Tag Archives: Total Dhamaal

Movie Review: Total Dhamaal (2019)

1 Star (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon or iTunes

The good thing about watching Total Dhamaal on DVD is that my DVD player has a 1.5x speed option. Sitting through this at normal speed would be unbearable.

Total Dhamaal is a reboot of the Dhamaal franchise that began over a decade ago. It features some of the same actors but has nothing to do with the earlier movies. It’s an unofficial adaptation of the 1963 Hollywood comedy It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (Mad World henceforth), with disparate duos racing across the country in search of stolen loot.

The pilfered cash belongs to corrupt police commissioner Shamsher “Don” Singh (Boman Irani). Thieves Guddu (Ajay Devgn) and Johnny (Sanjay Mishra) brazenly steal Don’s money, only for their getaway driver Pintu (Manoj Pahwa) to run off with the suitcase full of cash himself.

After a series of interminable character introductions, Pintu is fatally injured in a plane crash in the middle of nowhere. He tells a bunch of motorists who come to check on him that he hid the money in a zoo hundreds of miles away. Those passersby include all the folks we met in the boring setup portion of the story: unhappily married couple Bindu (Madhuri Dixit Nene) and Avi (Anil Kapoor); good-for-nothing brothers Adi (Arshad Warsi) and Manav (Javed Jaffrey); and disgraced firefighters Lalaan (Riteish Deshmukh) and Jhingur (Pitobash Tripathy). Guddu and Johnny show up as well, but Pintu dies before confessing the exact location.

The duos hem and haw before agreeing that the first pair to find the money can keep it for themselves. Guddu and Johnny use trickery to get a head-start, but they run into Don and his sidekick Abbas (Vijay Patkar) along the way, who then join the pursuit as well.

There are some genuinely funny performances, which is not surprising given the caliber of the cast. Bindu’s withering stare when Avi’s “shortcut” gets them lost in a jungle is a highlight, as is the interplay between the crooked cops Don and Abbas. But director Indra Kumar’s poor storytelling gives his stars few opportunities to shine, weighing them down under a bloated plot and dull, repetitive jokes.

As obviously cribbed from Mad World as the film is, it’s baffling that Kumar and his writing team of Paritosh Painter, Ved Prakash, and Bunty Rathore didn’t use more of the original’s plot structure. In Mad World, the dying man’s revelation about the hidden money is the film’s opening scene, and the characters involved in the race are developed on the road. In Total Dhamaal, the deathbed confession doesn’t happen until forty minutes have elapsed, after all of the main players have been introduced in boring vignettes from their regular lives. These sequences are pointless because there is zero character development in Total Dhamaal, and it means that the road race only takes up about a third of the total runtime. The final third takes place at a zoo run by Prachi (Esha Gupta) that’s in danger of being demolished. The zoo’s monkey security guard is played by Hollywood monkey legend Crystal.

In order to pay his veteran cast, Kumar cut costs elsewhere. There is a remarkable amount of CGI used in the movie, even in the car chases. Almost all of Total Dhamaal was shot inside a studio, giving the movie a lifeless, artificial quality. While some footage of actual animals was used during the zoo sequences, for safety’s sake, there’s obviously a lot of compositing at work.

Total Dhamaal‘s great sin is that it isn’t funny. Jokes are extremely simplistic — often consisting of a man being kicked in the behind or almost hit in the crotch — but they are dragged out forever, as if it were possible for the audience to have missed something. The jokes also follow a formula: Character A notices danger over Character B’s shoulder and warns Character B three times before B finally turns and sees the trouble approaching. Then they both scream. This formula repeats multiple times, and it never gets any more clever. Scenes jump from one character duo to the next without any attempt at graceful transitions.

Sonakshi Sinha’s cameo in the song “Mungda” is the best part of Total Dhamaal, so I’ll just embed the song video below and save you the trouble of watching the movie.

Links

Bollywood Box Office: March 22-24, 2019

From March 22-24, 2019, Akshay Kumar’s Kesari took in $836,065 from 178 North American theaters ($4,697 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. Adding in the $88,308 it earned on its opening day (March 21) brings Kesari‘s four-day total to $924,373.

It took Luka Chuppi four weekends, but the romantic comedy finally crossed the $1 million mark. The $18,920 it earned from 26 theaters over the weekend ($728 average) brought its total to $1,005,283.

With Kesari having passed the $1 million mark itself during the course of the week, Luka Chuppi‘s achievement means that eight of the twelve Hindi movies to release in North America in 2019 have earned at least $1 million. That’s kind of mind-boggling. I expect that ratio to even out a bit with the upcoming weekend’s releases — Junglee and Notebook — likely to fall well short $1 million (though I’m crossing my fingers for Junglee‘s success).

Other Hindi movies still showing in North American theaters:

  • Badla: Week 3; $237,547 from 97 theaters; $2,449 average; $1,712,624 total
  • Gully Boy: Week 6; $49,473 from 40 theaters; $1,237 average; $5,381,387 total
  • Total Dhamaal: Week 5; $4,049 from one theater*; $2,167,632 total
  • Uri: Week 11; $904 from three theaters; $301 average; $4,185,825 total

*Bollywood Hungama’s report only includes Total Dhamaal‘s Canada earnings for the weekend, not its US earnings. The film’s total is from Box Office Mojo.

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo

Opening March 29: Junglee and Notebook

Two new Hindi films hit Chicago area theaters on March 29, 2019. Martial artist Vidyut Jammwal plays a veterinarian fighting elephant poachers in the action movie Junglee, directed by American filmmaker Chuck Russell, who previously directed Dwayne Johnson in The Scorpion King and Jim Carrey in The Mask.

Junglee opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 55 min.

Also new this weekend is the Salman Khan Films production Notebook, starring newcomers Pranutan Bahl and Zaheer Iqbal.

Notebook opens Friday at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and Cantera 17. It has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 52 min.

Opening in wide release across Chicagoland this weekend is Hotel Mumbai, an English-language fictional retelling of the 26/11 terror attacks starring Dev Patel, Anupam Kher, and Armie Hammer. It sounds problematic.

Kesari carries over at the River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, AMC Niles 12 in Niles, AMC Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, and AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

Badla gets a fourth week at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, and AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville.

MovieMax holds over Luka Chuppi, the South Barrington carries over Total Dhamaal, and the Woodridge 18 hangs on to Gully Boy.

Other Indian movies showing in Chicago area theaters (all films have English subtitles):

Opening March 21: Kesari

In time for Holi, Akshay Kumar’s historical war drama Kesari opens in Chicago area theaters on Thursday, March 21, 2019.

Kesari opens Thursday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville, and AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It expands to the AMC Niles 12 in Niles on Friday. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 30 min.

On Friday, March 22, Badla starts its third week at the River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, and Naperville 16.

Gully Boy gets a sixth week at the South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, and Woodridge 18.

Luka Chuppi holds over for a fourth week at MovieMax and the South Barrington 24, while Total Dhamaal gets a fifth week at the South Barrington 24 and Cantera 17.

In news of movies that aren’t playing in Chicago right now, I’m super bummed that we didn’t get Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (“The Man Who Feels No Pain“). I also expected The Wedding Guest to expand out from Chicago into suburban theaters, but that didn’t happen either. In better news, it looks like Dev Patel & Anupam Kher’s Hotel Mumbai will open wide across the Chicago area next weekend, so that’s cool.

Other Indian movies showing in Chicago area theaters (all films have English subtitles unless indicated):

Bollywood Box Office: March 15-17, 2019

Badla held up extremely well in its second weekend in North America. It retained almost 80% of its opening weekend business after expanding into 21 more theaters, earning $465,342 from 115 theaters ($4,046 average) during the weekend of March 15-17, 2019, according to Box Office Mojo. Its $1,313,740 total currently ranks fifth for the year among Hindi films released in North America, but it will pass Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi and move into fourth place before next weekend.

Other Bollywood movies still showing in North America:

  • Gully Boy: Week 5; $103,572 from 60 theaters; $1,726 average; $5,300,978 total
  • Luka Chuppi: Week 3; $66,815 from 54 theaters; $1,237 average; $963,904 total
  • Total Dhamaal: Week 4; $59,133 from 54 theaters; $1,095 average; $2,151,507 total
  • Uri: Week 10; $6,586 from five theaters; $1,317 average; $4,183,341 total

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo

In Theaters: March 15, 2019

The March 15, 2019, release date for Ritesh Batra’s Photograph is for India only. We won’t get it in the States until May 17. Looks like Chicago area Bollywood fans will have to make due with the films already available this weekend.

Last weekend’s new release Badla, carries over at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and expands to the AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville.

Gully Boy gets a fifth week at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, AMC Niles 12 in Niles, and AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and Cantera 17 all hold over Luka Chuppi and Total Dhamaal.

Other Indian movies showing in Chicago area theaters (all films have English subtitles unless indicated):

Bollywood Box Office: March 8-10, 2019

Badla had the second-best opening-weekend per-screen average for the year so far in North America. From March 8-10, 2019, the thriller earned $596,446 from 94 theaters ($6,345 average), according to Box Office Mojo. That opening-weekend per-screen average ranks just ahead of Uri: The Surgical Strike‘s $6,249 but well behind Gully Boy‘s $7,927.

Luka Chuppi held steady in its second weekend, per Bollywood Hungama’s reporting, earning $179,166 from 103 theaters ($1,739 average) and bringing its total to $814,426. Last weekend‘s other new release — Sonchiriya — continued on its tragic path, holding over just 5% of its opening weekend business. Box Office Mojo reports earnings of just $2,880 from eight theaters ($360 average), for total earnings of $85,148.

Other Hindi movies still showing in North American theaters:

  • Gully Boy: Week 4; $192,665 from 106 theaters; $1,818 average; $5,117,529 total
  • Total Dhamaal: Week 3; $156,180 from 118 theaters; $1,324 average; $2,020,732 total
  • Uri: Week 9; $13,020 from nine theaters; $1,447 average; $4,173,302 total
  • Manikarnika: Week 7; $204 from one theater; $1,385,664 total

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo

Opening March 8: Badla

Releasing in Chicago area theaters on March 8, 2019, Kahaani director Sujoy Ghosh’s thriller Badla reunites Taapsee Pannu and Amitabh Bachchan for the first time since their 2016 hit Pink.

Badla opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hours.

Another new release of interest to Bollywood fans is the India-set, English-language film The Wedding Guest, starring Dev Patel, Radhika Apte, and Jim Sarbh. The thriller opens locally in limited release at the River East 21 and Century Centre Cinema in Chicago.

Luka Chuppi looks to build on its solid opening weekend performance, carrying over at the River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, and AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

Last weekend’s other new release — Sonchiriya — only holds over at MovieMax and the South Barrington 24.

Total Dhamaal is still going strong at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, AMC Niles 12 in Niles, Buffalo Grove Theater in Buffalo Grove, AMC Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, and AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville.

Same goes for Gully Boy, which gets a fourth week at the River East 21, MovieMax, Niles 12, Rosemont 18, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, Naperville 16, and Woodridge 18.

Uri: The Surgical Strike sticks around for a ninth week at the South Barrington 24.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend (all titles have English subtitles):

Bollywood Box Office: March 1-3, 2019

The two most recent Hindi releases had very different opening weekends in North America. The Kriti Sanon-Karthik Aaryan romantic comedy Luka Chuppi did well, taking in $440,705 from 144 theaters ($3,060 average), according to Bollywood Hungama.

On the other hand, Sonchiriya did really poorly, especially considering the number of theaters it opened in. The bandit drama earned $60,170 from 70 theaters ($860 average), per Box Office Mojo. Sonchiriya‘s per-theater average is half that of the next-worst opening weekend average this year: Thackeray‘s $1,729. I’m a fan of director Abhishek Chaubey — the man responsible for great films like Udta Punjab, Ishqiya, and Dedh Ishqiyaso this is a big bummer.

Other Hindi films still showing in North America:

  • Total Dhamaal: Week 2; $439,983 from 209 theaters; $2,015 average; $1,736,909 total
  • Gully Boy: Week 3; 411,409 from 164 theaters; $2,509 average; $4,783,800 total
  • Uri: Week 8; $34,511 from 15 theaters; $2,301 average; 4,155,109 total
  • Manikarnika: Week 6; $775 from two theaters; $388 average; $1,385,664

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo

Opening March 1: Luka Chuppi and Sonchiriya

Two new Hindi films hit Chicago area theaters on March 1, 2019. First up is the romantic comedy Luka Chuppi, starring Kriti Sanon and Karthik Aaryan.

Luka Chuppi opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 7 min.

Also new this weekend is Sonchiriya, from Udta Punjab director Abhishek Chaubey. The action film stars Bhumi Pednekar, Sushant Singh Rajput, and Manoj Bajpayee.

Sonchiriya opens Friday at the River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and Cantera 17. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 15 min.

After a great opening weekend, Total Dhamaal carries over at the River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, Arclight Chicago in Chicago, AMC Niles 12 in Niles, Arclight Glenview in Glenview, Buffalo Grove Theater in Buffalo Grove, AMC Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, and AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville.

Gully Boy gets a third weekend at the River East 21, MovieMax, Niles 12, Rosemont 18, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, Naperville 16, Woodridge 18, and Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach.

Uri: The Surgical Strike carries over at the South Barrington 24 and Cantera 17.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend (all titles have English subtitles):