Saturday, November 24, 2012

DOUBLE DHAMAAL: Reaching Level 12

Well, I wasn’t sure it could be done, but I’ve seen the proof with my own sorry eyes. Another film released within a year of Joker was just as bad as Joker. Double Dhamaal features the cardboard cutouts of Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi in a “sequel” to Dhamaal (which I haven’t seen, but please tell me it was better than this). In Lage Raho Munna Bhai, these two actors were both endearing and hilarious, and that was a sequel that far outdid its still-pretty-good original, Munna Bhai MBBS. But I’ll have a hard time getting my hopes up for their next outing.

Riteish Deshmukh and Jaaved Jafery should also be ashamed of themselves for cashing checks for their roles here, but let’s reserve our tightest slaps for the director, Indra Kumar (who also gave us the first Dhamaal) and especially for the alleged writer, Tushar Hirandani, who was responsible for Housefull 2 and so seems to be a go-to guy for terrible sequels.

I remember cringing at the stereotypical Chinese baddies in Chandni Chowk to China. Did Tushar Hirandani say, “Gee, that film was a bomb, but the Chinaman was so hilarious I’m going to put one in my movie too”? Maybe, because there’s Arshad Warsi sporting a cheap pigtail and speaking Charlie Chan English. Oh, and let's not forget the blackface on not one, but three characters, all wearing circa-1970s pimpwear. Apparently nobody involved in Double Dhamaal has ever watched this helpful video guide on how to tell if a costume is racist, but everyone should have:

In a piece in Sarnath Banerjee’s great new book, The Harappa Files*, a character argues that all martial arts developed from a South Indian original called kalaripayattu. “There are 12 levels of kalaripayattu,” the gentleman explains. “In the last level, you learn the use of urumi, the most dangerous non-ballistic weapon in the world. But by then you have reached a point where you have no desire to kill anybody. You have nothing left to prove.” When the conversation turns to films, someone asks, “Why are our films so bad, when other developing countries…are making such great films?” Here's a closeup portion of the final panel with the gentleman's response:

Sarnath Banerjee, Harappa Files, the films India was making in the '50s, they are making now. We have reached the 12th level. There is nothing left to prove.

This answer, I think, is the only logical explanation for the existence  of Joker and Double Dhamaal. Some in Bollywood have attained Level-12 filmmaking, and the rest of us should be very, very afraid.

*Buy it immediately. 

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