Total Dhamaal

wogma rating: Switch channels if it's on cable (?)

quick review:

Full marks for delivering on promise–over-the-top colours, acting, sound, everything and non-stop non-sense (the not good kind.) Takes “leave your brains behind” to new levels of unacceptable without producing that one-odd laugh you thought you’d get.

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Director: Indra Kumar
Running time: 130 minutes
Genres: Slapstick
More Movie Info

Total Dhamaal - Preview

I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by some of the visuals in the trailer--a collapsing, long bridge, a huge waterfall, one of the shots with a parachute coming down. Of course, a lot of the other stuff is expectedly tacky CGI, especially the animals. Even so, I am hoping for some more of the former to balance the shoddy digital work.

And then with this series, you can also expect some laughs even if we are cringing at the slapstickiness of it all, during the rest of the film. The trailer does make one hope at least with some of Jaaved Jaaferi and Madhuri Dixit’s comic timing and some of the concepts like the rickshaw-helicopter and the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system. However, these things have the huge onus of tipping the balance away from the over-acting demanded of the cast, especially Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit.

All this while being fully aware that such balance might just be too much to ask for.

Total Dhamaal releases on 22 February 2019.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Of course, this genre is beyond my comprehension along with the argument that the entire point of the film is that it is not supposed to be comprehensible. In that sense, you get exactly what you thought you would. And yet, having understood all of this, I couldn’t make myself laugh even once. Not even forcefully.

A comedy film made me sad.

Jokes on women, especially within the context of the husband-wife relationship are rarely amusing. They are in plenty here and continue to stay unfunny despite Madhuri Dixit taking it on the chin with elegance. Then you have people slapping each other, cracking toilet jokes, vomiting, and more such slapsticky stuff. Again much in vain. They should have saved some of the better lines for us to discover in the film rather than milk them all in the trailer.

Now given all that can happen in an attempt at madcap comedy while staying strictly within slapstick boundaries, the performances can be said to be suitable for the genre. But, it just feels like all the actors are underused. From Manoj Pahwa to Madhuri Dixit to Anil Kapoor, Jaaved Jaaferi, and Arshad Warsi—not only their general acting skills are left aside, even their comic timing isn’t put to use. And it really made me sad. Aah, the irony of a comedy film making me sad.

Having said all of that, people were giggling and snickering and laughing out loud in the theatre. There was this cute elderly couple where the lady just couldn’t stop laughing, and I overheard the gentleman say, “I can’t believe I got dragged into this.” To him, I wanted to say, “it’s ok uncle, enjoy the locations that the film is shot in. Aren’t they beautiful?”

- meeta, a part of the audience

32 reviewers(?) - 3 yays 8 so-so 21 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Dishya Sharma, Bollywood Life : ...BL Verdict: After an emotional weekend with Gully Boy, Total Dhamaal is here to tickle your funny bones without using much brains.... full review

Thumbs up, by Vishal Verma, : ...All said and done, TOTAL DHAMAAL is filled with whacky, mad laughter and the inspired buffoonery is consistent with entertaining acts by Ajay Devgn, Madhuri Dixit, Anil Kapoor, Riteish Deshmukh, Arshad Warsi, Jaaved Jaaferi and co. the gags and laughter plus the message in the end makes sure that TOTAL DHAMAAL remains on track as a harmless no brainer clean family entertainer. You will leave the theatre with a smile on your face and that’s what we need today in these troubled times.... full review

Thumbs up, by R.M. Vijayakar, India West : ...This is a film that could have been eons better. But as it stands, it is still a fun outing at the movies.... full review

So-So, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, TOTAL DHAMAAL is a 'leave-your-brains-behind-at-home' entertainer with its share of funny moments. If you are not looking for wisdom and rationale in a light-hearted entertainer, then this movie is definitely for you. At the box office, it’s only the masses who might give the film thumbs up and they’ll majorly determine the fate of the film from Monday onwards.... full review

So-So, by Meena Iyer, DNA : ...If you're in the mood to laugh-out-loud, give this one a try. But be warned, laughter comes with a price!... full review

So-So, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...The screenplay is full of twists and some plot points never get explained. The editing is patchy at best. The computer imagery too could have done with an upgrade. The film delivers its punches by stringing together one ridiculous situation after another. As long as you enjoy that brand of comedy and are looking for a film to unwind, then Total Dhamaal is just the fare for you...... full review

So-So, by Madhuri V, Filmi Beat : ...Despite a promising ensemble cast, Indra Kumar's Total Dhamaal ends up as a feeble attempt at comedy. Instead of a mad-rush for the booty, the characters should set out for a search for the script in the film. Read more at: full review

So-So, by SHILPA JAMKHANDIKAR, Reuters : ...Nothing about “Total Dhamaal” will stay with you after you have left the theatre, but while you are in there, you can be assured of a few laughs.... full review

So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, : ...Some of the humour is nicely timed and executed, and Indra Kumar even tucks in a message of environmental conservation (delivered through tamed wild animals). There are enough lines here to fuel WhatsApp conversations – until the next such movie comes along.... full review

So-So, by Navneet Mudhara, yahoo! India : ...Overall, ‘Total Dhamaal’ is a fair entertainer, but not the full-on feast it promised to be.... full review

So-So, Zee News : ...Overall, "Total Dhamaal" is a total time-pass film sans any intelligence. You could term it as an acceptable good grade from a below average student.... full review

Thumbs down, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...Sadly I did hear audiences roaring in laughter and they continued to laugh as they came out of the theatre.... full review

Thumbs down, by Arnab Banerjee, Deccan Chronicle : ...At a time when nearly all of us receive and forward jokes and videos on WhatsApp on a daily basis, one would expect a silver screen experience to include some sparkle to this limp script and have interesting gags. Resultantly, all actors possibly must have died a little inside as their purported laugh fests are rejected outright by viewers. They all act indifferently and make the film look all the more stale.... full review

Thumbs down, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...I did leave my brains at home. In the freezer, even. But this movie’s commitment to juvenile delinquency is so total that it managed to bypass my brainless body in the hall and send dated whatsapp forwards to the freezer. It’s no wonder that strange literary terms like “out-and-out family entertainer,” “paisa-wasool masala” and “mindless fun” are currently swimming in my empty skull.... full review

Thumbs down, by UDITA JHUNJHUNWALA, FirstPost : ...After all of this, the film attempts to deliver a mixed message about how animals living in captivity need to be saved from avaricious developers. In the process, as they set aside their selfishness, this collective of crazies finds their conscience and we find a quick exit from the cinema.... full review

Thumbs down, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...The comedy is largely non-existent and when it does show up it feels and sounds abysmal. Hollow salutes to the current Govt’s ‘make believe’ Governance crop up at regularly intervals. The music, like in such films, is imminently forgettable. The CGI which involves animals, birds and some bouncing vehicles (Rohit Shetty variety) is so tacky that all sequences involving CGI elements look entirely flat and stupid. It’s a pity that mainstream filmmakers are still getting away with making such insipid, outdated stuff for the Gen Next audience. Do not expect to be entertained by these jaded routines !... full review

Thumbs down, by Punarvasu Pendse, : ...What makes this review genuinely hard to write is the feeling of sanctimoniousness it gave me during the viewing experience. On one hand, Total Dhamaal clearly vexed my sensibilities. On the other, there was constant whistling from not one but three places in the theatre I watched it in. So if you have young children under the age of ten, or loved similar drivel from Indra Kumar like Grand Masti, you will probably enjoy the cinematic experience.... full review

Thumbs down, by Raja Sen, Hindustan Times : ...The script is unforgivably lazy. There are setups galore — a car has a bonnet both at the front and at the back — but there are no payoffs. Instead, Kumar and his actors move from setup to setup, hoping we have indeed left our brains at home. There is exactly one okay laugh, involving a man with the surname Pilot being mistook for an actual pilot, making me wonder if Kumar ran into someone named Writer.... full review

Thumbs down, by Lakshana N Palat, india today : ...Overall, there is enough overacting in the film to make your head split into two. Most of the dialogues are cringeworthy and the CGI effects are pitiful. But then it comes to the point, where you almost wish that the film had been about the animals in the zoo. The jokes are predictable WhatsApp forwards and you can almost say them before the actors do. When will Bollywood learn that comedy doesn't mean shrieking and only being caricaturish?... full review

Thumbs down, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...Meanwhile, the tasteless jibes against women, a trademark of the Dhamaal franchise, pile up: ‘kaamwaali bais’ are fine, wink wink, wives are of no use, girls are ‘paisa udaane waali cheez’. Folk from the South of India are dark, wear dhotis, and speak gibberish. Racism, much?... full review

Thumbs down, by Anita Iyer, Khaleej Times : ...Don't go to watch the film expecting character depth. It is a mindless comedy - a film that you would want to watch to unwind. The cast and makers aren't even selling it as sensible cinema, to begin with.... full review

Thumbs down, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...All said and done, Total Dhamaal is a strictly one-time watch and that too on television. If you loved Dhamaal, skip this and if you liked Double Dhamaal, watch this. A classic case of too many cooks spoil the broth!... full review

Thumbs down, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...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).... full review

Thumbs down, by Pankhurie Mulasi, Movie Talkies : ...The songs have been placed just for the heck of it and we want to request Sonakshi Sinha to leave Helen’s songs alone. Cinematography is strictly okay, screenplay is pathetic and background score is too loud. Watch this film only if you have too much money and time to waste... full review

Thumbs down, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...Evidently, Total Dhamaal is a one-time watch but only when i Read more at: full review

Thumbs down, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...In a film like Total Dhamaal, the actors are reduced to such chumps that the animals that they run into in the climax - elephants, chimps, tigers, lions, gorillas and other poor creatures who deserve much better - seem to look as askance at them as the paying audience. If nothing else, Total Dhamaal is a great leveller - it reduces all of us, critics included, to dunces, some willing and some not-so-willing. But that would be only if you go anywhere near it. The choice is yours.... full review

Thumbs down, by Priyanka Sinha Jha, : ...Given that a raucous mindless comedy has not been around for a bit, I won’t be surprised if 'Total Dhamaal' rakes in the moolah this weekend and is back with yet another edition, soon.... full review

Thumbs down, by Manisha Lakhe, Now : ...A dying man gives the money mad bunch a clue. That begins the mindless comic race to Janakpur zoo where the stolen money has been kept. Each duo is worse than the other and the slapstick comedy does make you laugh in bits, but mostly you can see the joke coming at your from a mile away. Kids might find the scenes with CGI zoo animals good fun.... full review

Thumbs down, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...अगर इसमें माधुरी का रोल इतना रोबदार और गुस्सैमल टाइप का न होता तो टोटल धमाल में देखने लायक कुछ न होता और अनिल कपूर का पेट में बल डालने वाला रोल न होता तो यह आधी भी न रही होती । इस जोड़ी को बेहतर फिल्म चाहिए। और यह जानने के लिए आपको दिमाग लगाने की जरूरत नहीं है ।... full review

Thumbs down, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...But much of the action in Total Dhamaal is just a series of tepid gags strung together. The exchanges between characters are so deliberately about retorts and comebacks that it becomes a bore beyond a point. There is a consciously low-brow feel, old-fashioned slapstick of the “pants unexpectedly falling down” kinds, brazen stereotyping—from a nariyal-paani drinking, mundu-wearing “South Indian” to a meek Gujarati, a shrewish Marathi to a muffler-loving Bengali—and a dig too many at wives and domestic helps and assertive women who ostensibly do nothing but make men miserable.... full review

Thumbs down, by Shibaji Roychoudhury, Times Now : ...Overall, the film gives quite the '90s nostalgia, but in the worst way possible. Remember the terrible comedies from the '90s like Duplicate, King Uncle and others? Total Dhamaal is worse than them. Though, it is obvious that I didn’t enjoy the film and was just constantly looking at my watch, waiting for the film to get over, but, take this review with a pinch of salt. Because, there were others in the movie theatre, who did crack up more times than one should while watching this film. So, if you enjoyed films like Golmaal 3 or Great Grand Masti, check out Total Dhamaal as well. Who knows, you might just find it enjoyable enough.... full review

Thumbs down, by Ronak kotecha, Times of India : ...Given the ensemble cast, this film had the potential to be a comic roller coaster ride. However, the fact that the film is slapstick is not a problem, what brings it down is poor writing and execution.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

2 readers - 0 yays 0 so-so 2 nays

Not Interested in Watching, by TimELiebe : Well I'm not - but I'm not the only one in my group. Pray For Me...

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Fan

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Player Magic : not good. don't recommend

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Lots of slapping around
  • Language: A few swear words
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Skimpily clad women dancing in item number
  • Concept: some 10+ people are looking for two suitcases full of money
  • General Look and Feel: Bright till your eyes hurt

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Comments (7)

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Lost In Confusion

"Having said all of that, people were giggling and snickering and laughing out loud in the theatre."

- meeta, apart from the audience again?

Meeta, have you ever seen the American movie IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD? That's what this reminds of - a lot of slapstick, a lot of dumb comedy, Madhuri Dixit announcing she's ready to do GOLMMAL 5, Ajay Devgn once again playing (semi)straight man to the likes of Anil Kapoor, Boman Irani, Johnny Lever (why isn't Paresh Rawal in this movie - is he remaking BLAZING SADDLES for a *desi* audience?), and effects work so blatantly obvious nobody's fooled.

I don't know if we'll watch this or not. I watched the trailer (which has English subs - Thank you, Fox Studios!), and there were parts where *I* was cringing at what passed for comedy in it. But I've got other people in our Bollywood Movie group, and several of them love Johnny Lever, think I'm too hard on Boman Irani for wanting him not to just be goofy, & will watch anything with Rohit Shetty's name on it....

I honestly think this movie wasn't bad at all when it comes to cast chosen and the acting done by the team. But however, the story line wasn't good at all. The story line wasn't creative and is just a copy of the first Dhamaal Movie of the series.

@Lost in Confusion ha ha ha ha. No, all of us are a part of the audience. Just different parts at different times for different movies :)

@TimeELiebe Nope, haven't seen it and from the looks of it, doesn't look like I am missing much. And no, I don't think you are being too hard on Boman Irani :P


Old wine in new bottle? But this time the wine has gone stale.

A few decent gags that make you laugh out. But not at the pace as in the original Dhamaal. Worth it for the star power, otherwise no particular appeal.

@TimELiebe: the original Dhamaal was a copy of the film It's a Mad Mad Mad World (1963). Including the hint at where to find the buried treasure. Nothing was changed as regards the story. Only freshness in Dhamal was that there were a lot of crisp jokes and one liners introduced as per Indian context - and so was a damn good copy of Its a Mad Mad Mad World. But still, it remains a copy.


@Meeta: in terms of number of words used this is probably your shortest review in recent years.
;-) :-)

@Fan yeah, I think so. I just don't find it challenging to complain about a film I didn't like for obvious reasons. :)

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