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Published July 8th, 2005 | by Raam Tarat

Dus Review

Classification: 12A Director: Anubhav Sinha Rating: 2.5/5

Wow, what an ensemble… We have some of Indian Cinema’s most exciting new talents heading this slick [wannabe] action-thriller. They don’t quite make a full ‘Dus’ [Ten] but they make interesting eye-candy in yet another multi-starrer. They jump out of swanky limo’s in their finest designer threads, and walk in a Reservoir Dogs meets Ocean’s Eleven style swagger; a succinct indication of the tone of the movie and what’s to come.

We start off with the Anti-Terrorist Cell carrying out a covert operation to get rid of some unruly elements and a bomb in Delhi. It seems they got rid of the script and any sense of logic in the process… Here we’re deftly introduced to the ATC team led by a sober Dutt, with Bachchan as his stern sibling, Shilpa Shetty doing a Lara Croft, and Khan playing the grinning “Hey everybody, I’m cool, and I’m the best!!” funkster routine he can’t seem to shake off, since his debut.

We soon fast-track to the case in hand where the team have until Dus May to find international terrorist Jamwal and foil his plot to massacre thousands of civilians. Where? When?? We haven’t got a clue, but that’s nothing some ingenious guess-work, slipshod plotting and extraordinary coincidence can’t take care of. Along the way we also get to meet Deol, who plays the Canadian agent working on the case. Her idea of playful flirting is to plant a bomb in amour (Bachchan’s) car… whatever happened to writing a love-letter, sending roses or chocolates?? At this point I would ironically say – stick to dancing around trees, it crazily makes more sense. We also meet American cop Shetty, who is in desperate need of counselling; for both anger management and his marriage. “I killed my son, and my wife’s leaving me” he sobs at regular intervals to anyone that will lend an ear. We can see why mate.

In more ways than one this is Mission Impossible meets Mod Squad, with a Kaiser Soze-esque twist thrown in for good measure – all via Mumbai. We have a generous sprinkling of bimbo’s; car chases; double-crosses galore, and funky spliced-screens which add to the feel of the movie. The intro-sequence with the ‘Dus Bahane’ track is phenomenal, if only Sinha had started as he meant to go on.

Dus is slick and extremely stylish, and though the pace doesn’t slacken there are too many sub-plots and loopholes for the film to be coherent, not to mention some dodgy Bin Laden caricatures… The story isn’t novel, but its’ treatment is. We can see that Sinha has tried to execute a glossy high-octane thriller, and he has achieved it – somewhat. The execution is deft in parts, if only the script was a little sharper, and the story a little smarter; acknowledging the viewer has an IQ of more than Dus, we could have had a fab movie.

This is in all honesty an exercise in style over substance, attitude and vanity rule supreme here as the story and screenplay fly out of the window. The cast looks fantastic in their Ray Bans, and that’s pretty much all that seems to matter. Don’t get me wrong, the film is still a lot of fun, and looks good. Much of this can be attributed to the cracking cinematography, fancy wire-work [a-la-Matrix] funky graphics and sparky editing – reflecting Sinha’s music video past.

This movie was originally launched in 1997 by whiz-kid Mukul Anand [Agneepath, Hum, Khuda Gawah] but was shelved due to his untimely death. In this incarnation it returns with a new starcast, story and team, the only common thread being Terrorism. This all the more potent with recent events, but then this is a Bollywood take on it. Dus has fantastic production values, and is a polished product with a certain panache, but it isn’t nearly as clever as it thinks it is.

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