Copious amounts of sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, fights, chases and torture fail to liven up the dull and disorganized Dum Maaro Dum.
An opening shot of a dead body, accompanied by a voiceover by Abhishek Bachchan about the deadly drug trade in Goa, suggest a riveting tale of murder and corruption in a beachfront paradise. As soon as the opening credits finish, boredom sets in.
The movie is immediately mired in the backstory of one of the side characters, a teen named Lorry (Prateik Babbar). Lorry can’t afford to join his girlfriend at college in America, so he accepts a job as a drug mule, in order to earn the money for tuition. What I just summarized in one sentence takes up 25 minutes of screentime.
Twitchy-looking Lorry gets busted at the Goa airport by Kamath (Bachchan), a formerly corrupt vice cop trying to redeem himself after the accidental deaths of his wife and son. Kamath sends Lorry to jail, but the kid won’t reveal the whereabouts of the mysterious drug kingpin “Michael Barbosa.”
Kamath gets help from a musician name Joki (Rana Daggubati) in exchange for leniency for Lorry. Joki’s ex-girlfriend, Zoe (Bipasha Basu), is currently seeing another major drug dealer, Lorsa Biscuta (Aditya Pancholi). If anyone knows where Barbosa is, it’s Biscuta.
The plot isn’t nearly as straightforward as the above recap. There are flashbacks to pointless backstory, which prevents giving the characters enough time to grow (and grow on us) as events unfold in the modern-day.
This presents a serious problem, as Kamath — the presumptive, though not explicitly defined, lead character — is a monster. In addition to Kamath’s corrupt past and his penchant for beating up suspects, he sodomizes a drug runner with a pistol in order to make the guy confess. The movie’s villains may rack up a higher body count, but Kamath’s methods are more brutal and vile.
Substituting backstory for character development brings the action of the film to a crawl. Boring exposition about events not germane to the current situation is punctuated by party scenes, sex scenes and fight scenes. If you spend most of the film rudely texting on your cell phone, only to look up when the music cues something exciting on-screen, you might be fooled into thinking Dum Maaro Dum is an exciting movie.
The climax of the movie is actually pretty clever — so much so that the producers canceled the gala premiere in order to preserve the secret ending. But it seems as though writer Shridhar Raghavan started with the climax and struggled to craft the story that leads up to it.
Perhaps the poster tells us everything we need to know about Dum Maaro Dum. The poster features the svelte torso of Deepika Padukone, who makes a special appearance in a performance of the title track. Padukone is onscreen for all of five minutes, in a dance number that happens one hour and 45 minutes into the film. It is the best part of the movie.