Dhoom 2Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu, Uday Chopra; Rating: ***

Clever … very clever. That’s the impression you come away with from this sumptuous package of gloss, glamour, glitter and oomph quotient.

If you’ve seen the first instalment of “Dhoom”, you would know Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra carry forward their characters. And that’s not an easy thing to do.

Abhishek is saddled with an aura of solemnity while everyone else has a rollicking time.

Make no mistake. “Dhoom 2″ is about letting your hair down as far as it can go. The carnival-like atmosphere is carried all the way to Brazil where the sweaty tropical mood is imbibed into the characters as they play an ambivalent game of cat and mouse.

Yes, there are the law-enforcers and the law-breakers. But how do we tell them apart?

Certainly not by the glamour quotient, which is, applied to the antagonist Aryan (Hrithik) and his moll Sunehri (Aishwarya) far more intently than the cop-hero Jai (Abhishek) and his sidekick Ali (Uday Chopra).

And if you add Bipasha’s double role to the heady brew, you’ve got a film that’s the equivalent of a glossy calendar.

The film moves from Mumbai to Brazil in undulating movements and fuses furious action and svelte skin-show in a mix that leaves you dizzy.

Movies were never meant to be so heady, unsteady and ready to rock. Aishwarya’s doll-like movements in the song “Crazy kiya re” drive one crazy indeed.

The fast-paced and superbly crafted moments of aerial and ground stunts are all centred on the one and only Hrithik. “Dhoom 2″ is bigger, brighter, sexier and sassier than the earlier film.

Director Sanjay Gadhvi doesn’t try to please the audience. A sense of renewed and engaging d�j� vu is created by the film’s own volition.

All the chutzpah and chirpy glamour from the first film is back with loads of oomph. The storytelling careens from the downright clownish courtship (Bipasha and Uday Chopra) to the outright passionate.

Aishwarya and Hrithik are arguably the best-looking couple Bollywood has ever seen. They look good and vibe so beautifully together.

The light falls just right on each actor. I can’t think of one film since “Sholay” that has showcased a bunch of top-notch actors in a more flattering light. Bipasha’s double role as a no-nonsense Mumbai cop and a sexy Brazilian girl is a little absurd.

Abhishek lends his solemn cop’s role a kind of edgy intolerance that makes him just right to counter the “perfect thief” played by Hrithik Roshan.

The film belongs to Hrithik. What an actor, what a dancer, what a screen presence! In a vital love sequence with Aishwarya, Hrithik displays controlled inner and outer movements as the international thief who shows the desperate anxiety of a lover.

Hrithik implements the series of heists in a spirit of twinkle-eyed mischief. When the crime-caper turns into an intense love story, you marvel at the actor’s ability of taking the plot from one level of engaging diversion to another without losing the rhythm pattern that governs the narration.

The film, however, never goes over the top in pursuit of stunts and thrills.

The Aishwarya-Hrithik chemistry puts the film’s mood into a humane perspective. The two anti-socials look into each other’s smouldering eyes, whisper about love, life and food to each other, play basketball together and even exchange an intense kiss.

At the end of it all, we’re left gasping for breath. Hrithik, Aishwarya and the rest of the cast look bronzed and sweaty… the heat is a killer.

Of course there have been other more well thought-out capers. But has there ever been a caper as good-looking as “Dhoom 2″? Has Aishwarya ever looked and acted more authentically in any of her masala films? Has Hrithik ever given more substantial proof of his magnetic star power? Has Abhishek had a bigger chance to act in a film where’s his male co-star gets the author-backed role?

The answer to all the questions is a big no.

“Dhoom 2″ is a slick flick with stunts that flatter Hrithik’s star presence, only to deceive the audience into believing it’s all very easy.

This is a film that makes the big-screen spectacle look jovial and casual. The gruelling glamour of a stunt-driven drama has never been more fluently placed before us.



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