Heather…thanks for reacting…it reminded me of commercial aspects of this show business and the practicalities which i tend to ignore as an aritst.
    BUT why The Cop in Dhoom 2 was dancing?!!!!!!!!this is certainly not Indian culture. this is a BOLLYWOOD culture! BODYWOOD! hehehehe….

  16. Dhoom 2, like 8 out of 10 bollywood movies, is a kitschy dream fable, with a comic book story, containing action sequences ripped off from bad hollywood movies served up to an audience trained from birth to expect little originality or class from Bollywood.
    I saw it today. Thank god I paid less than $1.00 to watch it here in Ranchi.
    Heather wanted a NYT review/mention of this movie. I must say (with all due respect to Heath) that even an intern at NYT may not sit past the first 15 minutes if Dhoom 2. I will consider giving up reading NYT if they did ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. I think all of you dont understand one thing- all movies are diff even if not original.Dhoom 2 never pretended to be anything other than entertaining. Despite the fact that there was no apparent story, it was just a simple tale of a thief who fell in love and then gave it all up. It was a completely entertaining film and I never got bored, have watched it 6 times already and can watch it a dozen more times.
    Why do you want to even analyse this film, simply enjoy it. if you are a person who is looking for originality, story etc, this is no movie for u, the makers have not claimed it either!

  18. Respected Sir
    I am a published author and have produced 16 books published by Oxford University Press. Now I have written a new love story. This is 100 percent orignal idea. I hope you will give me a chance to post you my synopsis.
    Thanking you.
    Farooq Joia
    57 Barnwood Close
    RG 30 1BS
    United Kingdom

  19. What a waste of time and money.
    By the time I am out of hall, my head is saying dhoom dhoom dhoom….
    God! the movie sucks real time.
    No story at all. Movie must have been meant for demented people. Rs. 8/- movies of madurai meant for showing abrupt adult scenes are better because we know that movie will be having many abrupt scenes with no story lines.
    Aish..Arghhh…. kiss seemed to be so puppy love kiss. It meant to be hot and passionate. Why she commands so high a price? Aren’t there better actresses?

  20. Dear Shekhar,
    Here are my comments. Please do not publish my e-mail address / give my e-mail address to anyone.
    What a waste of time and money.
    By the time I am out of hall, my head is saying dhoom dhoom dhoom….
    God! the movie sucks real time.
    No story at all. Movie must have been meant for demented people. Rs. 8/- movies of madurai meant for showing abrupt adult scenes are better because we know that movie will be having many abrupt scenes with no story lines.
    Aish..Arghhh…. kiss seemed to be so puppy love kiss. It meant to be hot and passionate. Why she commands so high a price? Aren’t there better actresses?

  21. interesting discussion…I am an Indian born and raised in the US, but I enjoy Bollywood fare from time to time. i watched Dhoom:2 and found it incredibly entertaining–I didn’t find it any better (or worse) than a big Hollywood blockbuster that tends to have horrible cliched stories–but not 1/100th of the star charisma (Hrithik blew me away–my god! and it wasn’t just his looks…he nailed Aryan,pitch-perfect)I have to say I am conditioned to dangling plot points in Hindi movies–Dhoom 2 wasn’t the first and won’t be the last. Bips, Ash, Uday and Abhishek all performed decently (I expected more from Abhishek–I was rooting for Hrithik the whole time) and the songs were fun. This is not a serious movie, never claimed to be…it’s only for enjoyment. So enjoy!
    and for the record, the New York Times DID review Dhoom 2–and they generally liked it.
    ““Dhoom 2” may represent the newfangled Bollywood, but old-fashioned star power is what animates and elevates it above its occasional narrative flaws and longueurs. When Mr. Roshan’s surprisingly green eyes meet Ms. Rai’s surprisingly blue ones, it’s a delirious moment of unself-conscious, slightly cartoonish movie magic.”
    here is the link to the full review:

  22. Hi Shekhar,
    Your comments on Dhoom-2 seems to suggest that you enjoyed the film a lot. I think it was a whole lot of shit. The robbery sequences were tacky and lacked imagination and intelligence. The film was driven by songs than script and the characters were cardboards of respective stars who played them. I feel ashamed and embarrased by the fact that even though we have the resources, talent, technology and everything that it takes to make a good film, still we come out with films like Dhoom-2, Koi Mil gaya and Krishh. Moreover, they even become hits and we call them examples of great cinema, whereas, in reality they are nothing more than plagiarised trash. And even more disappointing is that somebody like you calls it charmingly entertaining in a silly way (Whatever that means). In the past few years when Hollywood has/is breaking new technological grounds with films like Jurrasic Park, Pirates of the Carribean and Gladiator, we are rejoicing over unimaginatively shot, tackily edited action sequences of Dhoom-2 and Krishh. SAD.

  23. Hey ravi, what are you talking about from where indian film industry has evolved see the action sequences of 90s and of D:2 and Krrish . Bollywood has came a long way .And dude you were camparing these films with Jurassic park and pirates there is a major differences in budget between the two film industry bolly people put in 40 to 50 crores and i ve heard Titanic’s budget was 750 crores . and u r talking of being ashamed and embarassed . The kid has just learned how to walk and you want him to run wait it will run too . abt script pay what writers get paid in hollywood then see the diff . with peanuts u will get sloppy script only

  24. actualy i am not so much interested in waching the movies but i love all the songs of dhoom part2.when i saw thar film i found that it is fully for entertainment.there is no any good meaning regarding this film.through this film we are able to get some strategeis

  25. Dhoom 1 was music video!
    Dhoom 2 is Video Game!
    Dhoom 7 will be animation video game!
    The majority of people who buy the tickets at box office are in age group of 14-23 years. 70% of Dhoom collections are because of this FACT.
    Youngsters like…adraline push, sleek editing, sharp camera works, georgious babes, bikes, boys, fun, love on edge…everything which yash raj studios have smartly planned in 2nd version.
    Time to think about target audience!
    Time to think about scripts!
    Time to think about commercial cinema!
    Popular Cinema!

  26. Dhoom 2 is a cultural inperialism stuff from yash chopra club. They are doing their slavery duty as they are the slaves and agents of coca colonialisation.I think they are hired by CIA.

  27. …Hello I really love this movie..”DHOOM 2
    Even though it is late to give my comments..It doesn’t matter..Mr.A is a good actor..

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