Movie Review: Total Dhamaal

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Indra Kumar’s “Total Dhamaal” might as well have been an animated film. A plethora of characters plunge to the ground from skyscrapers, escape collapsing bridges and survive being swept over waterfalls with nary a scratch. Much like a ‘Tom and Jerry’ episode, where the cat and the mouse spring back seconds after having been flattened.

The humour in the film is similar to a cartoon series as well, which is not surprising given the director’s filmography. But much like slapstick cartoons, “Total Dhamaal” does get some laughs. At least we don’t have to deal with toilet humour or sexist jokes, and the film’s premise is promising.

Boman Irani plays a corrupt but rather dense police commissioner, whose attempt to cash in on India’s demonetisation drive by laundering money meets a hurdle in the form of Guddu (Ajay Devgn) and his associate who steal the money from under the commissioner’s nose.

But Guddu cannot hold on to that cash for too long, and soon we have different sets of people racing to get to the location where the money is hidden. A sparring husband and wife (Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit), a pair of brothers (Arshad Warsi and Jaaved Jaaferi) and two friends (Riteish Deshmukh and Pitobash Tripathy) battle all manner of calamities - including cars catching fire, rampaging wild animals and accidents galore.

At 126 minutes, the humour is stretched thin and the jokes begin to peter out soon enough. But “Total Dhamaal” has its share of good comic actors, including Deshmukh and Warsi. A guest appearance by Johnny Lever elevates the film more than its script does.

Audiences are privy to some in-jokes between Dixit and Kapoor that hark back to their days as a frequent Bollywood on-screen pairing in the 80’s and 90’s. As for Devgn, he reprises roles from the myriad such films he has done in the past, bringing nothing new to the table.

Nothing about “Total Dhamaal” will stay with you after you have left the theatre, but while you are in there, you can be assured of a few laughs.

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