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No sense in this nonsensical dhamaalA still from Total Dhamaal
Movie Review - Total Dhamaal

No sense in this nonsensical dhamaal

22 Feb 2019 | 6:47 PM

Film: Total Dhamaal

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Riteish Deshmukh, Arshad Warsi, Javed Jaffrey, Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Boman Irani and Sanjay Mishra

Director: Indra Kumar

[ + read story ]

Nonika Singh

Intelligence bhi koi cheez hai, says one of our favourite actors; Sanjay Mishra. And yet another fine actor, also the producer of the film, Ajay Devgn had gone breathless during promotions that it takes intelligence to make a comedy. Oh really! Intelligence and comedy rarely go hand in hand in Hindi cinema and in most Bollywood films humour finds a cinematic equivalent in nonsensical madness. 

Quite alright, provided there is method in madness. Sadly, Total Dhamaal is more chaos than method and caters to the lowest common denominator. 

It begins with rehashed number, Paisa oh paisa ho to museebat na ho museebat. By reminding us how everything pales in face of money, it sets the tenor. There is energy in the opening number as we are introduced to the ensemble cast. From Arshad Warsi to Riteish Deshmukh, the usual suspects of Dhamaal franchise are all there. Only now they come in pairs.  Devgn’s zodidaar is Mishra, Warsi’s is Javed Jaffrey and then there is Indra Kumar’s favourite jodi of yesteryear. You guessed it, dhak dhak girl and evergreen Anil Kapoor. 

Only the sparks that fly between Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit here are of a different kind. Depicted as a bickering couple on the edge of divorce, their banter is constant, amusing and a trifle annoying too. Only they are not half as infuriating as others and their comic capers which get rolling with Devgn robbing a police commissioner (Boman Irani) and gets cheated in the process. Thus begins the wild goose chase as more and more join the race to lay hands on the fortune. Before they hit the jackpot we are subjected to Kumar’s brand of humour, which to put it mildly, is both critics and intelligence- proof. 

Try making sense of a grown-up man acting as juvenile, animal vomiting on the face of one of our heroes and yet another stepping on old woman’s feet. Add to it a host of other socially incorrect gestures...if you find humour in witless and imbecile jokes that stem from men getting slapped, you are likely to be amused. 

It’s not as if the film, otherwise devoid of sense and sensibility, is not funny at all. Few moments and punch-lines do work. Among the bevy of comedians, surprisingly or perhaps not too surprisingly, it is not the main actors who make us walk the fun zone. Jaffrey though irritating initially gets earnest and funny too as time goes by. Mishra, who never fails to tickle our funny bone, does get to mouth some interesting one-liners. His play on the word jaanwar for instance does betray traces of wit.

In case you are wondering what place do animals have in this dhamaal which is already choc-o-bloc with actors and more actors? Well, well the treasure hunt takes the bunch of buffoons straight to a zoo owned by lovely Esha Gupta. She, of course, is merely a distraction as is Sonakshi Sinha’s dance number Mungda, yet another remix from the movie Inkaar.

The film also tries to be mirthful by referring to other films. Some like One two ka four, taking a cue from Kapoor’s famous song My Name is Lakhan, bring a smile and many more fall flat. On the whole, however, even the bandwagon full of comedians can’t really put it on the fun rail, rather fun is derailed and parked right into a zone which reads; no intelligence allowed. If slapdash humour is your idea of laughter by all means, be party to Total Dhamaal. Our advice; take a break from this one.

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