Consistency - that is what Dhamaal lacks. A few hold-my-stomach-and-laugh situations are sewn together with the regular loud, slapping-around slapstick. And in all of this, the story writers have been kind enough to worry about my well-being, literally begging my gray cells to take a break.
Some of the gags were sadly derived from jokes that I first heard when I was ten, and have been deleting as e-mail forwards for the last ten years. On the other hand though, caricatures of some of the side-side-characters were outright hilarious and acted out really well too.
You have to give them credit for creating an atmosphere of general interest throughout the movie. Within the first fifteen minutes you know that no matter what the lead characters plan, they are going to fall flat on their face (not literally, thank goodness!) But, it is the manner in which they fall that is pretty creative at most times. Unfortunately, the second half sees you playing catch-up with the five characters and what they are up to. The structure of the story itself becomes such that no amount of editing could create a flow in the narration.
The performances were a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly too. Riteish Deshmukh and Javed Jaffrey added nuances to their characters with their comic timing. Sanjay Dutt and Ashish Chowdhary looked plain and disinterested. One doesn't expect any less from Asrani in a slapstick - the screaming is written off as soon as you know his name in the starcast. Here is the shocker - Arshad Warsi takes his cue from Asrani - how heart-breaking is that!
Did anyone notice - no female lead! Ain't that great!? We all know how they could have easily been misused in a movie of this genre. No women also usually make the songs pretty much boring. The plain-as-ever lyrics and the lackluster music don't help. Not to mention the ridiculous choreography and the resultant indifference with which the cast executed it. What a waste of Javed Jaffrey! The background music did make certain situations funnier. But then, it got a bit much and annoying when it was used for every single movement of any character or object.
There certainly are a few very good laughs packed in the two hours - about twenty minutes worth. But is that good enough to forgive the tolerable, miscellaneous comedy? On a lazy Sunday afternoon, on DVD with a remote control in hand - yes.
- meetu, a part of the audience