Sunday, January 20, 2008

[DVD] Dhoom:2 (2006)

Lethal Weapons

When I first watched Dhoom on DVD last year, while it seemed to have borrowed a number of pointers from various contemporary Hollywood action movies, I still thought that it was a lot of fun, specially with the incredible song and dance sequences that come de facto with any Bollywood production. I had missed Dhoom:2 when it was released in the cinemas here because I had not watched the original, so had to settle for the DVD now.

While we know what had happened to John Abraham's character at the end of Dhoom:2, Hrithik Roshan takes over the villainous responsibility as Mr A, a mysterious robber who targets high valued items around the world, and his next caper will bring him back to Mumbai. He's like Val Kilmer's The Saint, a master of disguise, with nobody having seen his mug, let alone come close to capturing him, and at one point he dons a mask that brought back memories of his time behind something similar in Krrish. And being a technological wizard helps loads too in executing some of his heists.

Abhishek Bachchan returns as the incredible sulk ACP Jai Dixit, who has junked his specs for contacts. He's still married to his wife Sweety (Rimi Sen) who's now expecting, and therefore reduced to an even smaller role than the first Dhoom. Uday Chopra's Ali the mechanic is now Ali the cop, sidekick of Jai and still the clown providing much of the comedy in this action movie, especially with his fantasy sequences with transferred cop ACP Sonali Bose played by Bipasha Basu, who plays two roles here with the other being the bimbotic twin Monali Bose in Rio De Janeiro, which in fact seemed to have been a wasted role given her introduction as the touch cop in the first half. Besides Bipasha, Aishwarya Rai rounds up the cast as Sunehri the cat burglar who only turns up from the hour mark, and seeks to convince Mr A to take her on as his protege. And if you're watched her in Bride and Prejudice, you'll be amazed at how she toned herself into this slinky character.

As an action movie, Dhoom:2 boasts some outrageous and incredible stunts with bigger sets and larger ambition, though some of the less choreographed high-tech sequences looked terribly done, like the fisticuffs between Jai and Mr A, bordering on it being too staged and unbelievable. Other than that, the heists scenes were pretty well done, and those who have a thing for heights will realize that there are a number of death-defying leaps which I believe when seen on the big screen, will bring a lump to your throat.

Being big stars, you can't but help forgive that how Dhoom:2 played out was one huge cop out. It's a classic cops and robbers chase story as the primary tale, with subplots thrown in containing themes of betrayal and trust. There was also suggestion of a love triangle (or a dare of sorts turning incredibly close to being come true) between Jai and Sonali, as well as romance budding between Mr A and Sunehri. In fact, when the movie was released, there was much talk about the kiss between Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. As you know, lip locking is akin to cardinal sin in Bollywood movies, and they did the deed, although I am not too aware of the rationale behind their pushing of the envelope. Nonetheless the backlash came, which resulted in the scene being snipped from the theatrical release, but of course, left intact on the DVD.

Dhoom:2 plays out like your typical big budgeted blockbuster that Hollywood often churns out, so don't watch this expecting something very cerebral, but if you're up for some light hearted entertainment with some great song and dance sequences, then this is one movie you probably won't go wrong with on a lazy weekend afternoon.

The region free 2 DVD discs by Yash Raj Films Home Entertainment contains the feature film on disc 1 and the special features on disc 2. The movie is presented in widescreen anamorphic format and the transfer is pristine. Audio is available in Dolby Digital 5.1 Hindi, or Dolby Stereo 2.0 in Hindi, Tamil or Telugu. However, the audio seemed a bit erratic, at certain points it tends to dip in audibility before being restored again. For those who don't speak Hindi, subtitles are available in English, Arabic, Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Kannada and Malayalam. Scene selection is available over 20 chapters, and for those who can't get enough of the songs, there's a Songs section where you can selectively pick those particular scenes you want to watch again - Dhoom Again (i), Touch Me, Crazy Kiya Re, My Name is Ali, Dil Laga Na, and Dhoom Again (ii). If you like them all, there's a play all option too.

Disc Two is presented in 4:3 aspect ratio. I had expected a lot more features in this disc, but it only provides very brief details, and not even a making-of. Master of Disguise collects various clips of Hrithik Roshan sitting on the make up chair having the various prosthetics put on. Only Aishwarya Rai joins him for one of the disguises. No dialogue, and it runs 5:40.

Storyboard to Screen highlights the various action sequences - Desert, Backwater, City Chase, Fort and Climax - and showcases some of the storyboards designed for those scenes. You can't select them individually though, nor have control over watching the storyboards or the actual footage. It all gets lumped together in a feature which lasts 8:34.

D:2 Fashion Special (7:31) has every major cast member talking about the clothes that were designed for the character, while the Deleted Scenes (4:04) come without subtitles, and contains only 2 scenes which you cannot select individually - Arrival at the Airport, and Jai and Ali Sit For Dinner. Music Videos, while it looks like a repetition of the feature available in the previous disc, contains Dhoom Again (5:42), which combines both the clips in Disc 1, and has the second part without the end credits rolling, and the other song is the Remix (3:04) of Crazy Kiya Re, which speeds up the tempo and contains some scenes from the movie, versus the original rendition with just Aishwarya Rai performing.

Finally, there's a Theatrical Trailor (sic) (2:05), and the various TV Promos (3:34), which again plays them all back to back, without any controls to select them individually. Promo 1 contains a trimmed trailer, Promo 2 is Crazy Kiya Re by Aishwarya Rai, Promo 3 is Dhoom Again, Promo 4 is Dil Laga Na, and Promo 5 is Go Dhoom which is a series of mini ads for exclusive mobile downloads.

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